The 5-minute Interview: Josephine Tewson, Actress

'I hate the rubbish on the Tube'


Tewson, 68, has appeared in popular comedies since the 1970s but is best known as the nervous neighbour Elizabeth Warden in '
Keeping up Appearances'. From this week, she stars in Louise Page's play '
Salonika' at the West Yorkshire Playhouse until 16 February.

If I weren't talking to you right now I'd be ...

Downstairs rehearsing.

A phrase I use far too often ...

Given half a chance I never stop talking but I don't think I repeat myself.

I wish people would take more notice of ...

Rubbish on the Tube. An American friend was horrified. There are bits of free newspaper all over the place. If I'm not in a hurry I'll pick up litter and put it in a bin.

The most surprising thing that happened to me was ...

When Ronnie Barker offered me a role in Clarence. If you're Julia Roberts or Judi Dench you expect people to write parts for you but not little old me.

A common misperception of me is ...

That I am just like the characters that I play.

I am not a politician but ...

I hate injustice. If I don't think things are fair I get very cross. I'm furious that the Arts Council has cut their funding to so many organisations.

The ideal night out is ...

Seeing Patrick Stewart in the Unmentionable Scottish Play. Or a classical concert, preferably with Bernard Haitink conducting Shostakovich, or Benjamin Britten. Followed by a nice meal at Rules.

I'm good at ...

I've been told I'm a good company member. That's my favourite method of working.

I'm very bad at ...

Modern things. I only have a mobile phone because someone gave me one and told me it would be useful if I broke down for calling the AA. I've learnt to get messages off it.

In moments of weakness, I ...

Eat. I have to be careful what's in the fridge.

You know me as an actor but in another life I'd have been ...

My father was a musician and I think that if we hadn't moved around so much because of the war I would have learnt an instrument. If I hadn't got into Rada I would have read English at Durham and who knows what would have happened.

The best age to be is ...

In your 40s. By then you've got over your nervousness.

In a nutshell, my philosophy is:

Keep balanced; especially in this business.

Cormac Bakewell

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