Interestingly, despite my last post being about “I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here” the comments to it digressed into a discussion about the BBC’s new period drama, Cranford and, more specifically, about England’s finest actress (in my opinion), Julia Sawalha... which just goes to show that when faced with a mountain of crap most people determinedly turn their backs on it and reach for something excellent instead.
Good on you, people.
Ever eager to capitalize on whatever topic of interest floats my reader’s boats I thought I might compose a small paean to Julia as I’ve been a huge fan of hers since her Press Gang days.
Press Gang, for those of you who don’t know, was mislabelled a kid’s programme back in the late eighties / nineties and was broadcast on ITV during their after school tea-time slot and was probably the finest scripted programme on television at the time. It was where Doctor Who / Jekyll writer Steven Moffat first cut his television writer’s teeth and certainly the scripts abound with enthusiasm, energy and movement. Which is not to say they ever descend into cheap candyfloss frippery and “zany” kid-world fantasy.
The scripts were cutting, sharp, breath-takingly funny and sometimes surprisingly harrowing in the choice of subjects covered. It was the one kid’s programme that refused to patronize its viewers and as a consequence is still head and shoulders above much of the TV guff that is thrown at children even today.
Julia played the formidable Lynda Day and for her first big TV role put in a performance so confident and self-assured it had Jennifer Saunders and Andrew Davies, to name but two, knocking her door down to offer her parts in projects they themselves were working on. I’m glossing over a huge swathe of biographical detail here but you get the picture. I believe the expression is: a star was born.
Since then Julia has appeared in dozens of period dramas – a period drama is now no longer believable unless Julia appears in it – Jonathan Creek, Faith In The Future and provided voice overs for plasticine chickens in Nick Park’s Chicken Run... and loads more besides.
You’ll notice I am staunchly refusing to make jokes about stuffing birds, or asking if anyone would care for a leg or a breast. I am above such things.
Anyway, despite a career spanning a good 20 years Julia has always retained a freshness and vitality that positively shines out of her whenever she appears on TV. She’s a class actress and it’s a real delight to see her in Cranford (and back being a brunette – I never cared for the blonde look she adopted in Jonathan Creek) though as TimeWarden pointed out in his comments to the previous post, she is now alas “looking older”... but is that necessarily a bad thing? She looks good, she looks natural and she is (according to the Radio Times) no longer living in the smoke and druggery of London but is immersing herself in the wilds of Somerset – immersing herself in a greener and healthier lifestyle, growing veggies and taking an English degree.
Exactly like me in fact. Except I’m not growing veggies, or living in Somerset, am not female and am not a class actress. And I can’t fill out a corset half as well as she can.
But I am a brunette. Totally natural, you know.
Enough! God bless you Julia! You’re great, you are.
Right. Gushing over. What can I moan and snipe miserably about now...?