Clare Calbraith plays Dr. Tricia Summerbee
Clare Calbraith joined the regular cast of Heartbeat during series ten. Dr Tricia Summerbee arrived in North Yorkshire as an intern at Ashfordly General. A young recently qualified doctor, Tricia soon found herself embroiled in medical and police work. In series eleven she became more closely involved in the life of Aidensfield, as she moved from the hospital to set up her own general practice in Aidensfield.
Interviewed as series eleven was starting, Clare explained "Heartbeat was my first regular TV job and I was terrified but really excited when I started last year. I think it was good that Tricia first appeared fleetingly during the last series as it gave me a chance to find my feet before launching into my storylines this year."
From the outset she faces conflict when she prescribes a sixteen year old with birth control pills without the consent of her parents. "It's a great story to kick off with", says Clare. "I agree totally with Tricia's actions and I like the way the story is intertwined with a couple of sub plots involving the parents of the girl and her boyfriend. I think it's the first time in a while Heartbeat has had a two part story. The first part ends with Tricia's whole career in the balance, a bit of a shame for her as she's hardly had time to unpack and settle into her new surgery before this hits her."
Tricia overcomes this threat but goes on to encounter a clinically depressed patient who accuses her of being unethical and almost collapses with exhaustion after a virulent strain of salmonella breaks out in Aidensfield.
"She does have a tough time of it", laughs Clare. "Of course the situation isn't helped by the fact that she's young and female. I think female doctors must find it tough today so can you imagine how it must have been in a rural community in the Sixties. The only older male who treats her with respect is Craddock. They have an interesting relationship and the scenes between them have been among my favourite to play."
Tricia also finds comfort in the form of PC Mike Bradley, who is in turn finding life hard as he faces up to the recent departure of his wife Jackie.
"Mike and Tricia confide in each other", says Clare. "He's still hurt because of what's happened to him and she's down about work so they find a shoulder to cry on in each other."
At the moment there's only the slightest hint of romance on the horizon.
"Well, I think she really likes him," Clare laughs. "She confides in Gina one night and doesn't know what to do about it. At the moment they are at a bit of a stalemate. They've been all friendly but they've also had a bit of a fight over work. I think she's too bossy for him, but we'll have to wait and see what the rest of the series has in store!"
Clare has found one of the most difficult aspects of the role to be getting to grips with the medical procedures.
"The thing is you've got to look as if you know what you're doing and I haven't a clue about even the most basic first aid", she says. "Thankfully we've got this wonderful nurse on set called Patrick who gives me a pep talk before I have to treat anyone in a scene. He also helps me with pronouncing all the medical terms which I always get wrong and feel really stupid about!"
Clare's also enjoying playing a character from a different era.
"It's great doing the Sixties", she says. "I did grow up in the Eighties and had some of the worst hair disasters imaginable and wore them proudly. No hair style of Tricia's could ever be as bad as those. I do wish that she had some more glamorous outfits though - she's very tweedy when she goes to work. When I got the job I looked at some photos of my mum taken at that time and she had some wonderful frocks!"
Clare's television role has particularly delighted her family.
"They love it", she says. "They even give me notes! Once my youngest sister, who's nine, told me I'd blinked too much during a scene and when I looked back at it she was right!"
Clare Calbraith's television credits include Sara in Black Cab and Tanya in Casualty. Her stage credits include King Lear with Northern Broadsides and The Cherry Orchard and Don Juan with English Touring Theatre.