‘I’D KISS THE TELLY WHEN DONNY OSMOND CAME ON’
Sarah Parish talks to Woman’s Own on fashion, life and crushes...
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