'Such bad taste' Vera's Brenda Blethyn details 'awful' acting role


Brenda Blethyn began her career as an actress when she was 27 after she realised her love of the theatre and appearing on stage. The 76-year-old, who had been a typist for 10 years, landed her first role on stage by accident. Despite only having one line to say, the DCI Stanhope star got the acting bug and wanted to do more, so she decided to join a drama school.

Brenda may be a familiar face for her role in Vera, but before that, she appeared in several stage productions.

Discussing the beginning of her career in the theatre, the 76-year-old began: “I got to play all the ingenue parts and as with anything, the more you do, the better you get.

“And people started to say, ‘You know what, Brenda, you could be a professional.'”

“And I said, ‘Oh, don’t be so silly,’ and they said, ‘You should go to drama school.'”

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The actress continued: “And I said, ‘What give up my job to pursue a hobby?’ and the more people that said it, I secretly thought, ‘I just love working in this theatre, I wonder if I could do it.’

“So without telling anybody, I applied to Guildford School of Acting, and I went along to audition and they offered me a place which was was wonderful.”

When Brenda began drama school, she went to stay with her eldest brother and his wife.

She admitted the only reason she went to acting school was to appear on stage.

“It was a musical about Jack the Ripper if you can believe that,” the actress said in an interview with the University of Kent.

“There was one awful, awful lyric and I had a single song…I was a tart.”

After singing the verse she had to sing in the musical, the Vera star added: “Isn’t it awful? Such bad taste.”

Brenda also landed her first movie role in 1996 in a film called Secrets and Lies directed by Mike Leigh.

She played a character called Cynthia, however, she went on to say not every scene went to plan.

“I mean sometimes things go wrong,” the actress said. “I remember an improvisation with myself and Timothy Spall.

“We were sat in Cynthia’s flat and I came up on the telly.

“It was something else,” she laughed. “I came up in a commercial. I mean what can you do in those situations?”

Vera is expected to air on ITV later this year.


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