Actors go above and beyond to learn new skills for a role and IFTA award-winning actor Niamh Algar is no exception. As she told Ryan Tubridy:

"There wasn’t a mandarin safe in the house."

Apparently, orange skins can be used as a practice "skin" when learning surgical stitching or suturing. Niamh had to learn how to suture for her role as Doctor Lucinda Edwards in the new ITV drama series Malpractice. Luckily, Niamh could draw on the experience of family members in the medical field and she roped in her sister veterinary surgeon sister Jen to help out:

"I was home and Jen, she brought a suturing kit home and she was like, right, I’m gonna sit you down and I’ll show you how to suture!"

Niamh says Malpractice director Philip Barantini needed her skills in emergency medicine to look as convincing as possible on screen. It also helped when shooting certain scenes uninterrupted in the fast-moving A&E world they had created:

"Phil, our director, wanted to create this kind of seamless idea of carrying out the entire scenes without cuts, so we learnt the procedures on prosthetics, so we would carry out the actions and the dialogue at the same time, so you could cut between both."

From the makers of Line of Duty, Malpractice is the story of a battle-hardened A&E doctor, who finds herself the subject of a professional inquiry when a tragedy happens during a nightmare shift at the hospital:

"It’s a medical thriller and it follows Dr Lucinda Edwards, who’s this incredible A&E doctor who finds herself on one of the worst shifts of her life when a gunman comes in to the lobby and demands for his buddy is taken care of, and at the same time is dealing with the general stresses of A&E, where you’ve got backlogs and time is of the essence."

In preparing for the role, Niamh shadowed a real A&E doctor on their Friday night shift in a London hospital, starting at 5pm and ending at around 5am the next day. Niamh says she has nothing but admiration for the medics who work under such intense conditions:

"It was just an incredible experience to see these incredible people, who are, in my eyes superheroes. I’ve always said that I’ve always wanted to play a superhero on screen and I think playing a doctor is the closest thing you can play to one. Just to see the ability to solve problems in what feels like a pressure cooker, in a facility that is completely understaff, undervalued, over-worked."

The proud Mullingar native says it was important to her to use her natural voice for the role. Something which Ryan says it’s lovely to see:

"I didn’t grow up with many people from Mullingar, with accents on TV shows or films and so wherever I can keep that and maintain that, because it’s important."

Malpractice is written by a former doctor, Grace Ofori-Attah, who has spent part of her career working in A&E. This makes it look and feel completely authentic, Niamh says:

"Everything that was on the page, I could see completely come to life, you know, when I was seeing it for real in that situation. And you can completely see the camaraderie of how the staff have to, literally kind of bond together like family in order to get through these insane shifts."

Niamh turns the mic back on Ryan and asks him how he’s feeling about his latest career moves and she chats about the historical drama series she’s working on with Julianne Moore in the full interview here.

Malpractice starts Sunday 23rd April on ITV1.