The Split writer explains why they killed off much-loved character ‘Got to f**k it up’

The Split: Trailer for season 3 of BBC divorce drama

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WARNING: The following article contains spoilers from The Split season 3.

Hannah Defoe (played by Nicola Walker) was struggling with her decision to husband Nathan (Stephen Mangan) in the opening episode of season three. However her heartache over Nathan finding love again was overshadowed when her sister Rose (Fiona Button) learned her husband James (Rudi Dharmalingam) had been killed in a hit and run accident.

James’ death came the same day as he argued with Rose over whether they should go ahead with their plans to adopt.

Rose was hesitant but James told her they needed to live life and not sit around waiting for something to happen.

As the Defoe family celebrated Hannah’s daughter Liv’s (Elizabeth Roberts) return from her travels, Fiona waited for her husband to turn up.

Sadly he never made it as a friend of Hannah’s called to say James was in A&E following a car accident.

Speaking about why she chose to kill off James, writer Abi said she was sad to see him go but it was necessary for the story.

She told press including “I mean it was so hard actually because Rudi’s such a wonderful actor.

“In fact, I really loved the chemistry between the two of them.

“You know I’ve had some really quite major life changes over the last three or four years and they’ve been the sweetener to life and they’ve made me really realise that life is short and not a rehearsal.”

Abi continued: “To kill a much-loved character, it’s always hard but I felt in a way, the arc of his journey, one of the last things he says is ‘I don’t want to miss life Rose.’

“I thought if that’s what the audience is left with then what an amazing gift to have left everybody. So I guess that was the point.”

Further defending her writing, Abi added: “I mean, I really loved that actor, I really hope I get to work with him again and it was really wonderful seeing Rudi with Fiona [Button], they are just so lovely together.

“But then the other thing is, it’s a drama and I’ve got to f**k it up a bit.

“You don’t want to watch for three couples when it’s all okay.”

She laughed: “I just ran out of ideas basically and it just felt like, okay it works, let’s try it, and it did.

“Hats off to Dee [Koppang O’Leary] in that stunt because we were all catching our heads like, ‘Seriously?’

“It still makes you slightly jump out of your seat when it happens in the simplest of ways. I think it’s a brilliant Dee moment.”

Meanwhile, explaining why the series will end with season three, Abi remarked: “I think it’s like the end of any good relationship, it’s conflicted! I feel really happy and proud and excited to be showing this final series.

“I always intended it to be this three-arc structure, that was about the legacy of a marital split that permeates Hannah’s life, and then that triggers her own split within her own relationship, and then subsequent split in her marriage.

“Now it comes to it though, the hardest thing is letting go of the characters and the alchemy of that collaboration of actors.”

The Split airs Monday on BBC One at 9pm and is available to watch on BBC iPlayer now.

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