‘This could hap­pen to any of us’

Ali­son Stead­man, 72, plays Jenny’s mother Mary, who helps with child­care un­til she suf­fers a dev­as­tat­ing stroke and faces the on­set of de­men­tia…

Closer (UK) - - Tv - ALI­SON STEAD­MAN:

What’s in store for Mary? Ini­tially, Mary is full of life. She’s a fun granny and a very bright, strong lady. But then the rug is pulled from right un­der her in a flash. The ter­ri­fy­ing thing for me is that it could hap­pen to any of us at any time… and when it does hap­pen, as a hu­man be­ing you have no con­trol. There’s noth­ing you can do to help your­self. You’re to­tally de­pen­dent on med­i­cal staff. Sud­denly, this woman can’t speak. She can’t com­mu­ni­cate. How did you pre­pare for the role? I had a long chat with a doc­tor who spe­cialises in deal­ing with peo­ple who’ve had a stroke. I also know some­one who had a mas­sive stroke about six months ago. It’s so hard to see how it can change some­one’s life en­tirely. It re­ally makes me ap­pre­ci­ate that at the end of the day I can get dressed, put on my lip­stick and go and have a gin and tonic – as some peo­ple aren’t so lucky. What was it like work­ing with Sheri­dan Smith? Sheri­dan is 100 per cent com­mit­ted. There’s no non­sense with her and she re­ally goes for it. We have a lot of emo­tional scenes to­gether that were very tax­ing and, if a take had gone well, she would take my hand and grip it – she wouldn’t say any­thing but it was great to have that sup­port. We felt that we were re­ally com­mu­ni­cat­ing to­gether.

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