When Bronagh Waugh discovered she was pregnant with her first child, she was just three weeks into a shoot and already slightly apprehensive about filming during a pandemic.
Having been placed in the extremely vulnerable category, due to issues with her immune system, the Coleraine actress had spent lockdown living apart from husband Richard Peacock, a key worker, who didn't want to risk his wife's health.
Bronagh had been due to relocate from Guildford, Surrey to Manchester in March of last year to film the new ITV crime show Viewpoint, but the outbreak of Covid-19 in the UK forced the postponement of the production.
It was rescheduled for August instead and before Bronagh set off for the shoot, she and Richard temporarily reunited.
"I hardly saw Rich all year," explains Bronagh. "Because I have immune system problems and he works as a heating engineer, he didn't think it was safe him coming home to me.
"We isolated from each other and I saw him only once before I went off to Manchester.
"We filmed Viewpoint from August. It was the first ITV drama to start shooting after lockdown restrictions were lifted.
"But it meant that for the first four months of my pregnancy, we were apart from each other. He came up to see me for a week and I managed to get a few days off, which was lovely. We visited the Peak District and the Lake District and it was so good to spend time together again.
"It was tough being apart but it's the nature of my job really; living out of a suitcase. It keeps things fresh between us though and Rich gets to come on lots of adventures with me."
During the filming of Viewpoint, which ran all this week and is available for catch up on the ITV Hub, Bronagh lived in a special bubble with her co-stars.
Due to the unusual circumstances of the shoot, they all formed a particularly tight bond. Richard persuaded Bronagh to share their news with her fellow actors, including Noel Clarke, Alexandra Roach and Fehinti Balogun, to ensure she had moral support on set.
"I was nervous, I must admit," Bronagh says, speaking to the Belfast Telegraph ahead of the sexual misconduct allegations levelled against Clark.
"I told them sooner than normal; at just six weeks. I think it would have been irresponsible of me not to tell them.
"I explained that it was early on and that the pregnancy may not be viable.
"I didn't want them to get too excited. But of course, they were, and they promised to look after me.
"But being pregnant in a pandemic and on a shoot did add another layer of anxiety for me. It was great to have the others there for me.
"Noel has three children himself and he was so supportive.
"I told the executive producer too and they put extra measures in place, so I felt safe. Everyone was amazing and looked after me."
Viewpoint is set in a tight-knit community in Manchester and centres on surveillance detective DC Martin Young (Clarke), as he sets up an observation post in the home of single mum Zoe Sterling (Roach), following the disappearance of Gemma Hillman (Amy Wren).
Bronagh plays DC Stella Beckett in the Hitchcock-style drama. Despite the anxiety and the intense tiredness that gripped her in the first few months of pregnancy, Bronagh says she loved being part of the production and adored her 'strong, ballsy, straight-talking' character, Young's sidekick. Everyone should be 'a bit more Stella', insists Bronagh.
"When I read the script, I just loved her character," says Bronagh. "She's fierce, loud, brash and sarcastic, but she's also incredibly loyal.
"The beauty of the script is that in so many crime dramas, the women are the victims. That can be hard going emotionally to play. As a strong, independent woman myself, it's nice to have played something a bit more reflective of me.
"I definitely have elements of Stella but I'm not as cool or ballsy or brash as she is. I wish I was though!"
Initially Stella was going to be from Belfast but at the last minute, it was decided she'd be from Manchester instead. Bronagh had prepared and rehearsed her as a Belfast woman and the change two days before filming meant not just a new accent, but different mannerisms and colloquialisms as well.
"Basically, it meant I was playing a completely different character from the one I'd prepared," she says.
"Stella being from Belfast gave her a certain personality. I knew who she was. Knowing where a person is from helps anchor them. It's not just about an accent. I'd altered her dialogue too, to make it more Belfast.
"So in the end, I based her on a friend from Manchester. Sometimes on shoots, if I want to work on an accent, I go to pubs or cafes and talk to people, but I couldn't do that in lockdown, so had to chat to the girl working in Asda instead."
Filming in a pandemic did have its challenges, pregnancy aside. The cast wore masks during rehearsals which made it difficult to read facial expressions. Rigorous Covid testing was carried out on set and a Covid producer walked around with his two-metre stick to make sure there was the regulatory space between actors. Nevertheless, there were intimate scenes that involved cast members kissing and touching.
"That did feel risky," says Bronagh. "I'm just so glad I didn't have any sex scenes!
"But we were allowed physical contact because we were in bubbles. Being able to hug Noel and Alex felt like such an unbelievable privilege."
Bronagh says there is potential that Viewpoint could keep running beyond this five-parter and that she would love to play the feisty detective again. Of course she is no stranger to crime shows or psychological thrillers, having appeared in The Fall, Des, Strike and Unforgotten - not too shabby a CV.
Crime dramas in particular are something she believes British production companies excel at; taking gritty real life stories or mind-blowing mysteries and turning them into fascinating television. She had been hoping to be cast in new Northern Irish crime drama, Hope Street, but being so far on in her pregnancy when shooting started, meant this wasn't possible. Still, she's looking forward to seeing how the daytime police series plays out.
"We know how to do twists and turns. There's a tradition of that going back to Agatha Christie and Sherlock Holmes," she points out.
"And the fact we have rainy, cold weather and a landscape that suits, means people can scare the bejaysus out of themselves. Something like The Fall worked so well because of those things.
"If we worked in sunny California, I don't think those types of dramas would pique the viewers' interest as much. There's nothing better than wrapping up all warm and cosy, when it's rainy and grey and watching a great mystery or thriller."
One gripe she has is the lack of strong female lead parts in productions that are filmed in Northern Ireland.
While she's delighted to see the industry blossoming here, she would like to see more local actresses cast in Northern-Ireland based shows.
"It's odd that they import English actresses or actresses from down south when there are plenty of strong women in Northern Ireland," she says.
"I mean, Gillian Anderson, Charlene McKenna and Anna Friel are all great actresses, don't get me wrong, but what about the actresses from Northern Ireland? Why not cast them more?
"We are a country built by strong, independent women; more so than any other country in Europe, I think. You don't mess with a Northern Irish woman. We can drop you with one killer line."
Bronagh grew up around strong women and has inherited that inner strength, empathy and passion for equality from her mum Bonnie, who raised her single-handedly. Bonnie also taught her about activism and to stand up for what she believes in; something the actress is well-known for.
A campaigner for women's rights, Bronagh has campaigned tirelessly for abortion and the right to have a say over one's own body.
She's a keen advocate for same-sex marriage as well and was a huge supporter of the campaign to change legislation here. And she doesn't just talk the talk. Bronagh's mum is gay and the actress was adamant she and Richard wouldn't wed until the law was changed in Northern Ireland to allow for same-sex marriage.
The pair celebrated their love in a ceremony in Somerset a few years ago and had been planning to mark the legal aspect of it on the North Coast last year, after legislation recognising same-sex marriage was finally introduced in January 2020.
The pandemic forced them to postpone and they had been hoping to throw their big bash some time this year instead. Then Bronagh found out she was pregnant. Now their focus is on the baby and the second part of their wedding will take place probably next year instead.
Bronagh chose a day that means something to her - International Women's Day - to announce her baby news on Instagram. At that stage she was seven months pregnant and proudly displayed her baby bump in a series of stunning photographs.
True to form, she also used the opportunity to pay tribute to all the 'incredible women' around the world, describing their bodies as 'miracle machines'.
She also praised all the 'brilliant men out there', who helped to support and raise women up.
Never one to shy away from speaking out about controversial subjects, Bronagh went on to say how being pregnant had affirmed to her just how important reproductive rights are and she called on women to continue to fight for them. She wrote that it had been over a year since abortion was decriminalised in Northern Ireland, 'yet still women are being forced to travel to England in the middle of a pandemic to access proper healthcare. It is unacceptable.'
She continued: "Women and pregnant people are being let down by both governments in Northern Ireland. Do not let these politicians stand in the way of our rights. We should all have the right to choose."
With just days to go before her due date, Bronagh is now taking things easy. She and Richard are enjoying settling into their new home and preparing for the baby's impending arrival. They still live in Guildford but moved from an apartment to a house to accommodate their expanding family.
The house has a beautiful garden overlooking a river and as we chat, Bronagh is decompressing ahead of the big day; soaking up the sun with mum Bonnie on hand. Moving house while expecting and in the middle of a pandemic was stressful, she concedes, but it was worth it. The house now feels like a home and she can't wait to begin the next chapter of her life.
Another bonus of their new location is that it's close to Gatwick Airport, which means she can pop home to Northern Ireland conveniently enough.
Her beloved granny Dale lives in Coleraine and she hasn't seen her for 16 months. It's their longest separation and she can't wait to get back to see her family and friends who live here.
"As soon as the baby is settled and in a routine, I'm coming home. Try and stop me," she says.
"I'd really hoped to get over before the baby was born, but it didn't happen.
"My granny's been in the clinically vulnerable group and hasn't left her house for a year. She's had her second vaccine now though and is chomping at the bit to get out and she's so excited about the baby coming.
"In fact, I just got a parcel of outfits that she knitted and posted over. We're going to have a wee catch-up over FaceTime later."
A film based in Brighton is on the cards a few months down the line, so Bronagh is hoping to be back on her feet and ready to work by then.
But in the meantime, she is going to turn off her phone for six weeks and concentrate on her home and family life.
"The last year has been so busy for me," she says.
"I know I'm lucky because so many people in the industry didn't have work.
"But as great as it was, I had no time to stop and breathe. Now I have to focus on the baby, my home life and my family.
"It's a time of new beginnings and I'm so excited to see what the future brings."
If you missed Viewpoint this week, you can catch up with all the drama on the ITV Hub