Series 1 Cast Interviews
Katharine Monaghan

Katharine Monaghan

Donna Walmsley

"Donna is very family-orientated, completely devoted to her husband and her kids. She's really down-to-earth, really normal, a homely type. Suddenly she and her husband have all this money and the attention and the glamorous lifestyle and she's never had that before, it's not really her thing. She doesn't fit into that lifestyle very well, but she's very keen to be the supportive wife.

"Football is Ian's life, and she can see him changing, and it panics her a bit. Football just takes over. Deep down, she knows that football is the most important thing in the world to him, more important than her, even. But she is desperate to keep the family together, which I think is partly because she's a long way from home, and because her own mum and dad have turned their back on her - she gave up her family life with them to be with Ian. A lot of the time I think she pretends that things are better than they are between her and Ian - and now that I come to think of it, she never really gets what she wants. She always has to compromise.

"She's very young, as well. She's the same age as me, but she's already got two kids and one of them's ten! When I think of that, it's like 'Oh my God!' In many ways Ian and Donna are much more grown-up than you'd expect, but in other ways they're not. Donna's had to cope with so much emotional trauma - having a baby at thirteen and having to give him up, turning her back on her family to be with Ian - that she can be very wise beyond her years, but then there's also a huge naivete about her. Sometimes, she and Ian seem like they're playing house, in a way.

"She can be vulnerable, very vulnerable, but she's also very strong. After all, it's her that's holding the family together. She always bounces back to pick up the pieces.

"Donna absolutely adores Ian - she's totally in love with him. And she's never really known anyone else in that way, you have to remember that they've been together since she was twelve. She still sees him as her perfect guy. But then she has to suffer this constant rejection, little put-downs and football taking over. It leaves her wondering if there's something else for her out there.

"There are some great designer outfits in the series but unfortunately I don't get to wear any of them! Zoe and Susie wore all these fabulous designer clothes, and mine are all High Street stuff. But she has progressed to Karen Millen now! She's working her way up the High Street...

"The Walmsley's house is gorgeous. Ours is a bit more normal than the Pascoes' house but it's still huge, open-plan, with a pool. But the decor's quite tacky. There's all this leopard print everywhere! It's like a catalogue house, Donna and Ian haven't actually thought of any of it themselves, it's all copying other things they've seen. I'd decorate it very differently! That red leather couch... not really me! And there are huge TVs everywhere. They never watch them, it's just that those are the biggest tellies money can buy and so they think they have to have them. Part of that is that they literally do come from nothing.

"I support Newcastle. I followed it a lot more when I lived at home, because football is such a big thing there - it's like a religion. When they lose, there's a strange atmosphere in town... and when Newcastle and Sunderland play you just don't want to be around.

"Footballers' Wives is my first professional role! It's like a dream and a nightmare all rolled into one. There are still times when I think 'Shit! I have no idea what I'm doing...' But everyone's been very supportive and they've been very aware that this is the first telly that I've done. I've done three years of drama at college but that's not at all telly-based, so the technical stuff takes a lot of getting used to. There's so much to think about - continuity, marks, people faffing about with your hair all the time, the make-up. Sometimes you just think 'Oh, let me just get on with it!' But I love it, it's brilliant."