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Louise Jameson Interview

Lifestyle | Interview

Louise Jameson as she appears in Nobody's Fool and inset as Leela in Doctor Who

The first time I saw Louise Jameson I was crouching petrified behind the sofa, watching her on Doctor Who, writes Bob Hillier.

Thankfully, nearly 30 years later our re-acquaintance was a more relaxed affair.

Louise Jameson has undertaken a variety of roles since she first appeared as the Doctor’s attractive if deadly assistant Leela, but she has used her acting roots to ensure she has always been in work.

In fact you could say she is nobody’s fool. She appears in the play of the same name at the Key Theatre from Monday.

When I rang Louise on my mobile to arrange the interview, the Doctor Who theme immediately raised its head. She said: “The reception is awful. You sound like you are a Dalek!”

Speaking of her role as the estranged wife in Simon Williams’ (who also stars) comedy play, Nobody’s Fool, she said: “I think I was first choice for the part. I don’t know – that’s what they always tell you anyway. I didn’t have to do any audition for the part. Sam (Simon Williams) saw me in Dinner and the whole thing slipped into place.”

Nobody’s Fool, which comes to Peterborough this week, has just over a month to run. Louise is then off to Eastbourne for the panto season to appear as Fairy Bow-Bells in Dick Whittington. This will be her fourth panto season – her third since leaving the BBC soap Eastenders.

After Christmas she plans to work in the West End to star alongside Joe Pasquale in Tom, Dick and Harry. She has appeared in many plays including Sex Wars, Corpse and Ghost Train. She said: “I’ve been on the road for four years.” As for the Key Theatre she said: “I won’t recognise the place again, until I walk out on stage.”

Living out of a suitcase is not ideal for a balanced work - life mix. Louise, who has two sons said: “It definitely puts a strain on family life – I miss them like mad. Being a working mother I’ve been juggling house and career from day one. I want to hold out for telly for the second half of the year.”

Louise has a production company with partner David Warwick. She said: “I’m hopefully touring with Colin Baker next year in Perfect Strangers. I have performed with Sylvia Simms in poetry and music evenings. I would love to do those for the rest of my career – they are so fun and witty.”

So what was it like working with the other Baker, Tom, in Doctor Who? She said: “Tom is the most eccentric person I have ever worked with. We get on very well and I am most impressed with how he can hold an audience in the palm of his hand. He was incredibly good as Dr Who. He brought all his eccentricities to the role and was so charismatic and charming. He must be the fans firm favourite.

As for the BBC’s much awaited resurrection of the famous science fiction series, she said: “It’s about time I’d say. The whole Doctor Who thing was a lifeline to the business for me at times in the form of personal appearances and voiceovers on DVDs and videos. I’m still part of the business and I’m very, very grateful to Doctor Who for that. I would love to go back as Leela in this new series.”

Louise also has fond memories of the Japanese Prisoner of War drama series Tenko. She said: “It was an extremely busy time in my life. Tenko was written by women, for women, which was virtually unheard of in the 1980’s. It was high profile, ground breaking stuff. I had both my babies then.” Sadly, her mother also died at this time.

The friendships Louise made during the filming of Tenko still remain strong. She said: “It was such an intense and extraordinary time for me. The Tenko cast had such a hard-core sisterhood, which still exists. There’s six of us who meet up regularly and chat on the phone once a week.”

Co-incidentally, Director Pennant Roberts hired Louise for both Dr Who and Tenko. She said: “Pennant gave me the roles of both Leela and Blanche Simmons in Tenko. I’m very grateful for him for that.”

Louise’s experience of television is not all good, however. She has bad memories over her exit from the BBC’s Eastenders as Rosa Demarco three years ago. She candidly said: “They handled it very badly. It was disappointing and very humiliating. John York (the then producer) was very rude. He never consulted with me over what he said to the press. In every other series I was involved in it was discussed with great tact and tenderness. I was in Emmerdale and I was killed off and that was handled well.”

Typically, Louise remained positive and bounced back to use her soap profile to find work in the theatre. She said: ”I’m quite grateful to the BBC. They helped me back onto the touring circuit.” She admits that she has no time to sit down and watch television herself. She said: “I never watch TV. I’m a Radio Four addict. I love listening to music too.”

Louise has some advice for anyone considering an acting career. She said: “They must have a feeling of do or die. It is such an overcrowded profession. I cannot understate the ability to handle classical texts such as Shakespeare.”

Will Louise’s sons Harry and Tom follow her onto the stage? She says:  “My youngest has potential, but he’s trying to be a chef, while my oldest is a personal trainer." However, there was never any doubt Louise would become an actress. She said: “I would maybe have been a homeopath or some sort of healer or even a pianist. But from age four I knew I was going to act. It was predestined really.

Nobody’s Fool opens on Monday October 18 and runs until Saturday October 23 at Peterborough’s Key Theatre. It also stars Coronation Street's Chloe Newsome and Joanna Van Gysegham from Duty Free.

To make a booking call the box office on 01733 552439.

October 2004




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