Jason Watkins made a heartbreaking appearance on Loose Women on Thursday to talk about the tragic death of his two-year-old daughter, Maude. The 52-year-old BAFTA winner sat down with the panel to talk about his devastating loss, and also raise awareness of sepsis, which claimed her young life. Maude passed away six years ago. At first, Jason and his wife Clara Francis, believed she had the flu – and when that didn't clear up they took her to the GP, and later twice to A&E, by which time was struggling to breathe. Jason recalled that on New Year's Eve 2010, the family were sent home from hospital, and Clara put Maude down to bed. The next morning, the couple's other daughter came in to tell them she couldn't wake her sibling.
VIDEO: Jason gets emotional as he speaks to the Loose Women
Jason's poignant and emotional account struck a chord with the studio audience, the panel – Andrea McLean, Jane Moore, Janet Street-Porter and Saira Khan - and TV viewers. He later shockingly revealed that the family only discovered Maude had sepsis six months after her death, when the inquest took place, and warned that sepsis lurks under other presenting symptoms – which, for Maude, were breathing difficulties and a chest infection.
As she extended her sympathies to Jason, Janet revealed that her husband had also tragically lost one of his children, and in the aftermath found it difficult to even be in the same room as another child. Jason agreed that the death of a child hits particularly hard, and recalled an instance when he was in the park waiting for Clara and the couple's other daughter, when he spotted a little girl who looked exactly like Maude. He quickly managed to distract his wife before she could see the child, aware of the incredibly painful and powerful impact that would have on her. Jason further explained that both he and Clara have taken comfort in campaigning for awareness of sepsis, and helping others who have also suffered child bereavement.
Jason pictured with his wife, Clara Francis
The Line of Duty star – who won a BAFTA for his lead role in The Lost Honour of Christopher Jefferies – and his wife have also found a poignant way to honour their late child. Jason has a prominent tattoo on his left forearm which spells out Maude's name, and jewellery designer Clara has the same tattoo on her right arm. "When we hold hands, we like to think Maude is right there with us," he previously told the Guardian.