Sarah Par­ish talks to Woman’s Own on fash­ion, life and crushes...

Woman's Own - - Exclusive Interview -

Sarah Par­ish found fame in an ad for Bod­ding­tons beer 22 years ago be­fore be­com­ing one of the na­tion’s favourite ac­tresses in hits such as Peak Prac­tice, Mis­tresses and Cut­ting It. Now, she’s go­ing back in time for new fash­ion drama The Col­lec­tion. Here, Sarah, 48 – who lives in Hamp­shire with her ac­tor hus­band James Mur­ray and daugh­ter Nell, six – talks strange celebrity en­coun­ters and chan­nelling Madonna….

You're in a new show about style. How would you de­scribe your fash­ion sense?

Com­fort­able. I’m con­stantly in work­out gear be­cause I’m ei­ther go­ing to or com­ing from a work­out. I wear lu­l­ule­mon jog­ging bot­toms, a sports bra, vest and train­ers.

What’s your big­gest fash­ion faux pas?

I look back at pho­tos of me in the 1980s and think, ‘Crikey, I shouldn’t have gone for that ra-ra!’ The 1980s were lacy gloves, crop tops, ra-ra skirts and a side pony.

You were chan­nelling Madonna?

Yes! Ev­ery­one wanted to look like ei­ther Cyndi Lau­per or Madonna. I was more like the guy from Dead Or Alive, I think!

You’re cur­rently film­ing for the next Broad­church. Were you hooked on the first two se­ries like us?

‘ ‘To be able to jug­gle act­ing and a char­ity ca­reer is a good bal­ance’

I’ve never watched it! I must be the only per­son in the world. I’m go­ing to wait un­til we’ve filmed the third se­ries and then I’m go­ing to binge watch the lot. I play a char­ac­ter called Kath, who’s best friends with Julie Hes­mond­halgh’s char­ac­ter. That’s all I can say.

You set up The Mur­ray Par­ish Trust in mem­ory of your daugh­ter Ella-jayne, who died aged eight months from a con­gen­i­tal heart de­fect. It’s won­der­ful legacy.

Yes. She was a brave lit­tle girl and to do some­thing in her name is a won­der­ful thing. We’ve raised more than £500,000 and our new ap­peal, 2 Mil­lion Steps, is for an­other £2 mil­lion.

Tell us about the ap­peal…

For­mer Chan­cel­lor Ge­orge Os­borne gave us £2 mil­lion so we could build a pae­di­atric trauma cen­tre in Southamp­ton to cater for the whole of the south of Eng­land. If your child’s se­ri­ously ill, this is where they’ll go. We now need to match that £2 mil­lion to make the dream a re­al­ity. There are mil­lions of ways to help; if you go to our web­site you can text a do­na­tion or do a run, cy­cle or walk. You can take a foot selfie and post it on Twit­ter. If we got two mil­lion peo­ple to give £1, we’ve done it.

Has try­ing to make some­thing pos­i­tive come from some­thing so aw­ful helped you?

Yes, def­i­nitely. Whether you’ve lost a child or not, you have to give some­thing back. We live such a priv­i­leged life as ac­tors and some­times I think we lose our sense of re­al­ity. To be able to jug­gle an act­ing ca­reer with a char­ity ca­reer is a re­ally good bal­ance. It keeps your head screwed on.

If we were to come over to your house for din­ner, what would you cook for us?

I’d do a bar­be­cue. We have an out­side kitchen area with a fire and a beau­ti­ful bar­be­cue, so I’d do rack of lamb with my de­li­cious puy lentil and hal­loumi salad.

What would you give us to drink?

Hat­tin­g­ley Val­ley Rosé fizz. There have been lots of winer­ies open­ing near where we live and they’ve dis­cov­ered that the sparkling wine we do is prob­a­bly bet­ter than cham­pagne. It won best rosé fizz in the world last year!

Who’d be your dream din­ner party guests?

David At­ten­bor­ough. I could lis­ten to his voice forever. We’re big an­i­mal lovers in our house. If he were still alive, I’d have Eric More­cambe, too – fun­ni­est man ever.

Who was your child­hood crush?

Donny Os­mond. I’d kiss the telly when he was on and my hair would go all static from the screen.

What’s been the most sur­real celebrity mo­ment of your ca­reer?

Stand­ing on the porch of a log cabin in the Ro­ma­nian moun­tains next to Kevin Cost­ner, play­ing his wife in the western se­ries Hat­fields & Mccoys. I was think­ing, ‘Oh my God, I’m from Yeovil. What the hell am I do­ing stood next to Kevin Cost­ner?’ He was re­ally nice and, af­ter a cou­ple of days, you for­get he’s Kevin Cost­ner. But that first mo­ment of be­ing in cos­tume next to him with Bill Pax­ton rid­ing up on a horse… it was ex­actly like a cheese dream!

Tell us about your new show The Col­lec­tion…

It’s set in 1948 in Paris and is the story of the Sabine brothers, who are clothes de­sign­ers, and the cre­ation of a fash­ion called the New Look – those great skirts and big dish hats. Within that, there’s a thriller plot. The fam­ily are not all they seem. It’s sump­tu­ous to look at and has an amaz­ing cast.

Who do you play?

Mar­jorie Stut­ter – an Amer­i­can corn­flake heiress who comes over to Paris to buy her clothes from the brothers. She’s larger than life and very funny. She’s got a bit of a potty mouth and has great one-lin­ers. It was prob­a­bly the most fun I’ve had play­ing a char­ac­ter. On the sur­face, she’s steel-like, but un­derneath she’s vul­ner­a­ble and a bit lonely. Her di­a­monds are her ar­mour.

What was best about the shoot?

The cos­tumes. My favourite was a stun­ning black party dress. I’d love to go back to that era. There’s some­thing very sexy about those clothes.

The Col­lec­tion is avail­able to watch now on Ama­zon Prime. For more in­for­ma­tion on 2 Mil­lion Steps, go to the­mur­ray­parishtrust.com

With her hus­band, fel­low ac­tor James Mur­ray

Sarah got to glam up in 1940s cos­tumes for fash­ion drama The Col­lec­tion

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