81? I’m more like eight!’

amanda Barrie on her youth­ful out­look on life, run­ning a dat­ing agency for pen­sion­ers and why ev­ery­one still calls her Alma

TV Times - - Interview - Han­nah Davies & elaine Reilly

For­mer Coronation Street star Amanda Barrie tells TV Times she had an ab­so­lute riot film­ing The Baby Boomers’ Guide to Grow­ing Old, which be­gins on More4 this week.

‘We were like chil­dren!’ she says of the other 12 se­nior celebri­ties tak­ing part. ‘Never mind 80, we were more like eight year olds!’

The four-part se­ries sees fa­mous over-65s, in­clud­ing Johnny Ball, 79, Esther Rantzen, 76, ex-eas­t­en­der Laila Morse, 71, and co­me­dian Roy Hudd, 81, ex­plore dif­fer­ent as­pects of age­ing, start­ing with a guide to love and ro­mance.

As Johnny chap­er­ones Esther to a dance class, Amanda joins cricket com­men­ta­tor Henry Blofeld, 77, in run­ning a dat­ing agency for el­derly sin­gle­tons. And the con­tin­u­ous in­nu­endo had her in stitches!

‘I laughed so much with Henry, we re­ally gelled,’ says Amanda, who starred as Alma Bald­win in Cor­rie from 1981 to 2001. ‘We had makeovers and Henry was put in shorts! We got very gig­gly.’

Here, Amanda, 81, who ap­peared in se­ries two of BBC1’S sim­i­lar golden-oldies hit The

Real Marigold Ho­tel, tells us more…

what’s the idea be­hind the se­ries? It’s about see­ing how we all cope as the idea of what old age is like has changed, whether it’s food, health or the way peo­ple live in gen­eral. I can re­mem­ber feel­ing quite old in my thir­ties and think­ing I shouldn’t do or wear cer­tain things. I don’t take any no­tice of that now.

You and Henry Blofeld had a lot of fun…

Yes. I’d never met him be­fore, but I knew who he was be­cause my other half [crime nov­el­ist Hi­lary Bon­ner] is crick­et­potty. We re­ally hit it off and we’ve stayed in touch. I’ve been very lucky with the men I’ve met through work re­cently. On The Real Marigold Ho­tel there was Bill Od­die, who I adore, and Lionel Blair, who

I was reunited with af­ter we first met when I was a dancer.

do you feel your age at 81?

I have a the­ory that if we never knew how old we were and we could scrap birth­days, we’d have a very dif­fer­ent at­ti­tude to the way we be­haved and we’d be a lot bet­ter off. I’ve of­ten thought how I’d love to be hyp­no­tised so I didn’t know how old I was.

Tell us your se­cret of stay­ing so ev­er­green and sprightly...

The ob­vi­ous things like not putting on too much weight, not smok­ing or drink­ing your­self into the floor, ap­ply no mat­ter what age you are. It re­ally makes me laugh when older peo­ple say they’ve got aches and pains be­cause I re­mem­ber be­ing at bal­let school and the back of my legs be­ing so stiff from danc­ing that I’d have to walk down the stairs back­wards – that hasn’t changed all that much!

do you have any plans to re­tire? You don’t re­tire in our pro­fes­sion, the pro­fes­sion re­tires you. Some­body thought I’d re­tired a cou­ple of years ago, but I hadn’t – I just took a gap year at 79 – like all those stu­dents do – be­cause I wanted to know what it was like to do noth­ing.

do you still get lots of at­ten­tion from Coronation street fans?

I got recog­nised in In­dia, would you be­lieve? The fun­ni­est one was when I was in Venice and some peo­ple were lean­ing over the fa­mous Rialto Bridge yelling, ‘Alma!’ – I couldn’t be­lieve it. I still get Alma-ed a lot, but I don’t mind. I’m de­lighted!

Amanda with the cast of The Real Marigold Ho­tel

With on-screen hubby Mike Bald­win in Coronation Street

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