Star of BBC spoof W1A Jason Watkins has opened up about losing his two-year-old daughter four years ago. The actor, who plays the BBC Director General's assistant Simon Harwood in the satirical comedy series, has spoken about the tragic circumstances surrounding Maude's death on New Year's Day in 2011.
"I found Maude dead in her bed one morning," an emotional Jason told the Telegraph. "She had flu but she died of sepsis. It was around the time of the winter vomiting bug and we took her to hospital twice but her flu symptoms masked the sepsis and she went undiagnosed."
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Jason (right) with his W1A co-star Hugh Bonneville
Inconsolable, Jason enlisted the help of a barrister friend to examine Maude's medical records to find out it anyone could have acted to save her, although the subsequent inquest into the youngster's death concluded that nothing more could have been done.
"You don't think you're ever going to get out of bed in the morning," said Jason. "The grief is so all-consuming you can barely begin to parent the children you do have. You don't believe you will recover, but somehow you do; the trauma heals but the loss never does."
Jason and his jewellery designer wife Clara
Jason, who has two teenage sons Freddie and Pip from a previous marriage as well as daughter Bessie with his current wife Clara, went on to have son Gilbert after Maude's passing.
The couple, who live in Camden, say that they owe much of their recovery to North London self-help group SLOW: Surviving the Loss of your World.
"After the death of a child, work has more of a purpose," said Jason, adding of his ongoing supermarket-based comedy Trollied: "Financial security makes all the difference. Trollied enables me to take my family on holiday and make good memories."