Saturday 24 August 2019

Why I will no longer take parts where my character dies – Anne Reid

The former Coronation Street star met a famously grisly end as Valerie Barlow in 1971.

Anne Reid stars in Years And Years (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)
Anne Reid stars in Years And Years (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

By Alex Green, Press Association

Actress Anne Reid has said she has started refusing roles where her character dies because “it’s depressing enough getting old”.

The 83-year-old – best known for playing Valerie Barlow in Coronation Street and Celia Dawson in Last Tango In Halifax – stars in Russell T Davies’ latest BBC drama, Years And Years.

She said she took the part without reading the script but was pleased to discover her character survived the entire series.

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Years And Years star Dame Emma Thompson at the Extinction Rebellion demonstration (Jonathan Brady/PA)

Barlow, her character in Coronation Street, met a famously grisly end when she was electrocuted by a hairdryer with a faulty plug in 1971.

Years And Years, which also stars Dame Emma Thompson, follows the Lyons family as they attempt to survive the future when Britain is rocked by unstable political, economic and technological advances.

Reid told the Radio Times: “Well, it’s Russell T Davies, darling. I accepted the role without having read it, so I was delighted when I saw how amazing the scripts were.

“And I was very relieved not to be dying in it. I won’t do roles where I die any more, because it’s depressing enough getting old.

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The cast of Years And Years at the BFI and Radio Times Television Festival in London (Kirsty O’Connor/PA)

“I try to play life-affirming parts. And Muriel is a pretty life-affirming lady.”

Alongside Dame Emma, the series also stars Russell Tovey, Rory Kinnear, Jessica Hynes, T’Nia Miller and Ruth Madeley.

Tovey plays Daniel while Kinnear plays Daniel’s brother Stephen, a financial adviser and the family’s peacekeeper who is married to Celeste, played by Miller, an ambitious and opinionated accountant.

Reid said her on-screen family had looked after her “like a grandmother”.

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Anne Reid at the TV Choice Awards (Ian West/PA)

She added: “They’re a lovely bunch. I find actors usually are. There aren’t many pillocks.

“You meet the occasional ones, but on Years And Years they were all very nice to me and looked after me, well, like a grandmother.”

She also voiced concern about climate change and the future of the planet, themes dealt with in the show.

“It’s all going to the dogs,” she said.

“It’s frightening that it feels like nobody cares about the planet. That’s the big issue.

“The politicians – God, what a mess we’re in at the moment – will come and go. But the planet, we’ve got to look after that.”

The full interview is in this week’s Radio Times.

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