Castlewellan actor Niamh McGrady chats with Eamonn Mallie

Castlewellan actor Niamh McGrady chats with Eamonn Mallie

6 February 2019

CASTLEWELLAN actor Niamh McGrady has strongly condemned the acceptance “of the casting couch” when it comes the treatment of women in the screen and stage industry. 

The 35 year-old was speaking during an interview with veteran newsman and broadcaster Eamonn Mallie on his new interview series for UTV.

McGrady found fame as Constable Danielle Ferrington in the hit psychological thriller The Fall, as well as Nurse Maire-Claire Carter in the medical soap Holby City.

When asked about what she felt about the #MeToo movement — a viral campaign which highlighted the high incidence of sexual assault or abuse by men in positions of power against women, she said: “I just wish it had come out before now.”

She added: “The #Me2 movement was phenomenal. It literally became a tidal wave of women going, ‘Yes Me Too, Yes Me Too, Yes Me Too’.

“Sexual assault is everywhere. 

It has been normalised. It has been accepted. Until we are shining a proper light on this, we need this to happen. 

“It has always been that way. Where did the phrase the casting coach come from? It is as old as the hills. It is accepted language. Because it is accepted language, do we have to accept that some women are going to have to be violated in order to get ahead in the industry?

“I think its is abhorrent and I think that the way that women are portrayed on screen and how they are treated in the industry is rightly changing.”

However, McGrady, who is a former student of Assumption Grammar School in Ballynahinch, defended the storyline behind The Fall which shows Jamie Dornan playing Phil Spector, a serial killer of young women.

“I thought it was an excellent examination at to what would compel a man to violence against women,” she said.

The youngest of five children, McGrady also talks about feeling “deeply emotional” about the Mourne Mountains.

She also touches on her need  as a young girl to leave Castlewellan once she had left school “for some adventure” anywhere and how she has experienced mental health problems in the past with feelings of anxiety and depression.

McGrady, who is now married and living in London, also speaks of the ups and downs of her acting career and  how after she performed Macbeth with Sir Patrick Stewart in the West End and on Broadway in New York, she returned to London to work in a club.

• Eamonn Mallie — Face to Face…with Niamh McGrady airs on UTV on Tuesday at 11.15pm.