Joanna Page and Kate Middleton have something very special in common. In February, Joanna welcomed her firstborn at the Lindo Wing of St Mary's Hospital; five months later the world’s press descended on the Paddington Hospital to cover the arrival of Prince George.Not many people know it, but Gavin and Stacey star
"If I have any more children I would go straight there again," Joanna has revealed. "It's fantastic and the midwives and the staff are brilliant."
It was an exciting time for the star. Just three weeks after she welcomed her little girl, Joanna had her first audition for hit new ITV series, Breathless.
"It was the first time I'd left my daughter Eva. She was in a hotel with my mum in London's Leicester Square. So I fed her, ran in to do the audition and then ran back," the 35-year-old said as she opened up on her new role.
"My mum hadn't moved. She was in exactly the same position with her because she was terrified she was going to wake up!"
Joanna's experiences at the Lindo certainly served her in good stead for the part.
Breathless follows the lives of a group of doctors and nurses working in a London NHS hospital in the 1960s; a world in which everything and everyone has their place. But underneath the shiny exterior simmers a cauldron of lies, deception and guilty secrets.
Don't mistake it for just another medical drama, says leading man Jack Davenport, who plays Otto Powell, a brilliant and charismatic surgeon with a dark secret in his past.
"When I first got the script I thought, 'A medical drama? I think the world has more than enough of them.' But very quickly I realised it wasn’t some turgid procedural at all," said the Pirates of the Caribbean actor. "In fact it's a very cleverly chosen setting. It explores the personal, not just the professional."
The series opens in 1961 when Britain was on the brink of a revolution – abortion is illegal and the contraceptive pill is only available to married women.
Otto and his elegant wife Natasha – played by Natasha Little – head up the rich ensemble of characters. They are the couple all others aspire to be, but are hiding a devastating secret about their marriage.
Otto's best friend and colleague is Dr Charlie Enderbury – played by Shaun Dingwall – who is married to ex-nurse Lily (Joanna). They share a genuinely warm and loving marriage; but Charlie does carry a deep burden. He alone knows the truth about Otto and Elizabeth.
The rest of the cast includes Dr Mehta – Ronny Jhutti – appointed Chair of Anaesthesiology over Charlie, Dr Richard Truscott, a boyishly confident junior consultant played by Oliver Chris, and his fiancée Jean Meecher (Zoe Boyle), a sensual, fiery nurse who is convinced her dream is to become a doting housewife.
Catherine Steadman plays Jean's sister Angela Wilson, a dynamic and striking nurse with a strong sense of morals – until she meets Otto, and feels an urge of temptation she struggles to repress.
Kate Bartlett, executive producer for ITV Studios, said, "Breathless is an exhilarating and charismatic character drama set against a glamorous London backdrop.
"The medical stories and events are there to illuminate and complicate the lives of our key characters and 1961 is a fascinating time in which to explore the changing role of women in society."
Breathless begins on Thursday October 10 at 9pm, ITV.