I meet the wonderful British actress Brenda Blethyn on Saturday afternoon at the world premiere of the animated feature ETHEL & ERNEST at the Curzon cinema as part of the 60th BFI London Film Festival. Brenda voiced the title character Ethel in this film version of Raymond Brigg’s graphic novel about the life of his parents. Currently appearing in the sixth series of the TV drama VERA as DCI Vera Stanhope, Brenda’s breakthrough role was Cynthia Rose Purley in Mike Leigh’s SECRETS & LIES in 1996, which won her the Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival, a BAFTA, a Golden Globe and the first of her two Oscar nominations. Equally successful stage career, winning an Olivier Award in Michael Frayn’s 1984’s BENEFACTORS.
I had hoped to catch Brenda going in, but was unable to. She stayed for the screening and did a Q+A at its conclusion which took a few hours but the wait was well worth it, as she happily signed my portrait with her superb ‘graph.