To mark our latest ‘Local Celebs’ feature in the March issue, featuring the wonderful actress and author Linda Regan, we’re going with something a little bit different for this month’s blog feature – the full unabridged interview with the lady herself.
As we’re restricted by space in the magazine, we’ve got all the space we want on the blog, so here’s all that Linda had to say… Oh – and for all the mothers out there – Happy Mother’s Day!
How did you get into acting and writing?
My family were in show-business, on my father’s side, so I grew up surrounded by it. My first job was at about the age of five. My father performed a Punch and Judy show(among other jobs), at holiday camps in the summer. My job was inside the set passing up the puppets as they were needed. I was paid in donkey rides and ice-cream. I had always written, however as a child I could only write back to front. I would start at the bottom right-hand corner of the page, write to the left and then carry on zig-zagging from bottom to top. Understandably, it was hard to decipher what I had written. I hope I’ve improved since then!
What are some of the roles you have most enjoyed playing?
Ah, goodness. So many to choose from. I suppose playing Marilyn Monroe was a dream role. The play, The Legend, written by David Butler, told the story of the end of the screen goddesses’ life and her struggle with drug addiction, with flashbacks to her magical moments. I got to wear the long gold dress (well a replica of), and sing Happy Birthday to Bobby Kennedy, (the actor playing him). And also to wear the famous white dress that the wind blew around her making the iconic picture. I also loved playing Lady Macbeth. I think she is the best of all Shakespeare’s women and a gift of a role. TV wise, I did a series for Channel five called Harry and Cosh where I played Harry’s Mum. We did five years of that. Harry’s Mum was quirky and motherly and comical. Another gift of a role.
Who do you admire in the industry?
Mostly everyone. It is a hard career, and takes tenacity. But I have various favourite performers. I love Kathy Ryan, and I adore Judy Dench in everything she does. I am a big fan of Richard Curtis’ writing, and I strongly admire all soap actors, they work around the clock, learning lines and making their character changes work.
Any close calls?
Many. Here’s one I’ll never forget: When I played the lead in the West End in Dirty Linen, the Tom Stoppard play, one saturday evening performance with a full house, one of the actors I was playing a scene with dropped his top teeth. Instead of coughing, or turning away and removing them tactfully, he chose to carry on speaking with his top teeth slowly slipping, so they protruded from his lips. He would then suck them back into his mouth as the dialogue continued, only to have them slowly slide through his lips again. This carried on through the whole performance, and ashamedly, neither myself nor any of the other actors in the show could contain our giggling. I actually nearly wet myself. We all got a very strong telling off after the play had finished.
Where do you get your Inspiration from?
Oh, I have no idea. Just my own head. I must have a very strange mind. I do like to add a bit of comedy to my strong thrillers, and my comedy gene I inherited from my father.
What celebrity friends have you got on speed dial?
Ah, now that would be telling. I will let you into a secret though. I am the proud owner of a personalised, signed photo of Sooty. We once shared a dress room.
What are your favourite things to watch?
I love East Enders. I think the acting is superb, and the story lines well researched. I am an obsessive Strictly fan. I get withdrawal symptoms after Christmas when I know I have to wait a year. I love Would I lie to you, and I am always up to challenge myself in Pointless and The Chase.
What books do I read?
I read widely. I love police procedural thrillers, psychological thrillers too. I adore chic-lit, and I reread the classics. My favourite author is Jilly Cooper.
When you are not writing or learning lines, what do you do?
My favourite pastime is walking my much-loved Tibetan terrier in Farnborough Village. So much open space, and so peaceful behind that beautiful church. I also love yoga. I try to do three classes a week.
Do you have any other hobbies?
Only reading, and cooking for my husband (actor Brian Murphy) who never stops eating and never puts on weight.
What is your advice for anyone who wants to get into acting and writing?
Work hard. Don’t get disheartened. If you get rejected, don’t take it personally. It is only their opinion, not everyone’s. Keep trying until someone says yes.
What’s next for you?
I have a new book coming out this year. Acting wise, it is very quiet, and a lot is on hold, due to Covid. I have plenty in the pipeline, but nothing solid at this moment.
What do you like about Life in Orpington magazine?
I love all the adverts. If I am looking for someone to do a job, or a restaurant, I know I will find the information in there. I love the What’s On this month, page. The magazine is concise too, no waste in it and all about the borough.
What do you most like about living in the borough of Bromley?
It is my home. I went to school here, and lived in the borough since childhood. When I am away working, and have been in the past, for months on end, in seasons of repertory theatre or filming, I always look forward to coming home. There are great shopping centres here. You can get anything. The Glades. The Walnut Centre. A fabulous choice in restaurants. I particularly love having lunch or tea, or breakfast in The Drawing Room,café, in Locksbottom. We are also very lucky to have such a top-class hospital, The Princess Royal University Hospital, with top surgeons and doctors. There are country pubs a plenty nearby, and so many green spaces, all so near excellent transport links to London. Who could wish for more? I love Kent. I would never want to be anywhere else in the world!
A huge thank you to Linda for the interview – and you may be hearing more from her soon!
Meanwhile, we’re still appealing for ‘Friends’ of the magazine to come forward and offer a helping hand in distributing the issues. If you think you can help in delivering them in your neighbourhood, please call 07403-550068 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
As usual, we’ll leave you with an inspiring quote, quite apt for spring…
“You must prune to bloom. If the dead weight is not pruned and removed, it compromises the quality, performance, and output of the vine. When you prune what’s not working in your life, you make the space and place for renewal to happen and for new growth to spring forth.”
— Susan C. Young
Until next month, take care!