TV

Gavin & Stacey’s Alison Steadman ‘excited’ to play a ‘horrible woman’

Gavin & Stacey star Alison Steadman has taken on a completely different role for her latest TV project, which focusses on sexual impropriety in the workplace.

Alison, 75, will play Anita, a cold-hearted board member of a company that her late husband had founded – a far-cry from the warm, comedic characters fans are used to seeing her portray.

The new drama that is set to air on BBC One and BBC iPlayer in 2022 will focus on sexual politics in the workplace, following on from the Harvey Weinstein scandal and #MeToo movement.

The drama that is set in the North West of England also stars former EastEnders actress, Rakhee Thakrar and Maxine Peak.

Discussing her new role, Alison told the Daily Star: "Rules of The Game is amazing and very complex, I was quite amazed by it, I play a really horrible woman, for me, that was quite exciting for me as an actor because I normally play quite funny and likeable women, so to be offered this role was great."

Opening up about the role and what she learned, she explained: "You realise how these strong characters who own these huge companies can handle their staff and cover things over and not be honest and it grows and grows, like a disease, once you don't apply the ointment it gets worse and then someone else gets infected by the germ, so it goes on.

"Even the best people find themselves saying 'well ok, I won't go to the police and I won't report this or I will go along with it.'"

Alison admitted that the four-part drama was "very clever" and she "loved" taking part opposite Maxine.

In recent times, singer Rebecca Ferguson has called for an entertainment industry watchdog after claiming she was forced to work while ill and claims that entertainment bosses are known for covering things up.

Backing Rebecca, Alison told us: "I think there should be something, a bit like childline for young actors to get in touch and say I'm not sure about this, is this right, should I report this?'"

But she does believe that the industry has changed from when she started as a young actor in 1971.

She said: "I think it has improved a lot over the years, when I was quite young, some men would think it was perfectly ok to come up and grab your bum and talk to you and say really vulgar, rude things, especially when they had a few drinks.

"As a young person I used to go 'I'm not listening' and walk away, but in some situations, I could see getting really upsetting and scary for someone

There should be somewhere to go and say 'help me, this isn't right'".

Rules of The Games writer, Ruth Fowler admits that the subject of the programme will document 'many women's experiences'.

After partnering with Omaze to raise funds for Childline, Alison revealed she was horrified after hearing that calls to the service received 23 per cent more calls during the lockdown period.

She said: "The whole thing of children being abused or neglected, parents not caring or indeed being cruel has always been something that horrified me, it's always upset me, just the thought of it."

Alison continued: "To have something like Childline, that link, for some children it saves their lives."

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