Channel 4’s new four-part drama National Treasure examines the impact, both public and private, of accusations of historic sexual offences against Paul Finchley, a fictional, much-loved public figure, who is played by Robbie Coltrane.
Julie Walters plays Marie, his wife of 40 years and a woman who’s always stood by her man. “She’s a Catholic so she wouldn’t want to be divorcing anyone,” she says. “Marie depends on her faith and that spreads into the rest of her life. So although she knows he’s slept with a lot of people, as long as he’s honest with her, there’s kind of an agreement between them.”
The actress, who married her long-term partner Grant in 1997 and with whom she has a daughter, Mae, 28, admits she wouldn’t do the same. “My ego wouldn’t allow it, apart from anything else,” she says.
Operation Yewtree, set up to investigate child sex abuse allegations, has dominated the front pages in recent times, but despite the potentially controversial nature of the subject matter, Walters had no misgivings about the drama. “I didn’t, because it’s truthful,” she says. “So you can’t go wrong, really. It’s not sensationalising the issue for the wrong reasons. It’s being done for the right reasons.”
National Treasure, Channel 4, Tuesday, 9pm