After years of playing mumsy roles, former Corrie star Susie Blake has enjoyed letting off steam in her new UKTV Gold sitcom You, Me & Them.
The show, which starts next month, stars Anthony Head and Eve Myles as Ed and Lauren, a couple who are madly in love despite a 20-year-age gap. As well as suffering the constant meddling of Ed’s jealous ex-wife (Lindsay Duncan) who lives next door, the pair has to deal with Lauren’s disapproving mother Emma, played by Susie, who once played Fred Elliot’s heart-broken fiancée Bev Unwin in Coronation Street.
A scary woman at times, Emma’s withering put downs are almost the equal of Maggie Smith’s in Downton Abbey.
"I haven’t been asked to play an acerbic character since Victoria Wood," says Susie, 63, who played the stern-faced continuity announcer in Victoria Wood As Seen On TV (BBC1 1985-87) who’d utter comments like, “We’d like to apologise to views in the North. It must be awful for them.”
"Normally I’m cuddly and friendly so it’s quite nice to play somebody who has an edge to her," Susie continues. "I’ve always loved Maggie Smith’s steely determination. If Maggie’s ever looking for someone to play her sister or daughter, I’d really like to be that person."
Unlike the Dowager Countess of Grantham, however, there’s a hint that fearsome Emma soon starts to fancy her daughter’s bloke in the new comedy, and – horror of horrors – could even end up sleeping with him!
"There’s an underlying suggestion that Ed should be with somebody Emma’s age, not with somebody her daughter’s age," laughs Susie. "The writers wanted to reflect the complex families people have now. Loads of people have broken up, loads of people have set up again, but they want to remain friends because of the children."
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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.