Some would see it as selling out, but Jane Horrocks has confessed to Radio Times that doing TV adverts has been a blessing for her artistic integrity, as well as her bank balance.
Starring in a decade of Tesco ads (alongside Prunella Scales, who played her mother) has helped make Horrocks one of the best-known faces on British TV – as well as paying for the south-west London family home she calls “Tesco Towers”.
But she says the lucrative job also allowed her to avoid less appealing acting roles.
“The Tesco commercials have given me licence to avoid crap, and I’m eternally grateful to them. I see friends having to do shows on television, which 10 or 15 years ago they wouldn’t have considered. Now they have to do them for financial reasons.”
In a case of ads imitating art, Horrocks is about to star in Sky1’s supermarket-set sitcom Trollied (Thursday 4 August), one of the channel’s raft of new comedy commissions. But she says that when it comes to drama, “TV just isn’t investing in the same way.”
To find out why Horrocks thinks reality TV is to blame for television drama going “downhill”, read the full interview in the latest issue of Radio Times, on sale now.