BAFTA TV Awards 2020 winner: Glenda Jackson reveals why she returned to acting after 23 years

The BAFTA-winning actress told comedian Tom Allen that she came to tread the boards once more "quite by chance".

Glenda Jackson

Oscar-winning actress Glenda Jackson has explained how and why she returned to our screens after spending 23 years as an MP.

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The 84-year-old, who won Leading Actress BAFTA for her performance in BBC One’s Elizabeth is Missing, told Tom Allen during the pre-BAFTA livestream that her return to acting happened “quite by chance”.

“I left being an MP and the first thing I did was for BBC Radio and then I was asked to do a play and I did the play, and I did another play in New York and then the script for Elizabeth is Missing arrived,” she said.

“It is, I think, such a privilege to be allowed to participate in something I have been beefing on about for quite a period of time, how do we care for ourselves when we get to the stage where these illnesses try to take over,” she added.

Jackson portrayed 80-year-old Maude in Elizabeth is Missing, a drama about a grandmother living with Alzheimer’s disease who is forced to investigate the disappearance of her friend whilst dealing with her memory loss.

The award-winning actress has previously won a BAFTA for her role in 1972 film Sunday Bloody Sunday and two Academy Awards for 1971’s Women in Love and 1974’s A Touch of Class.

In 1992, Jackson retired from acting to stand in that year’s general election and was voted the Labour MP for Hampstead and Highgate. She retired from politics in 2015 and took a role in Radio 4 play Blood, Sex and Money.

Speaking about being nominated this year, Jackson said: “Well it’s always a surprise, I mean a pleasant surprise.”

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“The real thing about Elizabeth is Missing is that it is such a wonderful book and the script is great and it is such a privilege really to appear in it because what it deals with is something that is being suffered by an increasing number of people because even despite the COVID pandemic, we are as a society living longer and how do we deal with these kinds of illnesses that have accompanied us on our longer road?”

The Virgin Media BAFTA TV Awards screened on Friday, 31st July on BBC One. Watch them now on BBC iPlayer.
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