Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)

Years of appearing in countless shows have paid off for Ciaran Hinds

Byline: Rob Driscoll
HEART throb Ciaran Hinds rarely lets a role get under his skin, but the dashing star of Persuasion and Jane Eyre found one major scene in his latest TV drama, the two-part thriller Thursday The 12th, particularly unsettling to film.

The scene in question, reminiscent of a famous one in the film Don't Look Now, is a flashback where Ciaran's character, wealthy dentist Marius Bannister, tries to save his five- year-old daughter Daisy from drowning in a swimming pool - but tragically fails to prevent her death.

As the father himself of a young girl - 11-year-old Aoife (a Gaelic name pronounced Eefa) - Ciaran was clearly shaken by the experience.

"It was a big scene to pull off before the cameras and, of course, it gets to you," says 50- year-old Ciaran. "It's just the thought of it, when you're pulling the girl out of the water, and realise you're too late to save her. You engage with it on every level - just the practicality of it, the idea of having a beautiful, dead young girl in your arms."

Written by award-winning Paula Milne (of The Politician's Wife and Second Sight fame), Thursday The 12th is a mystery- murder thriller with a major difference. The plot centres around four members of the Bannister family, each of whom wants another one dead.

With a structure unique to British TV, the events of fateful Thursday The 12th are told four times with each account relating to a different family member's point of view.

So while the audience will know from the opening scene someone in the family has been killed, the identity of the murder victim - and the killer - is not revealed until the end.

The drama opens on the evening of Thursday the 12th, when Bannister is due to hear about his New Labour parliamentary candidacy. Instead of the day concluding in celebration, it ends with the murder of a family member.

"I think what Paula Milne has achieved with this drama is incredibly clever," says Belfast- born Ciaran, who lives together with his long-term partner - the French- Vietnamese actress Helene Patarot - in Battersea, south London.

"Marius and his wife Nina, played by Maria Doyle Kennedy, are haunted by the accidental death of their daughter," Ciaran explains. "Thursday the 12th is the anniversary of her death - the date has profound resonances. Marius and Nina have been grieving very differently.

"Marcus even puts a grief column on a website. They both have their own guilt to do deal with because they were having sex when their daughter drowned."

Marius's wife Nina apparently supports her husband's political ambitions, but we discover she has her own secret, deadly agenda.

Nina's sister Candice, played by American actress Elizabeth McGovern, was Marius' fiancee before he eloped with Nina and she too has bitter ghosts to lay to rest.

Finally, Martin Bannister, Marius and Nina's adopted teenage son, is the cuckoo in the nest - wayward and rebellious with murder in mind.

When the cast began filming Thursday The 12th, not even the actors knew who the murderer was.

"The last third of the script wasn't given to us until after we'd filmed the first two- thirds," recalls Ciaran. "The killer could have been anybody."

Hollywood has been quick to capitalise on his considerable talents. Last year Hinds was seen in two major blockbusters, The Sum of All Fears and Road to Perdition, and he has several movies due out this year, including Calendar Girls, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider 2 and Veronica Guerin.

Currently, he's in France filming The Statement, a thriller co-starring Michael Caine.

"It's funny, you can be unemployed for a long time and then suddenly you're flavour of the month," he says. "I'm pleased I'm not typecast any more.

"For a while casting people saw me as a gruff person wearing breeches, but now I can play all types - villains and heroes."