McKenzie thrilled to be baddie
Julia McKenzie has admitted she was shocked to be asked to play a villainous character for once in the TV adaptation of JK Rowling's The Casual Vacancy.
The Miss Marple and Cranford actress is well known for her grandmotherly roles, but in the BBC One series she plays a spiteful social climber - and said she loved the change.
She revealed: "I was amazed I got the part. I'm normally offered something where I hold a duster in my hand, so it was nice to be offered a different sort of role."
The Casual Vacancy is set in a seemingly-idyllic country village that turns out to be a hotbed of simmering tensions beneath its perfect appearance, and Julia said that she had her own experience of how tricky life in a small community could be.
She said: "I lived in Burford in the Cotswolds for about 14 years. I can tell you there's a lot of politics in village life...
"For instance, there were some very, very nice, very wealthy people who wanted to provide a notice board in the village.
"The arguments about whether it should have a front of glass, should it be this side or that side... They gave up after about two-and-a-half years; they said, 'We don't want to buy it any more'."
:: The Casual Vacancy starts on BBC One on Sunday, February 15.