wed 22/11/2017

theartsdesk Q&A: Actress Eileen Atkins | reviews, news & interviews

theartsdesk Q&A: Actress Eileen Atkins

theartsdesk Q&A: Actress Eileen Atkins

Fame has come late for this DBE, as has a role in Upstairs, Downstairs

Maud, Lady Holland may be upstairs, but Dame Eileen Atkins is much more downstairs

Eileen Atkins (b 1934) acquired long-overdue fame with her performance in the BBC adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell’s Cranford. Her desiccated spinster was the indisputed star turn until death did us part. It’s taken a while. Aside from half a century’s commitment to the classics and new plays, unlike the other more celebrated DBEs she has had a parallel career as a writer. There have been two plays about Virginia Woolf, as well as a screenplay of Mrs Dalloway. With Jean Marsh she also created Upstairs, Downstairs which is returning to British television in an updated revival. This time round Dame Eileen has consented to take the role of Maud, Lady Holland.

I had to get out of my childhood, I had to get out of Tottenham

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