The following taken from
:-25 Yeas of Emmerdale (1997) repubublsihed
as "The Emmerdale Companion" (1998) by Anthony Hayward
The sacrifice that Becky Cairns made as an Army wife, bringing up three
children while husband Tony disappeared for months at a time, is not
something that would come naturally to Sarah Neville, the actress who
plays Becky. Finding out that her 13-year-old daughter had become a mother
was also a storyline that would have presented Sarah with more of a dilemma
than it did her character.
'I'm more selfish,' says Sarah, who has a young daughter, Emily, with her
actor partner, Michael Lumsden. 'I would have found it difficult to marry
and be simply a wife and a mother. And I couldn't have coped with my daughter
having a baby at that age. I really hope that I would have had a close
relationship with her and noticed sooner. But, if it happened, I think
I would have handled it differently and probably sided with Tony's viewpoint,
that at 13 you aren't fit to cope with having a baby and it should be adopted.'
Sarah's background was a preparation for her career as an actress. Her
father, Oliver Neville, was a director and, recently, principal of RADA,
and her stepmother is actress Pat Heywood. 'I can't say they encouraged
me, but they didn't actively discourage me,' she recalls. Sarah's other
love was music and she gained a scholarship to the Royal College of Music,
where she trained as a violinist, pianist and singer on Saturday mornings.
When she approached her school exams, she gave up her sessions there. 'Something
had to go,' she says, 'and, very stupidly, I let it slide.'
Intent on a career in acting, Sarah trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre
School. She made her television debut as a social worker in the lTV: series
Kids, about children in care.
Many television and stage productions followed. She acted Celia in a West
End producti on of The Philanthropist and, on television, played
Baader-Meinhof terrorist in The Professionals, a nurse in the
epic series The Jewel in the Crown, Molly Sorrell in Sorrell
and Son, Carol Chapman in Bust, a career woman in Capital
Labour MP in the parliamentary serial Annie's Bar. She also appeared
in the controversial televisionseries The Buddha of Suburbia.
Then came the role of Becky Cairns in Emmerdale. 'Becky was returning
home to have a quiet life,' says Sarah. 'I wasn't entirely thrilled myself
about the baby storyline.
was suddenly fearful that she would get stuck with the baby. Tony was chomping
at the bit and Becky had to hold him back a bit. She's the more balanced
thinking one. She has a humour, an intelligence and
I hope will be explored further.'
Joining Emmerdale also proved difficult for Sarah as a mother
herself. 'I'm away from my home in London a lot and, although Michael and
my daughter have come up and stayed, it's difficult,' she says. 'Fortunately,
Emily is very keen on her dad
have an au au pair. But I find it hard and she
finds it hard.'
As for researching Becky's love of pottery, Sarah could draw on her own
experience asa child. 'I did pottery at school,' she says, 'I just had
to reacquaint myself with it before going
in front of the