Daniel has been Sinead's rock through all of her cancer treatment. We spoke to Rob Mallard about how Daniel has really been coping.
How has Daniel been feeling since hearing the positive news about Sinead’s cancer?
It’s a ray of hope in a really dark time. The good news is exactly what he wanted to hear, but I think he’s probably indulged it a little bit too much and has convinced himself that the outcome is going to be positive.
Throughout this, has Daniel been more positive than Sinead? Perhaps as a coping mechanism?
He’s had to be the most positive one. Sinead is suffering to an almost unimaginable extent, so he really has no choice because she is his world. Without a doubt it’s a coping mechanism, it’s also very British and very polite to ‘keep calm and carry on’ even in the face of death, and I think Daniel is due a lot of credit for that.
How has your close work with Mummy’s Star helped you establish and discover how Daniel might be coping?
I met with Pete who is head of the charity, and we had such an honest and open conversation about his experience of losing his wife to cancer at a young age, shortly after the birth of their child.
His story and his honestly allowed to be more attentive to the details and emotions that may be present throughout all of the hurt and sadness. I can’t explain how much of a privilege it has been work with Pete and Mummy’s Star, and I credit their generosity for the depth of the story. Even though the narrative is so complex, I hope that there are aspects which reach out to people who have been through something similar, even if it’s only small aspects that ring-true to viewers as the story develops , I hope it creates a sense of understanding or even unity.
Is it hard to accept for Daniel that he is unable to help Sinead with her health?
Yes, because Daniel’s not particularly strong mentally or emotionally, so there will be an impact somewhere. This is something I spoke with Pete about, and I asked him how many selfish thoughts he had. On the surface of it, you’ve got to support those who are suffering, but you also need to consider that if the worst is imminent, that you are going to be left behind by someone but of course you can’t say that to the person who’s dying. Daniel was having these thoughts throughout the whole time, and this is something that Pete taught me, and was very open about when talking about the final stages of his wife’s illness.
Do you think that Daniel and Sinead’s row was really about wedding plans, or do you think there was another reason behind it?
Everything that they talk about is set-dressing, because they’re aware that time is now an issue. Although everything seems well for the moment, cancer can come back, and they’re both aware that Sinead isn’t as healthy as she once was. They’re living life as if everything they do could be the last time they do it and that is difficult.
Is taking on Bethany’s struggle and the issue with the article a distraction from the issues with Sinead?
Absolutely it’s a distraction. Everything else exists on a knife edge. Also, Daniel isn’t very good at self-care, so what he does instead is cares for others. He’s like a feeder, even if he was starving he’d be feeding other people and that’s his form of escapism and you can’t blame him for wanting to escape at times.
What happens in the scene with Bethany when Daniel confides in her after his row with Sinead?
Daniel has been white-knighting on behalf of Bethany when she discovers that her article has been cut. For some reason, Bethany is almost annoyed by him helping her which could be an indicator that emotionally she’s heavily invested in him. I think a lot of his help is guilt, and that by him doing good, he feels that increases his chances of his situation improving which is quite desperate but quite understandable. Bethany is a damaged person and has been used a lot, so she gravitates towards his kind actions which leaves her venerable to misinterpreting his kindness.
Is there any chance Daniel could become emotionally entwined with anyone offering him company and support?
I don’t know, but I think Daniel believes in soul mates which made the threat of losing Sinead even more painful. For me, the only way Daniel’s head could truly be turned is if something serious happened between him and Sinead and some would question that her cancer was a wedge between them, but it seems to have just made him more devoted to her.