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

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

Note: This article talks about topics including stillbirth and baby loss.

The Girl Before spoilers also follow.

The Girl Before, the latest BBC psychological thriller isn't just tough to watch because of the genre, but also because of the subject matter.

The four-part series discusses stillbirth and baby loss, which isn't something that is tackled very often in television. Gugu Mbatha-Raw, who stars in the series, said they have done a lot of research and notes that everyone was "sensitive" to the fact "that there are issues in the show that are delicate and real".

"We had wonderful consultants at Sands, the organisation that deals with that," she told Digital Spy exclusively. "I was very fortunate to speak to a bereavement midwife about her experiences.

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

"I spoke to somebody who has also experienced a stillbirth – a friend of mine who was very generous in sharing their personal experiences. Obviously, there's lots to read on the Sands website and information about how different people go through such life-changing grief."

The thriller, which is based on JP Delaney's best-selling 2017 novel of the same name, sees a woman called Jane (Loki star Mbatha-Raw) move into a stunning, high-tech home designed by an enigmatic architect, Edward (David Oyelowo), in exchange for abiding by a very specific list of tenancy rules.

Mbatha-Raw explained that her character goes on a bit of a journey throughout the series, starting in a "state of loss and grief".

"So I think everyone was very sensitive to the fact that there are issues in the show that are delicate and real. It's a psychological thriller. It is based on a novel, but there are some real issues that also anchor the journey that we're on," she continued.

Photo credit: BBC
Photo credit: BBC

Related: Loki star explains why she chose David Oyelowo for The Girl Before

"I hope that Jane's journey is going from a woman who is very much in a state of loss and grief, and she goes through this healing process, almost through her journey of getting her power back, and being able to use the house almost as a place to sort of have a sanctuary."

The actress adds that despite the tough subject matter, she says it is "shown in a way that is hopeful" and that the show has been respectful of the fact it is a very hard topic for some to face on television.

"I think, hopefully, there's a sense of catharsis at the end of it," she added. "Although these issues are delicate, in storytelling it's often a safe way to be able to show a hopeful way through… and in a hopefully entertaining way, that we are respectful to these issues – but they are also shown in a way that is hopeful."

The series hails from director Lisa Brühlman, who previously worked on Killing Eve, and original author JP Delaney is also co-writing the screenplay alongside Marissa Lestrade (Deep State, Casualty).

The Girl Before premieres on BBC One on Sunday, December 19 at 9pm, and will stream on HBO Max in the US.

Sands supports anyone affected by the death of a baby. You can contact the Sands National Helpline on 0808 164 3332, or email helpline@sands.org.uk.

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