Julia Ormond: New series challenges ideas of women and relationships

Showbiz | Published:

Ben Barnes also stars in the six-part drama.

Julia Ormond

Julia Ormond has said she was drawn to her new series about a woman who falls for a much younger man because it challenges preconceived notions of women and relationships.

The actress plays Julia Day, a woman of 60 who starts a romance with Benjamin (Ben Barnes), a man in his 30s, in BBC One domestic noir Gold Digger.

The six-part series tells the story of the relationship and the effect it has on the woman’s family, who are harbouring a dark secret.

Ormond, 54, said: “What attracted me to the story is the way that it’s provocative and it challenges us in terms of how we see women who have devoted their life to motherhood – then what do they do when that phase is sort of coming to an end.”

Julia Ormond
Julia Ormond (Ian West/PA)

She went on: “Despite the fact that we’re very used to seeing older men with much younger women, to see the reverse throws into sharp relief our societal expectations of women.

“One would think it should not be that inconceivable but at the same time something does feel off…”

Co-star Barnes added: “I started reading the scripts on a plane and I found myself finished with episode four by the time I landed.


“I was inhaling these tiny intimate stories about this relationship and I found it to be an incredible page turner. It is not too often that those types of familial stories are told in such a way that you are desperate to move forward and see how the characters are going to react to the changing circumstances.

“The second thing which drew me to this drama, was having an older female protagonist. I don’t think there are enough stories told about women in their 60s.”

The actor said for him, the shoot took a little courage.

Ben Barnes
Ben Barnes (Ian West/PA)


He said: “There are certainly scenes in this drama that I refer to as my ‘be brave for 60 seconds’ scenes, like the one where I spontaneously decide to strip off and dive into a swimming pool despite it being the height of winter.

“That can be fun if you do it once, but when you are filming you have to do things over and over again.

“The crew were wearing thermals and duck feather coats and they were shivering and I was very much naked having to jump into a swimming pool.”

The star said despite the cold, it was “an exhilarating and freeing experience”.

Gold Digger, written and created by Marnie Dickens, also stars Sebastian Armesto, Jemima Rooper, Archie Renaux, Alex Jennings, Nikki Amuka-Bird and Julia McKenzie.

It is due to start this month.

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