Alison Steadman: 'A gang of lads saw me and shouted "Pamela!" It really gave me a thrill'

 

I was proud to be involved in the first lesbian kiss on TV It was in 1974 in a BBC play called Girl, with Myra Frances, and it got a lot of reaction at the time. Then, when Brookside came on years later, people said "Ooh, Anna Friel did this kiss with another woman, and it was the first time on TV." And I'm like, no, actually it was me!

I thought I'd never top 'Abigail's Party' [the award-winning film, in which Steadman starred as a monstrous suburban housewife], particularly when even now, 35 years on, people say to me they're still watching it. But then Gavin & Stacey came along. I was in my car at the lights a few months ago and a gang of lads pulled up next to me, saw me, and all started shouting "Pamela!" and cheering. It really gave me a thrill.

Performing on stage is terrifying Each play I do, I worry that this is the one where the critics are going to say, "My god, this is awful, did she really think she could act?" Winning an Olivier for The Rise and Fall of Little Voice in 1993 did help to reduce that worry, but that confidence didn't last long.

Without empathy you can't fulfil life as a good human being My parents were lovely people and made me see things from others' perspectives. If you don't do that, that's how you can be cruel to others.

I try to live a plastic-free existence It's virtually impossible, though, as we are drowning in a sea of consumer plastic. I've stopped using shower gel and shampoo, as they come in plastic containers, and I just use soap. I email the supermarkets constantly to ask why they use all that packaging.

I was never one for going to concerts I went to one Rolling Stones concert and I was terrified as everyone was climbing over me to get closer to the front. In the 1960s everyone used to go mad at a gig – they go mad now, but not in the theatre-wrecking, climbing-up-the-balcony way they did back then.

It was exciting working with Tom Jones for my latest project. [King of the Teds] is a 30-minute drama and I'm starring in it with Brenda Blethyn and Tom. It was his first time acting so he was always looking to me, saying, "What do I do here? Do I get up and go over there now?" It's strange to be in position where you're guiding Tom Jones. He's quiet off stage, but after a day or so he started chatting about his amazing life, saying, "When I met Elvis..." which was brilliant.

I love insects particularly those harmless little silverfish, that come up your pipe into the bath. If only you knew what a marvel they are, you wouldn't stamp on them; did you know they have this amazing three-phase courtship? But the sad thing is, though they're harmless, when you Google them, the first thing that's comes up is how to kill them.

Alison Steadman, 65, is an English stage and screen actor. She appears in the half-hour drama 'King of the Teds', part of the Playhouse Presents series, on Sky Arts 1 on Thursday at 9pm (sky.com/arts)

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events business) - Central Manchester - £20K

£18000 - £20000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Assistant (Events busi...

Recruitment Genius: Project Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This privately-owned company designs and manuf...

Recruitment Genius: Human Resources Officer

£22000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen at th...

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - London - £40,000 + Bonus

£36000 - £40000 per annum + Bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Day In a Page

NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own