Exclusive: The Girl Before's Gugu Mbatha-Raw "relieved" to let go of show

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Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

This article talks about topics including stillbirth and baby loss.

Minor The Girl Before spoilers also follow.

The Girl Before star Gugu Mbatha-Raw has explained to Digital Spy why she was "relieved" to let go of the intense show after filming finished.

Loki actress Mbatha-Raw's four-part drama wraps up tonight (December 22) with the end of the twisty-turny mystery of her character Jane Cavendish's ties to another couple (EastEnders' Jessica Plummer and Ben Hardy) and the architect (Star Wars' David Oyelowo) who built their high-tech home.

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Related: The Girl Before star discusses the show's challenging but important subject matter

The series tackles challenging subject matter, including stillbirth and baby loss, so Mbatha-Raw was understandably ready to move on to lighter subject matter when completing the series.

"It was an intense schedule, and I think dealing with the issues that Jane has been through – I felt a responsibility to honour those, and also to honour her grief and her journey, to try to do as much research as I could for someone in her situation," she said.

"But also, I wasn't in character all the time in a method sense. But I do think that when you're filming over an intense period, you do carry just the energy and the weight of a story with you. You know every day that Jane isn't someone who smiles and laughs a lot – but I am. So for me to be able to contain a lot of my natural energy for the character was an interesting challenge. But that's part of the job.

Photo credit: Amanda Searle - BBC
Photo credit: Amanda Searle - BBC

Related: EastEnders star Jessica Plummer explains why The Girl Before role was very daunting

"For me at the end of it, it wasn't difficult to let Jane – in some ways, it was a relief to let her go, not because it was… I really enjoyed playing her, but I felt like there was an element where just to get back to me and a more carefree energy, was nice after the intense journey that she's been."

For Mbatha-Raw, her work went beyond bringing a character from JP Delaney's novel of the same name to screens because she was also a producer on the project.

"As well as acting, for the first time, I have an associate producer role on this show. So that was a new challenge, in a way, in terms of having a seat at the table, and the conversations with the producers around casting and the script tweaks, and all of that kind of thing," she told us.

"So for me that was a new challenge, running up to the production, but a really interesting one, and one that I have sort of relished learning from – learning from our incredible producers at 42, and Rhonda Smith."

The Girl Before is available to stream on the BBC iPlayer, and will stream on HBO Max in the US.

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