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Dame Emma Thompson tells ITV News she 'couldn't live with' the decisions her character makes in The Children Act

Actor Dame Emma Thompson, who plays a family court judge in her latest role, has told ITV News how she could never live having to make a decision over life and death, as her character does in The Children Act.

The movie is a an adaptation of Ian McEwan’s 2014 novel, in which Dame Emma's character decides whether Adam, a 17 year old Jehovah's Witness with leukaemia, should be forced to have a life saving blood transplant.

The fictional movie brings a new perspective to real life cases like Alfie Evans and Charlie Gard, and focuses on the pressure endured not only by families but by the judiciary.

Tom Evans and Kate James, battled to keep their son Alfie alive, but judges ruled he must be taken off life support. Credit: PA

Dame Emma said: "Every time I hear one of those cases now I think of my friends who work in the high court and family court and the pain they have to witness and that they have to make decisions about, which I think must be so hard."

She added: "I couldn't do it, I couldn't do it. I might make the same decision but I don't think I would be able to live with it afterwards."

Her co-star, Fionn Whitehead, who plays Adam, went undercover to research the role and found himself "gripped with terror" in a Jehovah's Witnesses meeting.

"I went to a Jehovah's Witnesses meeting and just pretended like I got a leaflet through the door, I was sure I was going to be caught out the whole time. I was sitting there, gripped with terror."