I found myself in the doldrums in the early Nineties. I was too old to play the dolly bird any longer and I looked too young to play a woman of my real age. No one ever saw me as the aunt, mother or grandmother.
I have had the most wonderful time on ‘EastEnders’ and I will miss you all. The show has changed my life and I want you all to continue the good work, because I’ll be at home watching you.
I don’t have any regrets about not having kids. I’ve just never had those maternal feelings. I am a nurturer by nature, but I nurture adults: my friends, the people I work with. I don’t want to nurture children.
I am not like my image; I take my work so seriously. Everyone thinks I just bounce in, but I study and everything has to be just right.
Jessie Wallace was the first time I erupted. She was late, she was young. She’s not like that any more. I lost my temper. It was silly and I burst into tears and ran up to the producer. I said I had been terrible and amateur.
The beautiful thing is that ageism just doesn’t exist on ‘EastEnders.’ The show saved me.
I’ve been incredibly lucky. I’ve worked in two iconic shows, ‘Carry On’ and ‘EastEnders.’ If it all ended tomorrow – and it could – I’d just be terribly grateful. I’ve been fortunate enough to do what I love and get paid for it.
I miss ‘EastEnders.’ I loved it. But I was exhausted when I left. They asked me to go back recently – they’ve asked a few times. I am tempted! But my husband Scott says you have to really think about it. Because, towards the end, I was so exhausted and not sleeping at night. I’m not quite ready for it.
I check all my props, everything. Acting is something I love. I have done it since I was 13 but it had completely taken over my life absolutely.
‘EastEnders’ has been wonderful to me and it’s no secret that it changed my life all of those years ago. I’ll be so sad to leave Peggy behind; she’s such a wonderful character to play. I have had the pleasure of working with a marvelous cast and crew and have made many lasting good friends.
I am aware that I look good for my age. It’s my genes. My dad looked incredibly young, so did my mother. And a younger husband helps. Scott is only 45. If he hadn’t come along, I don’t know what I’d have done.