Haydn Gwynne leaves Newton Park - In one piece
When Haydn Gwynne decided to hang up her police uniform, she
had one request for the Merseybeat producers: 'Please don't let my character
'I was violently and abruptly killed off in ITV's Peak Practice two years ago
and fans were really annoyed,' explains Haydn, who plays Supt Susan Blake for
the last time this week. 'It wasn't a slow, lingering death they had time to get
used to - my character got in the way of a bullet three minutes before the end
of the episode. The Peak Practice website received about 15,000 hits from people
saying 'How could you?' Plus if I died in Merseybeat too, the next programme I'm
in, people might see me and go 'Dead woman walking!'
In her last episode, the doubts Susan has about her ability to do her job come
to a head when she identifies with Cathy, a suspect she and PC Larry Barton
question about the attempted murder of a doctor. Cathy feels let down by the
medical profession just as Susan feels let down by the police top brass, who
have ordered her to run every major decision past Insp Jim Olton since her
officers shot and killed a young joy rider. The unlikely bond between the women
leads Susan making a decision which could spell the end of her career.
Haydn, who lives in London with partner Jason, quit the show for the sake of her
children, Orlando, five and Harry, two.
'When they were pre-schoolers, it worked for us to live up in Liverpool, where
Merseybeat is filmed,' says the 42-year-old actress. 'But Orlando has started
school now and there was no way I would work in Liverpool and have my children
Haydn, a keen scuba diver, filmed her final scenes in August and had a big
leaving party. 'The cast gave me a full length wet suit, which I modelled for
them with high-heeled boots, sunglasses and my son's water gun,' she says. 'Did
I feel like I was in The Avengers? No I felt extremely stupid!'
Haydn also sails, cycles and plays tennis - and once beat Tim Henman in a
charity tournament. 'Peter Fleming, who was John McEnroes main doubles partner,
and I played Tim and, I think a weather girl,' she says. 'The guys weren't
playing properly, obviously. If Tim and I went on court for real he'd have no
trouble beating me quickly. It's funny because Merseybeat has now gone to
Australia and I've had Australian journalists asking me about my career as a
The Tv Mag, December 2002