Created 25th September 2003
|Played by Jane Cameron||Appeared: 81 episodes October 1996-26 November 1997|
The following is taken from 25 Yeas of Emmerdale (1997) repubublsihed as "The Emmerdale Companion" (1998) by Anthony Hayward
When it came to choosing between the charms f Butch Dingle and lesbian vet Zoe Tate, Emmerdale nanny Sophie Wright, who had been caring for Zoe's half-brother, James, at Home Farm, fell for Zoe.
Having an actor boyfriend might have made it difficult to fall into the role of a lesbian lover, but actress Jane Cameron was well qualified to play a nanny. 'When I was 16, my parents moved to America,' she says. After six months there, I returned to Britain, but I had spent some of that time working as a nanny. It was great experience. Until you've spent every day with a baby, you don't know what it's like. In one of the first scenes I did in Emmerdale, which I read in the audition, someone said, "Doesn't it make you want to have one of your own?" My character replied, "No, absolutely not." That's true - you realise it's a 24-hour-a-day job.
'Sophie was supposed to have gone through a nanny academy, so she knew a lot about health and the development of the baby, and how to stimulate it. To prepare for the role, I spoke to as many people as possible who had children. Sophie takes her job really seriously, which I can relate to. She's very professional.
'In some ways, it's nice to have a baby on screen. It's like a prop - you can focus all your energies on the job in hand. But in other ways it can be hard, like when the baby cries. When he was a small baby, he slept most of the time, which is easier. When I got more used to things, the baby got more irritated. But his mother is always around and feels safe when she hands him over to me. When he's supposed to be crying, often he'll be as happy as anything. And when he's supposed to be happy, he can be a bit grizzly. We have to wait for the crying sometimes.'
Being in the centre of the action, as the Tate family tore themselves apart, thrust Jane into a gruelling schedule in Emmerdale less than a year after she had left drama school. During her summer break in 1995, she had made her television dbut in the first episode of the BBC detective series Dalziel and Pascoe, set in Yorkshire. At the end of that year, she left the Webber Douglas Academy in London, and filmed two episodes of Band of Gold, playing a cello-playing teenager whom Geraldine James, as Rose, mistakenly believed to be her long-lost daughter. 'It was brilliant,' recalls Jane. 'It was so well written.' The chance to play Sophie in Emmerdale- on which her father, David McDermott, was once a set designer - came along when Jane was auditioning for another part at Yorkshire Television.
Apart from the shenanigans of the Tates, an early storyline for Jane was Sophie getting drunk and spending a night with Butch Dingle. 'She couldn't handle the drink!' says Jane. 'With the Tates, Sophie originally didn't say anything out of order. But she didn't enjoy working there with Chris and gradually began standing up for herself and saying, "This isn't fair on James." It wasn't a very pleasant job, but she has always loved the baby.'