Skip to main content

Jean Boht: 'It's a very moving, dramatic role'

Jean Boht: 'It's a very moving, dramatic role'
Jean Boht: 'It's a very moving, dramatic role' (Image credit: ANDREW ROSS/Press Association Im)

Former Bread star Jean Boht tells TV Times magazine about being a guest star in Casualty (BBC1, Saturday)... We’ve seen you on Casualty before, Jean! “It’s my fourth appearance in Casualty over many years – and I’ve played various strange ladies! This time I’m Doris, an elderly woman with dementia, who thinks her young gardener is her dead husband. She pursues him and ends up in hospital. It’s very moving and dramatic.” Was Doris a tough role for you? “You have to do the scenes three or four times and there was a lot of shouting and crying, which you have to be able to repeat at absolutely the same level. It’s great fun but very tiring. I was watching Call The Midwife and all those girls having babies and screaming. I felt sorry for them, having to work so hard!” Was playing a dementia sufferer a challenge? “As Ma Boswell in Bread I always had to go and visit people in old people’s homes and entertain them. I observed how people look who have Alzheimer’s and the vacancy in their eyes. It’s very sad to see them sitting around in a circle with no expectation of anything – and then suddenly they can change! The thing about an actor is not to act, you have to observe and become – acting is about reacting.” Do you still get stopped in the street by fans of Bread? “I always know when it’s showing on a digital channel, because the people in Marks and Spencer’s tell me! They were wonderful days. It was very hard work, but it was amazing and I’m realising now just how lucky we were to have it for all those years.”

Patrick McLennan is a London-based journalist and documentary maker who has worked as a writer, sub-editor, digital editor and TV producer in the UK and New Zealand. His CV includes spells as a news producer at the BBC and TVNZ, as well as web editor for Time Inc UK. He has produced TV news and entertainment features on personalities as diverse as Nick Cave, Tom Hardy, Clive James, Jodie Marsh and Kevin Bacon and he co-produced and directed The Ponds, which has screened in UK cinemas, BBC Four and is currently available on Netflix. 

An entertainment writer with a diverse taste in TV and film, he lists Seinfeld, The Sopranos, The Chase, The Thick of It and Detectorists among his favourite shows, but steers well clear of most sci-fi.