Nicola Walker's psycho Scott and Bailey research

Nicola Walker visited a psychologist before playing 'Scott & Bailey' character Helen Bartlett.

The actress - who is best known for her eight-year stint as Ruth Evershed in drama series 'Spooks' - found out some ''really grim but fascinating'' information about psychopaths to research how to realistically portray her alter-ego in the detective drama show.

Helen - the estranged daughter of Joe Bevan (George Costigan) and his now dead wife Eunice - left her family home 30 years ago after a disturbing childhood, which involved her dad killing her brother and making her help to bury him.

Nicola said: ''I like a bit of research but I tend to rely on the scripts, especially when they're written by someone like Sally Wainwright - because Sally has done it all already. That's why she's brilliant. It's all there in the script.

''But [production company] Red arranged for us to meet a psychologist who had worked with Sally before.

''We had a session with him talking about some really grim but fascinating stuff. He spoke about psychopaths - because Helen's father is without doubt a psychopath.

''Helen has never been for therapy and never talked to anyone before about what happened to her in that house. I only wanted to know what she knew.''

Nicola admits Helen has been an ''interesting'' character to play, and doesn't think she's ever portrayed an alter-ego ''so full of shame''.

She added: ''She's crashed from a great height. That's one of the most interesting things about Helen.

''Helen has created a character to be at work and that has been successful. But then when someone brings Peveril Street back into her consciousness again, it's like she goes straight back there.

''I think she has some form of post-traumatic stress disorder. It's so immediate and vivid.

''I've never played a character who is so full of shame. It's an interesting thing to play because it's an absolutely internal emotion. She's full of apology. At times she barely raises her eyes to look someone in the eye.''

25-04-2013

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