Jason Watkins, an English actor best known for his TV roles in The Catch, McDonald & Dodds, The Crown, and Des, and his wife, jewellery and fashion designer Clara Fracis, open up about the death of their daughter in a new ITV documentary.
Jason & Clara: In Memory of Maudie features the couple as they discuss the tragic and unexpected death of their daughter Maudie more than a decade ago. The documentary comes as the couple are about to move out of the flat where they have lived since before Maudie was born.
Jason, who has two other children, Bessie and Gilbert, with Clara, and two sons, Freddie and Pip, from his first marriage to actress Caroline Harding, said that he felt apprehensive about making the documentary, but ultimately wanted to do something to help other people who are dealing with the loss of a child.
In the one-hour special, Jason and Clara are seen having therapy together for the first time, and meeting other parents who have lost children.
What happened to Maudie Watkins?
Jason and Clara’s daughter, Maudie Watkins, was born in 2008 and tragically died at two years old, on New Year’s Day 2011. Jason and Clara had noticed that Maudie was unwell and took her to A and E two days in a row, however doctors diagnosed her with croup - a common childhood that causes a barking cough and normally gets better on its own - and told them to take the infant home.
Maudie passed away at home and was found to have died of undiagnosed sepsis, a condition where the body overreacts to an infection, causing inflammation and in some cases organ failure and death. If left untreated, sepsis can kill an infected person in as little as 12 hours.
Jason and Clara appeared on Good Morning Britain to discuss the need to raise awareness of sepsis. On the programme, they said that they blamed themselves for not doing more to keep their daughter in hospital. Jason said: "It's hard for us as parents, that's one of the painful things, 'Did we do everything we could have?’
“It's easy to blame yourself and I still do because I was there when she was discharged the second time."
What has Jason Watkins said about his daughter?
Since Maudie’s death, Jason has become a campaigner for raising greater awareness of sepsis, how to spot it and when to seek treatment. He is also a patron of Child Bereavement UK, a charity which helps support for children who are grieving, and families affected by the death of a child.
Jason won the Bafta for Leading Actor for his role in the biopic series The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies in 2015. In his acceptance speech, he dedicated the award to his daughter - he said “I’m going to share this with our daughter who we lost … and if there is a reason why I am standing here it is because of our Maudie, so thank you.”
When is In Memory of Maudie on TV?
In Memory of Maudie will air on ITV at 9pm on Thursday 30 March - it is a one-part special. The episode will be available to watch on ITVX after it is first broadcast.