Julie Walters on meeting Meryl Streep, Googling herself and why there’s too much reality TV

The Hollow Crown star also admits to wanting a part in Corrie, hating Jeremy Kyle and blubbing during her Henry IV read-through

Who do you wake up to?


I love John Humphrys so it will usually be Radio 4. But if I’m going to watch anything first thing, it will be BBC Breakfast. Then back onto Radio 4 if I’m out travelling.

Which TV programmes do you never miss?

I’m a soap addict. So I never miss Coronation Street, Eastenders and, more recently, Emmerdale. I did once mention that I’d love a part in Corrie and they were immediately on the phone to various agents. But I think that might have to wait for later in my career now.

What is your guilty pleasure?

I’m a fan of The Great British Bake off. Baking is a wonderful thing because you get such quick results.

Who or what do you instantly turn over to avoid?

There isn’t much I’m averse to apart from The Jeremy Kyle Show. Ooh, I find that very depressing. But even then I occasionally think “Oh my gawd,” and I find I can’t switch it off. I’m easily sucked in like that.

Would you ever do Strictly?

I love watching it – and also Dancing On Ice because it’s quite dangerous – but never in a million years would I go on it. I’m quite a good dancer but I’m not brilliant with choreography. I also haven’t got the posture so I’d be constantly criticised for that. And that would make me think “Oh, to hell with all this”.

Who controls the remote in your house?

Me. I get a bit twitchy if it isn’t by my side. But I’m not one of those people who doesn’t consult anyone before switching over. I will ask first.

What was the last programme or film that made you cry?

I do cry at a lot of things. The last time I got really choked up was at the read-through for the film of Henry IV – part of the BBC’s Shakespeare season. Jeremy Irons was really very moving as the king and he had me tearful. If I’d been sitting at home, I would have fully blubbed.

What makes you angry?

That there’s not enough drama being made. We’ve got too many reality show’s but that’s probably just a fashion so I’m waiting for things to swing back. I also get very angry that vulnerable people appear in the audition stages of TV talent shows. I think it’s sad that people’s real vulnerabilities are being exploited. They simply shouldn’t be there.

What’s your TV snack of choice?

A bowl of muesli. It sounds very healthy but the truth is it would be a big bag of Kettle Chips if it wasn’t for the fact that these days they make my tongue sore.

Have you ever been star struck by anyone?

Meryl Streep. When I first met her, I was struggling to behave normally because all I could think was, “Oh my God, it’s Meryl Streep!” But despite her powerful position in Hollywood, she was a proper, down-to-warth working actor. And very family-orientated, too, which was refreshing.

Have you Googled yourself?

I only did when I was writing my autobiography and had to look up certain dates. But otherwise I wouldn’t want to see some of the things people write. There was one story that I had recorded an answerphone message as Mrs Overall for Meryl Streep. Completely untrue! She hadn’t even seen Acorn Antiques.

Have you ever been in a restaurant and asked for “two soups”?

People are forever shouting it at me so I don’t think I could actually say it, even if I wanted some soup.


1. Coronation Street or EastEnders?
Coronation Street

2. Chris Moyles or Chris Evans?
Chris Moyles

3. The X Factor or Strictly?

4. Jamie Oliver or Gordon Ramsay?
Jamie Oliver

5. Graham Norton or Alan Carr?
Graham Norton

Julie Walters is in The Last of the Haussmans at the National Theatre.


She also plays Mistress Quickly in The Hollow Crown: Henry IV, tonight at 9pm on BBC2.