Series 4 of The Good Karma Hospital is back on our screens for a fourth series starring Amanda Redman, who plays Dr Lydia Fonseca. Although set in the southern Indian state of Kerala, the medical drama is actually filmed on the island of Sri Lanka. The location is one of great beauty but for Amanda Redman, the loveliness of the Sri Lankan people is just as enchanting as the landscape. If not more so.
“Quite simply, they are the most joyful and loving people I’ve ever met,” she says. “They have so very little materially and yet they give off such feelings of hope and positivity. I found their kindness to be off the scale – so much so, I ended up in tears."
Amanda says she thinks we have a lot to learn from the Sri Lankan way of life.
“There’s a fantastic acceptance and positivity surrounding things such as illness, death and the general hardness that is a part of life. The people there know you have to look for the good in absolutely everything, be grateful for what you do have, not take anything for granted and take life’s tough times on the chin. For them it’s like, ‘OK – this has happened, this is how we’re going to deal with it and get on with life’”.
“It’s a different attitude and mindset and, I think, a very refreshing one. In the West, we expect everything to be perfect and we take so much for granted. We’re very spoilt. Sri Lanka is a very spiritual place and this makes me feel very calm. These tranquil qualities do not take anything away from the grittiness of the stories we’re telling in The Good Karma Hospital, however. In fact, I think the lush settings juxtaposed against the often-tough, touch-and-go narratives make the drama all the more compelling.
“Fingers-crossed, the series is going down well with viewers. We’d all love to go back there to make another one.”
Friendship is of the utmost importance to Amanda.
“The trust and loyalty that true friends bring to each other is priceless,” she goes on. “You want to know that your friends have got your back – no matter what, that they won’t judge you and will keep your confidence. Humour is important, too. All my friends have these qualities, so I feel lucky about that.”
Amanda also feels she struck gold when she married her husband, designer Damien Schnabel, 12 years ago.
“I’m extremely lucky to be married to Damien,” she smiles. “In him, I have all the qualities I look for in a husband. He tells me I’m beautiful when I’m feeling rubbish, he’s kind, loyal, has a great sense of humour and is a wonderful cook. We bicker at times and take the mick out of each other, but there’s such deep love and enjoyment of each other, and companionship and the feeling of being a real team.
“Damian is my absolute rock and is always there for me, through thick and thin. As I am for him.”
Of course, we couldn’t let Amanda go, who’s currently 64, without asking what her secret is to her youthful looks.
"For me it's not just about looking good, it's about staying fit and healthy. I exercise - a lot - even though I don't like it much. I do at least five hours a week but it takes up a lot of time and it's not always to shoe-horn in."
She also watches what she eats to retain her envy-inducing figure, claiming to be a 'bit of a pig' at heart!
The Good Karma Hospital, **ITV**, Sundays, 8pm