Being a brand-new mum is tough enough yet trying to perform it while making film and also television adds one more level of difficulty.

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Ask Hollywood A-listers Carey Mulligan and also Zoe Saldana that have spoken out about how the industry needs to do better when it comes to on-set childcare.

Or talk to Shetland star Alison O’Donnell.

The sixth collection of the popular island police drama starts this week and also O’Donnell’s scenes were filmed shortly after the come of her 2nd child. Choose too countless workplaces throughout the country, TV sets no the ideal ar for a mum.

“This market is favor a machine and as soon as it starts moving you can’t really acquire off,” stated O’Donnell, “and that doesn’t protect against for anyone.

“So if you somebody with an extra duty or any kind the extra need, then it have the right to be quite an overwhelming to fight because that what you must be accommodated within that set-up. Ns think yes still fairly a lot of work to do.

“For example, both time I’ve had actually the baby, they have actually been breastfed and also I can’t define to friend the logistical troubles with it. Quite often I need to step turn off the set and refer milk so the I deserve to keep sending out milk residence for my infant while ns working. You can run into concerns quickly whereby you gain mastitis.

“There’s never ever a moment when I’m not thinking about it, and also production (on Shetland) have been together supportive together they possibly can be.

“I’m really vocal around it. Any time everyone in the crew asks me, I simply talk around it due to the fact that I feel like…look, this is just the reality, and also it’s true for so countless working mother in any kind of industry.”

Shetland cast: (left to right) Steven Robertson, Alison O’Donnell and also Dougie Henshall (Pic: BBC/ITV Studios/Mark Mainz)

Those functioning in showbusiness are generally can-do troupers that parrot lines around having the ideal job in the world; O’Donnell, though, believes talking about these issues helps normalise the suffer for mums everywhere.

If she has any parenting problems on set it’s not just the crew on Shetland that will loan a hand but additionally the cast; specific Dougie Henshall.

Since the show, based upon crime writer Ann Cleeves’ series of novels, started in 2012 both O’Donnell and co-star Henshall have become parents.

Henshall, that starred together Professor Nick Cutter in Primeval, invited his an initial child, with companion Tena Stivicic, four years ago while O’Donnell came to be a parent in addition to her playwright partner DC Jackson not lengthy afterwards.

“It’s difficult to really amount up, he’s involved mean so lot to me,” said O’Donnell of her co-star. “And so, in so numerous ways, you recognize he’s to be a mentor, a friend, a champion.

“When we an initial started working together there was quite a gap in terms of our life experience. I was really a little of a rookie while he was rather a decorated actor. And then, as we’ve gone end the series, the void has closed since we both now have young families, and also we’re in a comparable place in our lives. We’ve gained to recognize each other and also the relationship has grown.

“We just have actually so lot in common and also are in together a comparable place in our lives. Now we have actually so much to speak about. Our girls are close together in period so it’s so nice come talk around all of that.”

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Returning to movie Shetland previously this year after ~ the pandemic to be a relief for O’Donnell, that plays DS Alison Macintosh; the remote location and open skies that the island to be a panacea for a year in and out the a tough lockdown.

“During the an initial one, the typical consensus to be it was mad and also a little bit scary,” she said. “But there to be a kind of novelty to it. Everyone was city hall Joe Wicks. Once the 2nd one come it was the winter and we all simply sank at that point. It was really tough.

“When the pandemic fight I remained in the early stages of pregnancy. I had my second baby in October. Having a newborn and a toddler throughout that 2nd lockdown critical October was the darkest and most daunting thing I’ve ever lived through. I still can not use recovered. The was absolute hell.

“He was really young when I was coming back to work, yet luckily my mum remained in our balloon so she was there, and also the production have actually been yes, really supportive the that case so it was hard however I was only, just grateful because that the human being opening up.

“Anybody who’s had actually a young baby knows that one of the main things the gets you with it is civilization popping by. Someone will nip in and make girlfriend a cup of tea or clean her toilet.

“I felt totally alone, us were completely on our very own with nothing to break up the days. Getting earlier to work? ns was for this reason glad.”

Bafta-winning Shetland’s production staff came down on the island previously this year simply as they had done because that the previous series; given the island was largely Covid-free in ~ the time, it to be understandable why they maybe weren’t offered as heat a welcome together previous visits.

Being sensitive to the local comes to was paramount because that cast and also crew, follow to O’Donnell, who showed up in Holby City earlier in her career.

“It was a combined bag since we constantly want come have good relations through the human being who live here, who are so welcome and assist make the show possible,” she said.

“We had actually to think about it indigenous their suggest of view, they were Covid-free and also we were in Tier One and there to be this large influx of world from the mainland ~ above the island.

“In our very first visit especially, we were an extremely much ~ above our finest behaviour. Us were request to continue to behave together though we were living in Tier One in ~ home. We didn’t suddenly start going the end to Shetland pubs.

“We to be trying to respect the reality that it to be a delicate situation. We greatly kept ours heads down for that an initial visit, and we’re just really grateful that we were may be to it is in here.

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“It was all type of hashed out again up-front. Us were gift tested, twice, three times a week, and we had actually our own trial and error facility so we wouldn’t have to wouldn’t put a stress, overload on the NHS services up here.

“It was lovely to be here and also we felt more free than at home. However we no unleash ourself on Shetland.”