"It's hard not to give away plots when they keep making you do TV interviews"
From playing creepy Claire in Broadchurch, Eve Myles returns to the gentle comedy of You, Me & Them. She tells Keeley Bolger about keeping schtum on Broadchurch storylines and coping with the critics.
While millions of fans were gutted when the second series of Broadchurch ended, Eve Myles, who played the unnerving Claire in the ITV drama, felt like a huge weight had been lifted from her shoulders.
With cast and crew notoriously guarded about plots, the actress found herself continuously swerving questions in interviews, as well as in everyday conversations, desperate to avoid landing herself in a "lot of trouble" with the drama bosses for revealing anything.
"It's hard enough not to say anything [about the plots], but when you keep being put on live television to talk about a show you're not allowed to talk about, it [becomes] one of those actors' nightmares," laughs the 36-year-old.
"I'm glad I managed to keep it a secret and never let anything leak, and the series was a success. It's been incredible."
Although the series was lauded, with a hefty nine million viewers every week, it didn't escape criticism (the ratings were down from the first series) and there was some "inevitable second-series critique".
But the mum-of-two, who grew up in Ystradgynlais, Powys, is reflective about the backlash.
"The critics hold an awful lot of power," she says. "But it's up to the public to make their opinion, and thank God, there were millions of them who made it their opinion to watch every week and to thoroughly enjoy it."
She acknowledges that critics do an "important job", however, and says she values the feedback.
After months of work on the intense crime drama, returning for the second series of the gentle Gold comedy You, Me & Them, in which Myles is playing plummy and "free-spirited" Lauren, who's in a relationship with the much older Ed, was a breath of fresh air.
Myles, who met her husband, fellow actor Bradley Freegard while they were both studying at the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama in Cardiff, has never been in a relationship with such an age gap, but she can relate to the love story.
"Tony [Head] and I wanted to show that these two people should be together because they love each other," she explains. "They respect each other. They have fun, they make each other laugh, they're kind to each other and that's what relationships are about, no matter what age."
She adds she couldn't be more different from "naive" Lauren.
For one, Myles is "Welsh, incredibly Welsh" unlike Home Counties born and bred Lauren, and she has a "lot more fire", too.
"I'm a mum-of-two, I've got to have fire in my guts," reasons the actress, who has two daughters, Matilda (5) and Siena (1).
Learning to take criticism might be part of developing as an actor, but motherhood has also changed the way she approaches work.
Based in Cardiff, Myles is fairly confident the family will stay put for the time being.
When Matilda was a baby, they temporarily lived in Los Angeles, so Myles could work on Torchwood.
"It was different then, because my daughter wasn't in full-time education. She is now, so there would be a lot of juggling."
She isn't ruling out more moves altogether, though.
"It would depend on what the project was," Myles says. "It'd have to be a family decision, and certainly not me just jumping on a plane any more."
And for fellow actors, she has some unusual advice on how to ace an audition, based on the second one she did for Broadchurch.
"I say to any actor who is nervous before auditions, 'Have a newborn baby, have no sleep. Go in and you'll absolutely smash it'. You're just really happy you turned up with clothes on and can speak English."
You, Me & Them, Gold, Wednesday, 10pm
Broadchurch: the ups and downs of the controversial drama
The often-controversial second series of the ITV drama Broadchurch drew many criticisms in spite of achieving respectable viewing figures - 7.6 million people tuned into the final episode.
The hugely successful first series, which starred David Tennant and Olivia Colman, kept the nation gripped as detectives trying to unmask a child murderer in the fictional seaside town.
And while some episodes in the crime thriller's first outing pulled in between eight and nine million viewers, critics panned series two, dubbing it "Bored-church" and a "bitter disappointment", with viewers turning off in their droves - 400,000 in a single episode, taking figures down to 5.15 million at its lowest.
The case against series two:
Complex plot: many people complained they simply couldn't follow the storyline which was based in a court room unlike series one.
Criminally wrong: legal experts pointed out the defence wouldn't be allowed to suggest Mark Latimer (Andrew Buchan) as an alternate killer.
Bore-church: Critics felt it lacked the appeal and smart story-telling of the first series.