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Catherine Walker pays lead role

Female star of hit TV series reveals how she suffered wage disparity during career

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Struggle: Catherine Walker stars in The Deceived

Struggle: Catherine Walker stars in The Deceived

Paul Mescal in The Deceived

Paul Mescal in The Deceived

Catherine Walker in the drama Critical

Catherine Walker in the drama Critical

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Struggle: Catherine Walker stars in The Deceived

AN ACTRESS who stars opposite Paul Mescal and Emmet Scanlan in hit Irish TV series The Deceived has said sexism is rampant in the film industry.

Catherine Walker (45), who plays writer Roisin Mulvery in the Virgin Media programme, confesses she has not only suffered pay disparity but some directors have also given her the cold shoulder because she's a woman.

"I'm 25 years in this game and for a long time I wouldn't have been paid the same as my male co-star, I've gone through all of that," reveals the Dubliner, who has starred in numerous TV and films ranging from Holby City to starring alongside Amy Adams and Matthew Goode in Leap Year.

"There was obviously much less work, there was pay disparity, the woman always [had] a particular type of role.

"Like all actresses of my age, I have seen all of that. I have had no disturbing instances, which I'm grateful for, but I have had instances where you would have to talk to directors through your male co-star.

"You wouldn't necessarily have the voice that you should have on a set, but there's incredible change now and its incredibly interesting time and I'm just still so grateful for that change,

She adds: "We still have a long way to go obviously, there's a lot of power in this game as well."

storylines

The Deceived centres around a writing couple - played by Catherine and Emmet - who are caught up in a scam about a book being passed off as the husband's and also an affair he's been having.

Paul Mescal has a lesser role in it and filmed his part just after completing Normal People, which made him a breakout star earlier this year and was a huge hit.

"I didn't work with Paul too much as our storylines don't cross," she explains. "I don't really know Paul. I met him on it very briefly.

"Emmet and I knew each other a little bit and we had a wonderful time working together, I loved working with him."

The Deceived was co-written by Derry Girls' creator Lisa McGee and although set in Co. Donegal was filmed in Belfast.

"They did a really good match up for Donegal," Catherine remarks. "I spent a lot of my life in Donegal, because my mum is from Donegal, so I really think it really looks properly like Donegal. It was immensely enjoyable to work on, The basis of any good job is a good script.

"The house where it's set was a very odd place, it had that kind of grand entrance hall and had a spooky feel to it, a bit like Manderlay in Rebecca (the Hitchcock gaslighting film).

"It was very strange, but it was mid winter, it was really cold. But that's fantastic, you're often working on sets, but I loved working in an actual place, because it's much easier as an actor to be in an actual place. It was great for the unsettling ambiguous nature of what the characters are feeling."

Catherine was in the middle of taking part in a play in Dublin's theatre earlier this year when lockdown arrived and since then she has been trying to come to terms with no public performances.

"It was really weird when it was just suddenly not there and suddenly I was sitting in my house that night going 'I should be on stage and my body wanted to be on stage', it was very odd," she observed.

• The finale of The Deceived is on Virgin Media One tomorrow at 9pm