Glenda Jackson

I couldn’t have hoped for a more wonderful guest to launch my second series of Well I Know Now than the international star of stage, screen and television, Glenda Jackson. The actress has added a BAFTA to her glittering array of awards (two Oscars, two BAFTAs, one Tony, one Golden Globe, two Emmys …. ) for her portrayal of Maud in the BBC film of Elizabeth is Missing. 

This intriguing whodunnit, based on the excellent novel by Emma Healey which I reviewed here also provides a deft exploration of dementia and the strains that it places on family life. Glenda plays Maud who, while in the early stages of dementia, sets out to find her missing friend Elizabeth and in so doing solves a 70-year-old murder mystery.

The actress and I chat about why she took on the role; how we as a society can no longer ignore dementia; the financial, emotional and practical challenges facing those who live with it and their families and the role that the state plays in all this.  

We also talk about ageing, which Glenda believes fractures and frays the gender boundaries – a fascinating idea which I’ve not previously encountered. And the way in which an ideal society has parallels with one of those magical pieces of theatre that completely captures its audience – both are bigger than the sum of their parts, require everyone involved to play their role and generate a positive, reciprocal energy. 

The daughter of a bricklayer and a cleaner, the girl from the Wirral has come a long way and never lost touch with her roots, her work ethic or her humour.

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