How did you land your part in One Foot?
I was sent the first script to read, thought it was brilliant, and went to meet the director. He explained he'd admired my work in the past and thought I'd be perfect for the part of Victor's poor wife. Little did I know how iconic the character would become.
What inspired you to become an actress in the first place?
At the age of 11 I was in a small play and I just couldn't believe how easy and enjoyable it as. My mother always wanted me to do music, you see, but that was far more difficult because you had to do scales and things like that. But just getting onto a stage and pretending to be someone else was a doddle, so I decided that's what I wanted to do.
How did you feel filming the final episode of One Foot?
I felt regretful. I was sorry it had to finish, but I understood why the director thought its time had come. When you're writing comedy it can become a millstone – everybody's expecting the next one not to be as good as the last. We wanted to end it before it out-stayed its welcome, and we wanted to go out memorably.
Your part in Calendar Girls required you to appear nude for the first time in your career. Was that daunting?
Well, it was only my top half and these days you can go to a beach half-naked and nobody even raises an eyebrow. I enjoyed the experience, and I got off fairly lightly compared to the others in the film! The main reason I did it was because I thought it was a truly poignant story.
Do you have any actor idols?
When I was growing up I used to idolise actresses like Edith Evans and Flora Robson, who you don't hear much about now but they were huge in their day. Those were the ones who really made me think, "Wow, I want to be like them."
What's been the highlight of your career so far?
I don't want to sound boring, but it's always the job I'm doing at the time - every role is a highlight. Television is wonderful but I particularly love working in theatre because of the thrill of performing in front of a live audience.