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Appearance on Breakfast (2001)


Broadcast by:
BBC One, BBC News 24

"[??]" is used to indicate uncertain transcription phrases.

The transcript below actually begins a few moments after Wendy has settled down onstage.

Host (referring to a recent decision by the producers of EastEnders to increase the number of new episodes from three per week to four) : "Did you ever think that it would grow to four nights a week, that it would get this big?"

WR : "Well, I mean it knew it was going to be hit show, that was obvious the first time I saw Albert Square.  I thought, 'well, they haven't built this just for five minutes', you know. 'This is it, this is here to stay.' But I remember when they said we were going to go three nights a week, people were going 'Ooh, I don't know'. But it was a matter of course that we would go four nights a week. And we're just . . . coping with it."

Host : "Coping with it? Oh no! It's going to be an incredible work schedule for you then, isn't it?"

WR : "Well, it seems, with them standing in the square today, nice and sunny, and yesterday, we were rained off. It was an absolute nightmare. It really was [?]. . . . "

Host : "How has your character changed, do you think, over the years?"

WR : "Well, I've tried not to change Pauline too much. John York said I can wear nail varnish. I'm just saying that now to remind him, he promised me I could. But Pauline, for instance, hasn't worn a cardigan for over ten years, but you still get them -- especially when they're having a snipe at her character -- they say 'cardie-wearing Pauline Fowler", but, I say, she hasn't worn one for years."

Host : "Well, let's have a quick look. I think we've got some vintage Pauline Fowler here, actually."

(Some clips from old and new episodes of EastEnders are shown.)

Host : "Ooh, nasty. I tell you, sometimes I'm watching, and I'm thinking, it's all a bit grim. You must think to yourself... How do you pull yourself out and come out of it optimistic after going through all those storylines?"

WR : "Well, talking about Pauline: I mean, she is a survivor; her family --you can see how she rallied there -- her family is the most important thing to her, and she will fight tooth and nail for her children. In the same way I suppose as poor Dot Cotton tries to keep Nick in some sort of order or something -- with not as much success as Pauline, I'm afraid. When you're involved in a very emotional storyline, it's very difficult not to take it home with you. And I don't drive, I have to get a car backwards and forwards to work. But I sit in the back of the car and I either look out the window or look at my lines for the next day. But you try to shed all of that before you get home, otherwise you'd go around the bend."

Host : "But I'm sure that a lot of people don't allow you to shake it off really? It must be difficult for you to go into the supermarket, without people saying 'Oy, Pauline! Where's your cardie?'."

WR : "Well, no, I can get 'round my local supermarket, because there aren't many English people in there, because it's on Edgeware Road. And in the summer, you know..."

Host : "Not many EastEnders watchers in there...?"

WR : "It's all the Middle-EastEnders. No, I can get around Safeway all right. And of course, if you have a gap between scenes you nip out in-between scenes up and down Bournemouth High Street, and of course you've been there so long, everybody is used to you, so it's not really a problem."

Host : "Are you a little bit worried about it going four nights a week? Do you think 'Ooh, maybe it can be spread a little bit too thinly here.' How can you have that many good storylines?"

WR : "Well, you see, we've got this wonderful family, the Slaters, that's come into it and I think they're just fantastic. I said to John York, you have created a wonderful character with Mo (you know, Laila Morse). She is fantastic, and they all are. And Jessie, who plays Kat. She's supposed to be a bit of a slapper, I suppose, but she's given the most beautiful performances; really moving. All of them, collectively, they are a great asset to us."

Host : "Wendy, good luck to you, going to four nights a week."

WR : "Thank you."

Host : "I know it is going to be hard work for you. I was going to read something out from the Daily Star, which says you won the Glamorous Granny contest in the 1980s."
[Webmaster's note: the interviewer's statement is a bit misleading. It was not Wendy personally who won that, but rather her EastEnders character Pauline Fowler, who in an episode from September of 1986 won a "Glamorous Granny" competition. Evidently that fictional event made the real-world newspapers.]

WR : "Oh, that was years ago!"

Host : "[?] Thanks very much for coming in."

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