Saturday, 1 August 2015

Interviews Interview with Eve Pearce by DJ Forrest

Interview with Eve Pearce

By DJ Forrest

Hello Eve, thank you once again for the opportunity of the interview. 

I was reading up on IMDB about your career to date and you have had an extremely busy life as an actress, from stage to television, films to dramas and a recurring role in Coronation Street in the ‘60’s.  Wow!  Plus you’re also a published poet.

My first introduction to you was as Estelle in Torchwood: Small Worlds.  The story of Estelle’s life and her connection with Jack was well written and it was sad that she became the victim of the faeries games. 
Although it was almost 10 years ago since that role, were there any memorable moments you can tell us about? 

Eve: Memorable Moments:  The rain which drowned Estelle was provided by the Fire Brigade turning their hoses on full pelt.  Of course Jack had warned Estelle repeatedly that her “faeries” were in fact demons and wished her no good.  The other thing I remember vividly was that the path was made of very sharp pieces of flint, and was extremely uncomfortable to lie on!

Believing in the possibility of other existences on our planet such as Estelle did over the faeries, are you as open minded or do you believe that faeries and other such whimsical creatures are just the imaginings of authors for children’s stories?

Eve: I think it’s difficult to tell what is real and what is not, and I wouldn’t completely discount anything one sees or hears in a heightened state of awareness – when people are dying, or very ill, or under the influence of drugs.  Having said that I am fairly cynical about “faeries”!

You’ve been an actress since the early 1960’s, starting out in Z-Cars (I used to watch that show – can still remember the theme tune!!!), and had a recurring role in Coronation Street in 1967, who was your character, did she work in the factory or a regular in the pub?

Eve: I won a Scholarship to RADA when I was 19.  My first job was in weekly rep, in Preston, and I stayed there for just under a year.  In 1960 I played a squatter with 6 children in Coronation Street.  She moved into an empty house in the street.  I think I did 3 episodes.

Some people say that they can’t watch themselves when the programme airs, are you the same, or do you look forward to seeing yourself on screen?

Eve: I remember very clearly seeing myself on screen for the first time.  It was a 30-minute play called BREAK-UP, by John Hopkins, who later went on to edit Z-Cars, and who was a wonderful writer.  I was so nervous at seeing myself on screen that I shook for the entire half-hour!  It only worries me now when I think I could have done better.

You’re a volunteer reader for Interact Reading Service – a charity that arranges therapeutic readings in hospital for stroke victims.  How did you get involved in this charity and can you tell us more about it as it sounds really interesting?

Eve: I have a feeling that somebody who already did this – read to stroke-patients – asked me to join the service.  It seemed to be fairly well-known that stroke patients benefited from it, so I used to read at Barnet and Whittington Hospitals.  I helped to compile a list of Biblical readings which were very popular. I stopped it only when I had to attend a lot of hospital appointments myself.

A few weeks ago I read on one of the Yahoo news articles, that actress June Brown, felt that she had to keep working as her pension wasn’t enough to live on.  Do you feel the same?  Or is it more about the passion to continue acting, as it’s something you’ve always enjoyed.  Do you agree with this?  What are your feelings?

Eve: I quite understand why June says this.  Unless you become a Hollywood Film Star actors are not as well-paid as the public thinks, but in my case it is passion.  I have always been an actor, and I love it!

Have you always had a passion for poetry?  Did it stem from a favourite poet, or poem? 

Eve: Well, I have always enjoyed poetry, but apart from writing at school when I was six, and had a poem published in the PRESS AND JOURNAL, the Aberdeen daily, I did no poetry till I was 70.  I had been painting and drawing before that for a number of years, and needed a change.  I saw an ad, in the local paper advertising a poetry class taken by an Australian poet, Katherine Gallacher who had a 4-hour class on a Saturday afternoon.  She became my mentor, and I have been a poet ever since.

You’re in a short film called “Hands”, can you tell us about this and who you play?

Eve: You seem to know more about HANDS than I do.  Of course I remember doing it, and I have a plaster cast of a hand by my window, but apart from that?

I was watching a Scottish gangster film on Netflix a few months back – The Wee Man, and I have to say, that Maggie stole those scenes, and they were fantastic.  Have you played characters like Maggie before? 

Eve:  You seem very surprised by my appearance and character in THE WEE MAN!  Well, it was Scots and I always feel at home in my native tongue.  As I remember there were actors in it whom I knew, and they were all very nice and pleasant.  It was fun!

What have been the hardest characters to play over the years, on stage as well as films/television?

Eve: I never think of roles in this way.  If I accept something I’m fairly sure I’m going to be able to play it.

You’re involved in the Company of Elders, Sadler Wells Contemporary Dance group.  They say you’re never too old to learn to dance, so will we see you on Strictly…at some point, or is this more for creativity and channeling inspiration?

Photo credit: Gigi Giannella
Eve:  The COMPANY OF ELDERS is an out-reach company run by Sadlers Wells Theatre for people over 60, who want to dance.  Our home is the LILIAN BAYLISS STUDIO, and once a year we get to dance in the Main House, which as you can imagine, is a tremendous thrill.  I joined the C.of G. almost by accident.  I have always loved dancing and one of my daughters, Emma Dewhurst, also a professional actress was studying for her Community Dance Certificate at the Laban Institute of Dance. One of the things she had to do was help with a Community Dance Company and as she was interested in dance for the elderly she chose the C.o.E., and told me I should give it a try.  I said I hated Groups, but she persuaded me to come for a session.  And I was hooked!  We do contemporary dance – mostly in bare feet, and the list of famous choreographers who have worked with us is amazing.  We were the subject of the first IMAGINE programme by Alan Yentob, in which I figure quite heavily.  I think you can still get it on YouTube or something like that.

Can you tell us about ‘Capturing Snowflakes’ and ‘Woman in Winter’ and where we can purchase a copy?

Eve: CAPTURING SNOWFLAKES is available on Amazon and WOMAN IN WINTER from HEARING EYE website.

I read on IMDB that your poems are anti war themes.  Were they from a particular era, or is it war in general? 
The reason I ask about this, is that on LinkedIn, the causes you care about list Human Rights, Disaster and Humanitarian Relief, Oxfam, Amnesty International, Action Aid and Poverty Alleviation, to name a few.  Those I think would be enough to ignite a stream of words on paper!

Eve: My poems are more concerned with my childhood, but I am certainly anti-war, a member of CND, and particularly against the replacement of Trident Missiles.  Spending trillions of pounds on these things, which could be spent on the NHS, education, homes, etc., seems to me a sin.

You moved to London at the age of 12, from Aberdeen, have you ever returned to Scotland?

Eve:  I return to Scotland at least every two years, otherwise I feel bereft.  It’s the mountains I miss more than anything.  I call myself a Scottish Londoner.  My parents met and married in Nice, on the Cote d’Azur, but my mother was determined that any child of hers should be born in Scotland, so it is very important to me.

Going back to ‘Small Worlds’ – what I liked about Estelle was the life she led, knowing Jack, but assuming she’d been with his father, not the young man who held her in the garden, while she talked about faeries.  When you auditioned for the role of Estelle, what was it about the script that interested you about the character?

Eve: I liked the script. And thought I was right for it.  And I wanted to play opposite lovely John Barrowman!

Have any of your children followed in your footsteps and become accomplished actors/actresses?

Eve: Two of my children are in the business – I married the writer Keith Dewhurst and we had 3 children, Alan now a Producer of Animation, who won an Oscar for Short Animation for PETER AND THE WOLF, (the DVD is great for 7-12 year olds) – Emma, who I have already mentioned, played the young Maggie in THE IRON LADY, and Faith, who has a Law Degree, but whose great passion is Poker.  She keeps us all in our places!

Will you ever hang up your acting shoes? Or are there still roles out there with your name on?

Eve: I shall never stop if I can help it.  I am never at my best when I’m not in work. And luckily people still seem to ask for me.  But nowadays I only ever do things I want to do.  I went to the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds for 11 weeks to play Maria in a new adaptation of Chekhov’s Uncle Vanya.

Other than “Hands”, are there any other projects or events that you’re involved in that we can share with the fans?

Eve: Last week I finished a charming new short film called THE ELDER – not about me, but about the tree - which is said to have magical properties.  It is now being edited, and will then hopefully be shown at Film Festivals.  Shot in Highgate and Queens Woods it will look beautiful and I long to see the first showing.

Thank you so much for a wonderful interview!


  1. Hello, Eve, Lots of love and best wishes from an admirer in Spain who used to do bits and pieces for you and Keith back in the late 60s.
    I well recall hammering a nail through an underfloor central heating pipe, but manfully saved the day. XXX Joe (Pepe)

  2. Thank you Earthling - I have passed your wonderful comments onto Eve herself :D