‘I am so glad the BBC has decided at last to do love stories about people over 35,” Anne Reid said at the recent BAFTA awards ceremony, accepting the ‘Best Drama Series’ award for Last Tango in Halifax.
In a world which has been criticised for kneeling at the altar of youth, Anne seems to demonstrate in many of her career roles that people do not stop having a zest for life just because they hit a certain age.
And, according to Anne, it looks like there will be a second series of the show which focuses on a love story between two old friends who meet again years after losing touch. Her one condition is that its filming does not conflict with her latest project, a solo cabaret show she is taking to The Stables theatre in Wavendon on Sunday at 8pm.
She explained: “Ever since I was small I had fantasies about singing. When I got a part in Coronation Street, I did nothing about it. It is something I have wanted to do forever. I love it better than anything else but it is scary, you have to have the bottle to stand up there on your own. It is a gentle evening, but there are outstanding songs.”
Accompanied by her musical director, award-winning pianist Stuart Hutchinson, the show, entitled In A New Key, focuses on celebrating song, nostalgia and humour.
Her solo show may be fulfilling early ambitions but, as a child, Anne’s early career hopes also involved ice skating.
“I wanted, as I say in cabaret, to be a dancer or an ice skater. Then I went to boarding school and had elocution lessons. I had to learn bits of plays and the teacher discovered me and said ‘you have to be an actress’. I remember standing next to a girl at school and her being asked what she wanted to be. She said ‘I’m going to be an actress’ and I thought ‘I can act rings around you, I’m going to be an actress’.”
Although some may be surprised at Anne’s step into the world of solo cabaret, her career has always been varied. She veers away from talking a great deal about the nine years she spent playing Ken Barlow’s wife, Val, in Coronation Street (her character died having been electrocuted by a hairdryer), simply saying: “I had been there for far too long.”
But there is plenty more to ask her about, not least her time spent in Victoria Wood’s Dinnerladies or the enviable part she played as the object of Daniel Craig’s lust in The Mother.
Speaking about The Mother, Anne said: “It was about the fact that older women still want sex. I talked to a lot of older women in their 60s and some had affairs, some were with husbands. You don’t stop fancying guys when you get older, the problem is that they don’t fancy you.”
But what was the secret to Last Tango’s success?
“People come up to you and say ‘Oh I loved that’, sometimes it takes them a minute to remember the detail, but they seem to be hooked on it. People are sick of murders, cops and robbers and hospital dramas. I think people just like, as my mum used to say, a good yarn. Also they like to see that people in their 70s are still having a good time.” For booking details, see www.stables.org