‘Smoking pot on TV? It would be rude not to’
Eastenders legend Pam St Clement, 75, boards a ‘psychedelic bus’ with other celebs for a road trip with a difference
What can you tell us about Gone To Pot? I liked the idea of five people – whose faces are known but who are not in the first flush of youth – going on a road trip to have fun, and see what happens when you legalise marijuana in two states, California and Colorado. This is a very important subject and I wanted to find out more about the pros and cons.
What ARE the benefits?
If it’s dispensed correctly, and CBD (Cannabidiol – the “non-high”) is dispensed correctly, in balance with THC (Tetrahydrocannabinol – the “high”), I feel that medically it is a good thing. We heard so many stories about how it helped with conditions such as Parkinson’s and MS, as well as helping children who have seizures.
You meet some people who believe their health conditions are eased by the drug…
We met a lady called Nonna, who was 90-something. Her daughter had suffered a terrible car accident. The marijuana got her through, and her wonderful mother was continuing to cook for people using the drug to help them with their medical problems. She also cooked for us…
Well, one of the downsides of taking marijuana is it is very difficult to gauge the quantity you should be putting in your food if you are going to eat it. I was very cautious; I had a spoonful of ratatouille that didn’t have anything in, and half a spoon of a portion that was lethal. She then produced this ice cream and we tucked in… I could say the group did experience some effects from it, yes – but I think this is best left to be intrigued by when you see the programme.
You also spend time with Harry the Hippy?
We met up with him one morning and he looked moderately stoned. He showed us the sights of San Francisco, and invited us to a party in the evening. They were off their faces, to be honest, playing the bongo drums; it was all frightfully 1960s. We sat there feeling out of place and then this little joint came round. Linda [Robson] and I looked at each other and went, “Ah well, go on. It would be rude not to!”
What are your own memories of the swinging ’60s?
I certainly wasn’t into hippydom. I had smoked cannabis when I was younger – but so infrequently I can’t remember it.
Tell us about the “psychedelic bus” you toured around on…
It was absolutely brilliant! It was rigged with cameras which were always recording our thoughts. There were differences of opinion every day. I was the only person on the bus who said decriminalise it now, because I think it will enable the most important thing: research.
Since leaving Eastenders (as Pat Butcher, in 2012 – briefly appearing again last year), do you think people have seen beyond the earrings?!
I’ve done three Casualties since then and a period piece in which I played a crooked villain. Typecasting hasn’t been a problem, strangely enough.
What did you miss most about home when filming in the US?
Fresh food that wasn’t sweet. I don’t want to knock America, but really, the diet is quite extraordinary. And a decent cup of tea…