Sheridan Smith says overwhelming fear as new mum helped her on gritty ITV drama

Sheridan Smith has revealed that she felt "overwhelming fear" as a new mum, and it helped her prepare for her latest role.

The Gavin and Stacey star, whose son Billy is nearly 2, is set to appear as doting mum Kathy on ITV's gritty new drama No Return – which airs in early February.

The plot sees Kathy thrown into every parent's "worst nightmare" whilst on holiday in Turkey – when her 16-year-old son gets arrested on suspicion of sexually assaulting another boy.

Kathy's teen son faces a 12-year jail sentence, so she's determined to prove her boy's innocence.

Speaking exclusively to Daily Star and other publications, Sheridan said that she's felt a deep sense of "protectiveness" and "overwhelming fear" as a mum to Billy.

She also admitted she wept during the read-through for the new ITV series – which us written by Shameless writer Danny Brocklehurst.

The star, 40, said: "Playing roles before I had Billy to playing ones now I’ve had him, is totally different.

"People had said you can’t understand the protectiveness and the overwhelming fear when you have a child and, he’s not even two yet, but I feel it.

"I hope it will resonate with the audience, they’ll be feeling all the angst as well. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. I love playing protective mums like that. Kathy is a lioness."

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Sheridan later explained that she was overcome with emotion as she read through the script for the series – and "cried all the way through".

The actress said: "I’ve never been to a read-through like the one for this. It was so powerful. I mean, I cried all the way through".

Sheridan also read all four episodes of the four-part drama in one sitting, because she was so gripped by Danny's writing that she simply couldn't put it down.

She continued: "I read it and was gripped – I had to know what happened. It gave me that jelly belly feeling of ‘what would you do in that situation?’ They’re just ordinary people in an extraordinary situation and Kathy was an amazing lead role."

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The BAFTA-winning actress even revealed Kathy is the most intense role she's ever taken on.

She said: "Four hours of intense, high drama telly. She’s fiercely loyal and fiercely protective and someone I could relate to. After that first 10 minutes it’s like a roller-coaster and I’ve not had that, not such an intense role, ever."

Despite being set in Turkey, the drama was filmed in Spain as Covid travel restrictions meant the crew couldn't travel to Turkey.

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Nicola Schindler, the executive producer, said Sheridan 'blew her away' with her emotional performance at their first meeting.

She said: "Sheridan literally blew us away. I remember us both sitting there afterwards going ‘that’s just extraordinary’.

"I’d never been in a read-through like that before, where someone gave so much. The emotion was just there.

"And it helps us so much because it makes you realise which scenes are important, which ones we need to make sure we have enough time to shoot, which scenes we perhaps don’t need, it just made a difference."

ITV's No Return will air in February.

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