Miranda star talks to Freetime

10:00am Friday 6th July 2012

By Rebecca Cain

PATRICIA Hodge has gained a new legion of fans as a result of playing the mum of Miranda in the popular comedy TV series. But to older generations she is instantly recognisable due to her roles in The Naked Civil Servant and Rumpole of the Bailey. Not one who wants to be typecast she has just started a run in Dandy Dick. She talks to Rebecca Cain about the new play and Miranda.

Dandy Dick opened at the Theatre Royal Brighton on June 28 with Hodge playing Georgiana- the sister of the Very Reverend Augustin Jedd, played by Nicholas Le Prevost.

It was written in 1887 and Christopher Luscombe wanted to bring it back to the stage as he said it was a "rarely seen treasure".

Reverend Jedd preaches regularly against the sins of horse-racing and gambling. But then he gets a visit from his tearaway sister which leads him to risk all at the races, against his better judgement.

Mayhem ensues.

Hodge said her character is an independent and modern woman, which she admires.

She said: "It’s great fun to be playing this sort of character. She causes havoc but she’s also full of joy. I’d got to a point, when I read a script and I thought: ‘Oh god, I don’t have to cry again do I?

But she said, she believes there were a lot more woman like Georgiana at the time but they just were not written about. Arthur Wing Pinero, who penned the play, just brought her to the stage.

But does she like her character?

She said: "She's quite a piece of work in the nicest way. She's got a big heart."

Hodge said the play is not a farce but a farcical comedy.

And comedy is something which she is used to as she plays Miranda Hart's mum in the popular TV show, Miranda.

She didn't know the comedian before but simply got a call out of the blue.

She was sent the script and at first, she said, she could not quite see her way and how it would go.

More scripts were sent through, and at this point it was for the radio show, Miranda Hart's Joke Shop.

She said: "I found myself laughing out loud. I was about to start Calendar Girls and so I thought "I think I might enjoy this." I did it for the enjoyment factor. I walked in to this group with all the actors who went on to do it on TV. This adorable girl came in [Miranda]. I thought they were just so good and from day one it was just a joy."

They put it in front a radio audience and she said she saw the magic of Miranda's interaction with the audience.

But Hodge said: "Like all things it is not just fun. You have to work very hard on it.

"We are doing it with a live studio audience."

The show is universal and she now has a new group of fans from the younger generation. She has young children running up to her saying how much they love Miranda. The new series begins shooting in September.

As mentioned the actress also toured with the enduringly popular Calendar Girls.

She said from one side of the country to the other she could see the power of womanhood as the simple story about a woman losing her husband to cancer touched people.

But does she feel the roles are still there? "The truth is as soon as you talk about it as an actress of a certain are you look like you are being a grumpy old woman and self serving. I don't want to go into that."

She added: "It is a terrible shame there aren't more roles. You can't change history. You can't go back to all those playwrights and say sorry can you give us a little bit more."

She said if you are a woman Shakespearean actor you get to a certain age and there are only one or two roles. But added: "Similarly you don't want contemporary writers writing more roles just for the sake of it."

Dandy Dick is at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre from July 17-21 at 7.30pm with Wed, Thu and Sat matinees at 2.30pm. Tickets are £10-£27 from 0844 8717607 or go to www.atgtickets.com/aylesbury.

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