The Daily Telegraph (LONDON)
May 31, 2008 Saturday
MY PERFECT WEEKEND Country gatherings and card games are a winning hand for actress Jemma Redgrave
BYLINE: Interview by Yvonne Swann
A perfect weekend for me would be reminiscent of the weekends of my childhood. It would be just like the recent bank holiday when I stayed with friends in Norfolk with my husband [barrister Tim Owen] and our sons Gabriel, 14, and Alfie, eight. No weekend could be perfect if the children and my Labrador weren’t part of it.
The sun was shining and the Norfolk light in the mornings was magical, glowing on the views over the salt marshes towards the sea.
It was idyllic. There was a little boat and we sailed out on the ocean waves and watched the seals and wild birds at Blakeney Point. We went for long walks, read the papers and the dads played football with the boys.
That really is my ideal weekend: lots of children and games. As well as table tennis, card games with good friends is brilliant. You laugh so much, but it’s also seriously competitive.
We also like to play “First Lines” with the children. We find a book, read the blurb off the back jacket and everybody has to write down what they think the first line might be. You win if you pick the real first line out of everyone’s efforts and you win if your invented first line gets the most votes. It’s ridiculous fun and the sort of communal living among friends that I love.
We live in London and don’t get away to the country much at weekends, because my sons have a busy social and sporting life in the city. They love their football and cricket. Country breaks are very special to me.
As a child, I have very fond memories of being with my maternal grandparents, who lived in Shepperton, right on the Thames, in the grounds of a big house. There was always a dinghy nearby. My grandfather had been in the Navy and was a great sailor. I remember boating with him and in my mind it seems to have been forever summer there. We had a lot of freedom. We’d go off by ourselves and fish for pike. I also remember a lot of croquet in the grounds of the big house on summer evenings. It was lovely.
My paternal grandmother [actress Rachel Kempson, Lady Redgrave] had a cottage in Hampshire and I used to stay with her regularly. It was different again. She had a dog, which I adored, and those memories seem to be autumnal -all about bonfires and beautiful woods.
My mother [Deirdre Hamilton-Hill] had a vintage clothes stall in an antiques market in the King’s Road in London and took a stall in the Portobello Road to sell the leftovers. I used to go with her to the markets on Saturdays and was sometimes left in charge of the stall. As I had no idea what I was doing, I sold wonderful things for a pittance. At the time, I didn’t like the old clothes at all. Like most children, I was quite conservative and wanted a conventional life. I yearned for Marks & Spencer, not Victorian gowns. I’d love to have the whole stall now.
When I was little, I saw a Play for Today on the BBC about a Jacobean village. Clothes arrived in the village full of plague-carrying fleas. The play marked me. I was absolutely convinced that some terrible disease was going to be shipped in with the old clothes when they arrived at our house. I’d skirt the walls in terror.
In later years, I grew close to my paternal grandfather, the actor Michael Redgrave, who was divorced from my Hampshire grandmother. He taught me to play canasta, which is where my love of cards comes from. My father [actor Corin Redgrave] taught me poker when I was 10 and I still like to play it at weekends.
My recent Norfolk weekend was entirely wonderful because it was closely linked to my childhood memories and to the days when my parents were still together. We’d all gather for heavenly weekends with lots of friends, grandparents and children. Could anything be better than that? I don’t think so.
Jemma Redgave is starring in the play The Cherry Orchard, by Anton Chekhov, at Chichester Festival Theatre until next Saturday.
LEADER; JEMMA’S SURVIVED THE CURSE OF CRAIG
December 6, 2003
ONE of the great things about the British film industry is the way it gives young, up-andcoming talents such as Craig Ferguson a chance to make a name for themselves – and then totally blow it.
I’ll Be There, is a particular case in point because not only is Ferguson making his directing debut but he was actually an actor whose career has been blighted by a string of roles in low-budget movies like The Big Tease and Modern Vampires. As the eight other people in the audience of my local cinema will testify on the night I went to see it, I’ll Be There was flat and characterless.
Then, to make things worse, he probably ruined any future movie career prospects for opera singer Charlotte Church. For the uninitiated, in the film she played knackered Eighties rock star Ferguson’s love child who arrives on the scene to halt his downward spiral.
Referring to my notes from that fateful screening, I see: “I’m willing to bet that the first shattered atom split more sedately than the audience rushing out of the auditorium today.”
Presumably, Ferguson also realised how rotten it was and gave up directing.
To my great relief, Jemma Redgrave (she of the great acting dynasty) actually agrees with me.
Let’s face it, she should know, she co-starred in the movie as Charlotte’s reformed groupie mother.
“It’s true, the film was a bomb, ” Jemma admitted. “But it wasn’t a stink bomb. That’s the distinction.
“I don’t give a damn, really. It would have been better for them and, of course, nice for me if it had been a success. But the experience was great. So it doesn’t really matter.”
Tragically, it does when your first film swiftly heads for the bargain basement DVDs bins at Woolies. Though Jemma thinks it would be unfair to drum the flick out of the Brownies altogether.
“It absolutely does what it says on the tin, ” she continued. “It’s charming and funny. The thing is that it’s Charlotte’s first film and I think she’s terrific in it, actually.
“She was very natural and brought a lot of warmth and humour to the part. I think, for a 16 year old in her first film part, she excelled. I couldn’t have done it at 16. I was hugely impressed by her.
“She’s also a delightful young woman. She has got that great Welsh work ethic thing. Hard working, intelligent, funny, sparky. And she sings.
IREMEMBER thinking I didn’t want to work for a while after that I had such a good experience.” You have to be careful what you wish for, don’t you, because Jemma didn’t work for a long while afterwards.
She is back on track now, though, and returns to television in the New Year in the company of another Scot, East Kilbride’s own John Hannah.They star together in ITV’s two-part thriller, Amnesia, in which she plays a marbles-scrambled cop who suspects her memory-scarred husband of having murdered his first wife. And know what? It’s very good.
Thanks to Dawn for this interview. We got more to come so stay tuned…
I added a new article from the Vortex Magazine which got a feature story on “UNIT: Encounters“.
Full scans are up here:
Scans > 2017 > Vortex Magazine – November 2017
Duet for One was scheduled to feature Jemma Redgrave who has unfortunately withdrawn due to ill health. The role of Stephanie Abrahams will now be played by Belinda Lang.
We wish her all the best – get well soon Jemma!
Last night (August 8) viewers saw the departure of Consultant General Surgeon & Trauma Surgeon, Berenice ‘Bernie’ Wolfe played by Jemma Redgrave.
Jemma was originally suppose to be appearing in Holby City for six months, from early 2016, Jemma has stayed on for an extra year.
Bernie first appeared as a patient on Darwin, before settling professionally on Keller, she later became the co-clinical lead alongside Serena (Catherine Russell) on AAU.
Viewers saw last night that the Trauma Unit on AAU was closed down by new medical director Nina Karnik, Bernie left the wards after a patient forces her to reconsider what she really wants out of life. She left Holby to visit Serena in France before rejoining the army.
It has not yet been confirmed whether or not Jemma will be reprising her role as Bernie.
The spoiler is under the cut…
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