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Whether playing DI Kate Fleming in Line of Duty or a back-against-the-wall bomb disposal expert in ITV’s Trigger Point, Vicky McClure has mastered the art of procedurals over the years.

But in Paramount+ series Insomnia from The Crown producer Left Bank, in which she plays a career woman, Emma, who experiences a breakdown when she suddenly stops being able to sleep, the actor-producer bucked the trend.

“I feel like I’ve grown up, I’m 40 now,” McClure told an Insomnia Q&A in London late last month. “There’s a lot of procedural drama that I do and I enjoy it, but I was excited to step into something that felt different.” McClure added that she quite enjoyed walking in heels for the entirety of the series, for example.

McClure’s challenge was made trickier by the fact she has never suffered from insomnia – although “just a bad night’s sleep can take you off kilter,” she said – and she told the Q&A that making the show had given her a new-found sympathy for those who suffer from sleep deprivation. The series borrows from horror and supernatural elements to depict the psychological effects of the condition on Emma and those around her.

“I can only imagine how insomnia when left on its own can destroy your life,” she added. “I have a massive sympathy for people who face insomnia on a day-to-day basis and then just go to work.”

Penned by Sarah Pinborough, who wrote the original source material, the series is one of the UK originals that wasn’t culled by Paramount+ when it pivoted focus to Hollywood franchises several months back under former boss Bob Bakish. Tom Cullen, Leanne Best, Lyndsey Marshal, Dominic Tighe, Jade Harrison, Corinna Marlowe, Robert Gilbert, Michelle Bonnard, India Fowler and Smylie Bradwell star alongside McClure.

The initial idea came following a read through between Pinborough and producer Left Bank for the pair’s previous joint project, Netflix’s Behind Her Eyes, Pinborough explained.

“We came up with this stay-at-home dad, this woman who runs the family, and then a complete lack of sleep,” said Pinborough. “I owed a book at the same time and then I thought, ‘Why am I writing a separate book when I can write a book and a show?’.”

McClure, who found fame playing Lol in Shane Meadows’ This is England and won a BAFTA for Channel 4’s TV version, wasn’t initially in the running for the lead simply because Pinborough did not think she would agree to it.

“I don’t know what this says about me, but I’m not very good at writing warm human beings,” Pinborough added. “Vicky brought a warmth to [Emma], who was written as quite a contained character.”

Insomnia launches on Paramount+ on May 23. 

Do you think you may suffer from Insomnia and live in Florida, California or New York?

If so, please consider scheduling a proper virtual online Insomnia and Anxiety diagnosis with one of our physicians. Although we have an online ADHD and Anxiety diagnosis tool, a proper diagnosis from a Board-Certified Medical Doctor will help you know for sure. If appropriate, a customized treatment program will be recommended at the conclusion of that initial visit.

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