ACTING icon Maureen Lipman has taken aim at the likes of Line of Duty’s actors – saying they wouldn’t last five minutes on a soap like Coronation Street.
Dame Maureen, who plays Evelyn Plummer on the cobbles, said: “I challenge the Line of Duty or anyone else to do what the Coronation Street actors do week in, week out. They're virtually doing Whose Line Is It Anyway?”
Maureen first found fame as agony aunt Jane Lucas in the ITV sitcom Agony, which ran for two years from 1979.
Then in the 1980s her character in a series of BT adverts, Beatie Bellman, became a breakout star, spawning a book, You Got An Ology, based on one of her catchphrases.
Maureen first appeared in Coronation Street as snooty temporary pub landlady Lillian Spencer for six episodes in 2002. She then returned in August 2018, this time playing Evelyn, the long-lost grandma of Tyrone Dobbs.
Maureen has also been appearing on Channel 4’s Celebrity Gogglebox alongside her telly pal Gyles Brandreth.
It means she’s casting her eye over all manner of telly, including Naked Attraction, where hopefuls meet dates starkers.
But she has zero plans to retire, despite turning 75 in May. She said: “Since I became 70, I regularly get asked that. Believe me, the years go bloody fast, and you still feel exactly the same — I don’t understand why people don’t ask me to go out clubbing with them.
“I still love acting, I can’t wait to get my outfit on and do my work. I like being spotted in the street, even with a mask and a trilby on.
“I like people saying, ‘We love you in Corrie’, or ‘Why the hell are you in Corrie?’ The enthusiasm remains throughout your life.
“I’ve been doing the Saturday job with Gyles on Gogglebox and that’s a completely different kettle of fish. Every week we sit there and look at genitalia, basically, throughout the entire programme. It’s not my favourite, but Gyles and I have such a great time
"I think if you’re current — and current means being on television every week, so that’s Corrie and Gogglebox — if you’re different, then you do get asked to do quite a lot.”
One thing she has never tried is reality telly, so does a Strictly stint beckon, and has she been asked?
Maureen said: “I have, but I’m not good at taking criticism. I just know that if I was doing my best and people were not nice to me I would either cry or I would thump someone, and I’d really rather not thump someone on telly.
“I’m sure everyone has a lovely time, but underneath it I’m quite a sensitive soul and I’d find it quite upsetting.”
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