Daisy Haggard ‘relieved’ to show ‘darker side of parenting’ as Breeders returns

While your social media may be awash with Instagram-perfect family pictures, many of us know the cold reality of parenting is far from easy, or glamorous.

That’s perhaps why the dark comedy series Breeders has become such a phenomenon that it’s back for a third series. And by the sounds of it a fourth won’t be far behind…

The Responder's Martin Freeman and Daisy Haggard return as Paul and Ally Worsley, the beleaguered parents of Luke and his younger sister Ava (Eve Prenelle), who is 10.

The story kicks off where it was left at the end of Season two, with the whole family feeling the fallout of fragile 13 year-old Luke (Alex Eastwood) punching his dad.

Paul’s moved out and is staying at his mother-in-law Leah’s house, and he’s flirting with Leah’s next-door-neighbour, Gabby (Sally Phillips).

Ally is battling her own problems with work, early menopause and an increasingly strained relationship with Ava.

It’s funny, near to the knuckle if you have kids, and addictive to watch.

Here, Martin and Daisy reveal what’s in store…

Hi both. Breeders obviously really chimes with parents. What sorts of messages have you had from viewers?

Daisy: Some parents message to say they are so relieved that there’s something that shows the darker side of parenting – not the Instagram version. We get responses from people who say, ‘this is like watching my own life.’ It’s like therapy for some, for others it’s almost painful to watch. And others say it’s a huge relief to know others go through similar things, so there’s a huge mix of people we hear from.

What do your own kids make of the series?

Daisy: My eldest, seven year-old daughter got the giggles the other day after reading about the show. She came in and said, ‘it says here that you have these two other kids!’. She’s also gone through the scripts and highlighted all the swear words. She gave me a stern lecture on how we teach her not to swear and now I am for work!

Martin: Joe and Grace really like it. Joe’s actually suggested a couple of things. He is older and his interest is a bit more active. They’ve said, ‘dad, have you thought about giving us ten per cent!’

Have you ever lost them, like you temporarily lose Ava in the series?

Martin: I have had that, but thank god, not for that long. It was momentary but as anyone who is a parent knows it doesn’t take long to have a mini heart attack. Once you have decided, ‘oh shit, I’ve lost them!’ it could be a few seconds or minutes but it doesn’t matter because it’s still terrifying.

Daisy: I have a very confident daughter who from the age of two was really happy to go off. Friends would say, ‘it’s OK. Let her go and she’ll come back.’ Then I’d let her go in the park and they’d realise, ‘oh no, she doesn’t!’ I have had that feeling but thankfully not for more than 30 seconds or so!

Series three picks up the storyline from series two. Tell us why you decided to do that and not jump ahead five years, as you did between series one and two?

Martin: Where we left off was such a biggie – with Paul getting punched in the face by his son and Paul and Ally deciding not to live under the same roof for the foreseeable future. Because it was such a big thing, we thought it’d be better to skip to just a few weeks later, so we are dealing with the fallout of it and not cheating the audience out of what happens next.

Paul and Ally are going through a tough time as parents. How confident are you that they can get through this?

Daisy: They start off confidence and then, as with a lot of these things, sometimes everything is fine until suddenly it’s not fine. I think it just gets difficult. Even though the family dynamic might be working, they then disengage from each other.

Sally Phillips stars in this series. What was it like working with her and how big a threat will her character Gabby be to Paul and Ally’s relationship?

Martin: She was great. She is exactly the kind of ‘animal’ who needs to be in Breeders.It was the perfect casting. Like Daisy, she will not make heavy work of something. She is quick, funny and all the things I admire in Daisy. She slightly turns Paul’s head – but you’re not exactly sure how it is being turned. She is not anti-Ally either. They are cut from a not wholly different cloth.

Daisy: She’s a lovely sparkling character and that’s what makes her sort of threatening. She’s not some kind of caricature seductress. She’s just a really attractive, lovely, genuine woman which would be your actual worst nightmare – a proper threat!

Martin, as a co-creator on Breeders, has it evolved in the way you wanted?

Yes. For me it feels quite close to what I hoped it would be, in that I always hoped that it would tread that nice line between comedy and drama and dare to show bits of parenting within a comedic context that were pretty full on and sometimes hard to watch. So I’m genuinely quite pleased with where it’s gone.

Sky Original Breeders series 3 starts Wednesday 13th July on Sky Comedy and NOW


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