THE LAST WORD... ‘ I am the greatest mother. It’s given me motherhood’ a totally warped idea of
WITH VIRGINIA GAY, WINNERS&LOSERS’ FRANCES JAMES
“WHAT’S amazing about pretending to be a mother on-set [her character, Frances, gave birth in the final episode of last season] is that the babies’ actual mothers are there, there’s a midwife and a nurse, all of whom are shushing the babies, feeding the babies, putting the babies to sleep.
Then they come and put them in your arms, and you feel like a baby whisperer. I am the greatest [pretend] mother. As soon as they get just a little bit grumpy, you give them back to a team of professionals. It’s given me a totally warped idea of motherhood. They’re always sleeping in my arms.
Frances was always the one least likely to be a mother, but she’s obviously finding out she’s quite chilled at it, which is a nice surprise. I believe babies just want to be fed, played with and loved. And I’m like, ‘That’s all I want too, I understand those base desires. Then put to sleep’. It’s all I want from life.
I’ve played Frances for so long now, and as the years go on, I get more and more like her, which I didn’t think would happen. I did a flow chart the other night, because I couldn’t make a decision. A flow chart! It did help. But also, I had to go with my gut instinct. I said to a friend, ‘I wish there was a clear ratio of how much I can take in this situation’.
And they said, ‘You have just Frances-ised. You’ve Frances’d that situation’.
It’s been terrific playing her. But we don’t know how long it will continue [ Winners & Losers is filming season five]. For however long we shoot each year, the other months are a kind of enforced creative hothouse. Rest on your laurels? No thank you.
My lovely boyfriend says to me, ‘You don’t have to do all the things, all the time. Maybe have a bit of a lie-in’. But it’s such an opportunity when people are willing to see your work in other situations. I don’t want to look away from that for too long and find that people aren’t interested in cabaret or me doing theatre. Its’ fascinating what a draw a crowd is. Especially [doing] the cabaret, which I write myself.
You don’t know if a joke will fail … if and when the laughs roll in, it’s the most incredible feeling in the world … higher than Frances on drugs giving birth.
I am obsessed with live-tweeting episodes [of Winners & Losers], it’s my favourite.
My favourite show when I was growing up was Buffy the Vampire Slayer. The idea of watching a show while the people in it chatted on the internet with me would have totally blown my mind.” WINNERS & LOSERS TUESDAY, 9.20PM, SEVEN