Entertainment

Corrie star Maureen Lipman on being a maneater and turning heads of young men


Maybe it’s the sausage she sticks in her bra, but Coronation Street’s ­Maureen Lipman still thinks she’s a maneater – until she remembers she’s no longer in her 30s.

The 74-year-old television favourite is a mother of two and a granny but like many folk of a certain age, forgets what she looks like and thinks she can still turn the heads of young men.

Maureen, who pops sausage or liver in her bra or pockets while filming with her Weatherfield co-star, Cerberus the greyhound, laughed and said: “I can’t quite believe I’m in my 70s – I certainly don’t feel it.

“My face might be descending slightly south but I honestly think that all the young men around me think I’m 36 – that I’m a ‘slightly older’ woman – because that’s how I feel.

“You walk into a room and you think you’re going to have the same effect you always had… or maybe never had.

Maureen Lipman on Gogglebox

“Now that my hair is grey, I’ve never liked it better. I look at pictures of me with brown hair and dyed red and gold bits with regret. What was I thinking?”

Maureen enjoyed one of showbiz’s strongest relationships – marrying Corrie scriptwriter Jack Rosenthal, who also co-wrote the film Yentl with Barbra Streisand. He died of cancer in 2004 and Maureen found love again with Italian businessman Guido Castro.

But lockdown has meant as well as having to Zoom chat her ­grandkids, she has had to keep away from Guido, who she has been with for 12 years.

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She said: “I haven’t always been the best wife, mother or lover – I think I’m a bit hit and miss – but I recognise a good man when I see him.

“The secret to maintaining things is not letting go of the spark that brought you together.

“Guido and I have been apart recently – we couldn’t self-isolate together because of his health – but I feel lucky that we have that.”

Despite losing Jack, Maureen admitted she found it “almost impossible to grieve” because her nature is to make people laugh. She would then feel guilty for not grieving enough.

To make her feel better, she bought a car and then worried what people would think of her.

“I now know we all grieve in our own ways; there’s no right or wrong way,” she admitted although she still gets down around the May 29 ­anniversary of his death each year.

Maureen spoke to Prima magazine

Maureen has kept upbeat during lockdown by working on Celebrity Googlebox with her friend Gyles ­Brandreth but hasn’t been keeping the residents of Corrie in line as the ­formidable Evelyn Plummer.

Like all the rest of the UK’s soaps, Corrie closed down at the start of ­lockdown. Filming resumed earlier this month but bosses kept vulnerable actors at home amid the pandemic.

Maureen and the likes of William Roache, 88, who plays Ken Barlow, will have to wait until September to hit the cobbles again.

She is still best known as Beattie Bellman from BT’s 80s TV ads, in ­particular one in which her grandson calls to say he has failed all of his exams except pottery and sociology. “You get an ology and you’re a scientist,” Beattie replies.

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A new generation that knows nothing of Beattie is loving Maureen on Corrie.

She joined the soap her husband had written for in 2018, having appeared in the guest role of Lillian Spencer in 2002.

She said: “On my first day back, I was incredibly nervous. I learned my lines until I knew them by heart but I didn’t know how the rest of the cast would react to me.

“There’s always that feeling when you join something new that the regulars will be cheesed off that you’ve come.

“They have their jokes, they have their seats, then you arrive seeming a bit aloof because you’re actually more nervous than they know. It was a bit like going back to school.”

Maureen admitted she’d love to see more comedy from Evelyn but likes her strong plotlines especially as she fancies doing a proper drama.

She said: “I don’t have any plans to stop any time soon. I’d love to be in a drama series one day.

“I’ve been watching Call My Agent! on Netflix and I’m so full of envy. I won’t stop dreaming because you never know when it might happen.

“Look at someone like Fiona Shaw – she’s been in the business for years but it wasn’t until Killing Eve came along that she’s really been able to choose to do whatever she likes.”

Instead of a well-dressed assassin, Maureen gets to improvise with Corrie grandson Alan Halsall, who plays Tyrone Dobbs, and work with Cerberus.

Maureen is a mainstay on Coronation Street

She said: “He’s such a joy to work with. He leaves the set rather more than we’d like, so I constantly have sausages stuck in my bra.

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“When I put a cardigan on I haven’t worn for a while, I find myself taking liver out of the pockets.

“I adore dogs and have one of my own. She’s a rather neurotic basenji called Diva, who suffers from separation anxiety.

“When you take her for a walk, she coughs all the way. Right now, everyone thinks she’s got dog coronavirus. She hasn’t, she’s just a bit of an actress.”

Maureen has been entertaining us for 50 years, since her film debut in Up the Junction.

She has also appeared in films such as The Wildcats of St Trinian’s, Educating Rita, Carry on Columbus and The Pianist while on TV she’s popped up on Doctors at Large, The Sweeney, About Face, Doctor Who, Plebs and Skins.

She reckons the secret to her success is her “gift of the gab”.

In an interview for Prima she said: “I was never a pretty young thing. I got my dad’s nose, slightly squinting eyes and buck teeth (I had them fixed).

“So, after drama school, it was a ­question of convincing people to give me the jobs when they were expecting a blonde with pert breasts to walk in.

“I’ve never had that moment of, ‘Take your glasses off, Miss Jones. You’re ­beautiful and we’re taking you to ­Hollywood.’ I’ve doggedly worried away at things like a terrier – and here I am.”

● Read the full interview in Prima’s August issue out today.





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