Maureen Lipman opened up about her role as doting Jewish grandmother Beattie in British Telecom’s beloved 1980s adverts which catapulted her career from that of a “jobbing actress to a Jewish actress.”
The actress, who plays Evelyn Plummer in Coronation Street, spoke to the Guardian to discuss her title role in an online revival of Martin Sherman’s one-woman play “Rose”, which premieres on 10 September and will run for three nights only.
The play, she said, tells the “story of one woman’s recollection, from the Holocaust to the six-day war, and slightly beyond, and how she comes to make a stand herself, rather than just survive.”
During the interview, Lipman discussed the BT adverts, first aired around the time of her role in a 1982 stage production of Sherman’s play Messiah.
“I’d done Martin’s other play, Messiah”, she told the newspaper, “and I had an unfortunate experience: somebody in Hampstead stood up and screamed at me. It rattled me. I’ve always been a very confident actress and I never really questioned my confidence on stage, but it did unsettle me as a person.”
“And then, of course, the BT adverts happened around the same time, and it suddenly turned me from a jobbing actress to a Jewish actress,” she said.
Lipman’s Beattie made a surprise come-back last year in a clip criticising the Labour Party, produced by Mainstream, a campaign led by former MP Ian Austin.