Sarah Lancashire on how performing new Talking Heads monologue was the ‘opportunity of a lifetime’

Lancashire is performing in An Ordinary Woman, one of two brand new monologues for the revived Talking Heads series.

Sarah Lancashire in Talking Heads (BBC)

Most of the monologues that appear in BBC One’s upcoming revival of Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads will already be familiar to viewers, having been performed in the original series back in the ’80s and ’90s.

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But in addition to new versions of the older episodes, two scripts are being performed for TV for the first time – as Sarah Lancashire and Monica Dolan take on two brand new roles written by Bennett.

Happy Valley star Lancashire has said that she was overjoyed to be asked to take on the role of Gwen in An Ordinary Woman, describing her part in the Talking Heads cast as ” the opportunity of a lifetime”.

“To be asked to perform a new Talking Head was beyond any expectation,” she said. “The matchless brilliance of Alan Bennett’s words coupled with the extraordinary wisdom of Nick Hytner’s direction made this a thrilling and quite simply unforgettable experience, and I’m enormously grateful.”

Lancashire described the new monologue as “a beautiful and achingly poignant portrait of Gwen, a complex and troubled woman in her middle years” and claimed that she’d long been a fan of Bennett’s work.

She added, “I own a copy of the original Talking Heads by Alan Bennett, which I purchased many years ago shortly after they were first broadcast.

“It’s been lovingly well-thumbed over the years. They are magnificent. A masterpiece.”

Alan Bennett’s Talking Heads begins on BBC One at 9pm on Tuesday 23rd June with a double-bill featuring Imelda Staunton in A Lady of Letters and Sarah Lancashire in An Ordinary Woman. All twelve Talking Heads will be available to stream as a boxset on BBC iPlayer.

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