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Georgia Slowe interview

by: Caroline Westbrook - Last updated: 2007-08-09

Georgia Slowe

Georgia Slowe

Actress Georgia Slowe is currently making a name for herself on the hit soap Emmerdale as Perdita Hyde-Sinclair, long suffering wife of well-to-do businessman Grayson Sinclair.

Perdy, as she is known, has had a traumatic time on the show, having to face five miscarriages, a hysterectomy and her husband's philandering. And currently she's in the spotlight again, finding herself at the mercy of a mother in law who wants her out of her son's life.

It's the first significant role in over a decade for 41-year-old Slowe who took a lengthy break from acting in order to raise her two sons (she is divorced from husband Ray Kelvin, founder of the Ted Baker clothing company). SJ caught up with her for a chat about returning to acting after such a long break, her own Jewish background, and the lack of Jewish characters in soaps...

How did the role in Emmerdale come about?
I auditioned for it, it was the usual route. My agent got in touch with me about a casting and I went up for it.

Have the recent storylines been quite challenging to film?
Oh they've been great fun, I've really really enjoyed it. It'snice to have something you can get your teeth into, I always enjoy a busy storyline. The hard thing is sitting around doing nothing.

What is the show like to work on?
Oh it's fabulous, really really wonderful cast. Everybody is hugely friendly and helpful. It's a big machine, we work very very hard and very very fast  - to do that number of shows in a week in the amount of time we've got is hugely challenging, and we're all aware that the machine has to keep rattling along.

What's it like being part of one of the most popular shows on TV? Did you used to watch it?
Yes, it's been going on for so many years there's no way you could avoid it! Unfortunately because of the time it's on a lot of people haven't got back from work yet and those with children are in the middle of doing bedtimes, but we're doing well. I think we're doing better than EastEnders.

Which other soaps do you watch?
I don't, really. I hardly have time to watch television at all because if I'm not working I'm with my kids, or learning my lines for the next day.

What upcoming storylines can we expect for Perdy?
I'm not sure I can say anything about the future, but it would be good to see something good happen to her, for her state of mind. She is huge fun to play because she turns on a sixpence – she's bright but at the same time vulnerable and emotional. But she has a tough side to her.

What's been the most challenging storyline to film so far?
It depends...the early stuff was so hard, when you want to make your mark with a character but you haven't got anything to do it with. That was the hardest thing, trying to do something with very little.

What was it like returning to acting after years away bringing up the family?
It was fantastic, brilliant. It's wonderful to be in a working environment. I loved being at home with the children but it was lovely getting my career back when the children were old enough. They're now 11 and 12. It would have been terribly hard when they were little, but they're very supportive and very generous about my going off to work. It's not round the corner either – I live in London but I stay in Leeds during the week and then the weekend I'm at home.

Do you think Jews are under-represented in British soaps?
Yes, and I keep telling the producers! It would be good to have some more Jewish characters in soaps as long as it's not someone going round saying 'Oy vey' the whole time – I really hate those Jewish stereotypes! If a character is played brilliantly that's another matter. For example everyone loved Maureen Lipman's telecom ad from a few years ago, not just Jewish people. But when that kind of thing is done badly it's awful. It's so unnecessary.

What's your family background and the origins of the family surname?
It was originally Slovedinski. My grandfather came over from Russia as a boy and my great-grandfather changed it. I've no idea how they changed it but I'm assuming they thought it was an English sounding name.

What sort of Jewish upbringing did you have and are you religious now?
Nope, not religious at all and my parents aren't either. I was brought up in North London and I've always lived there, I love to be near the Heath.

How does it feel to be voted most fanciable Jewish women by the readers of Something Jewish sister site Jewtastic?
It's hilarious. Probably only about four people voted!