Words by Christine Smith Pic © Featureflash, shutterstock.com
She may be one of the country’s most popular actresses but Pauline Quirke reveals she would never let work take over her life.
Very much putting her family first, the 55-year-old star says she sees herself as a wife and mum rather than a famous TV star. As soon as the front door is shut, it’s a case of cooking up some delicious family meals and spending time with her husband, Steve, and two children, Emily and Charlie, who are now grown up.
“Acting is my job but it’s not my life,” explains Pauline. “It really is a lovely job and I am very lucky but my family is the most important thing to me – first and foremost.”
And what makes working on Birds of a Feather so special, is the fact both hubby Steve and son Charlie work on the show. Steve is an executive producer working behind the scenes putting the hit comedy together, while Charlie plays Travis, Tracey’s son. “I’m lucky I work with them,” chuckles Pauline. “I just need to get the dog on next!”
But isn’t it tough being bossed around by her husband? Do they argue on set? Definitely not, says Pauline. Lesley Joseph and Linda Robson, who are sitting having coffee with Pauline as she chats, agree. “If anyone is telling anyone off it’s usually Charlie telling me and Linda off,” says Pauline, roaring with laughter as she does. “He knows the lines. His brain is only 20 years old and so of course he should know! Our old brains are full of years of Spritzers!”
As she chats, Pauline is brimming with happiness. Relaxed, full of life and a joy to be with, she loves being reunited with her two best friends, Linda and Lesley, as they film a new series of Birds of a Feather.
All three of them have been through births, marriages and deaths together. Money can’t buy the history they have shared, explains Pauline.
“We have been friends for years,” says the actress. “You can’t analyse it. We are good friends who work on a TV series together and that is how it is. It’s our history; our children were little when we first met and we are all so supportive of each other. Generosity and warmth in life is such a lovely thing. We are three mums who are having a ball.”
The new series of Birds of a Feather will pick up from where viewers left off. Dorien has agreed to stay in the house and the three women go about their chaotic lives. The new series will see one of the characters hit by a huge health scare – an idea suggested by the three actresses. “I don’t want to say too much, but there is a health scare,” says Pauline. “Then there is a huge revelation with Dorien. She has a secret that she’s kept from us for many years. We like to throw things out there. Without getting heavy with it, we want to deal with issues that happen to women of our age – or any age.”
All three stars were blown away by the amazing reaction from the public when Birds of a Feather returned to ITV last year. “All we can do is what we do,” says Pauline. “But we knew that people loved it when they came on the tour.
“It’s been great to do Birds, and Broadchurch which returns this year. I’ve also managed to be cheeky and get a holiday in between to Croatia and I’m off to Barbados soon, too!”
Given that she is so successful, we wonder if Pauline would ever contemplate retiring. She says she would like to one day. “I was talking about this the other night,” she muses. “I am coming up to retirement now and I would like to one day.”
The death of our Yours columnist Lynda Bellingham last year is a timely reminder that every day should be lived to the full, adds Lesley. “I’d known Lynda for 45 years. Cancer hits a lot of people so you have to relish each day.”
And fellow Birds’ co-star Linda adds she always makes sure she spends quality time with her granddaughter, Lyla, whenever she isn’t working. “It’s nice she is getting older and I love spending time with my husband and the children. I just love it,” adds Linda.
So what’s next for the three actresses? Would they like Birds of a Feather to return for another series after this one? "Definitely," reply all three in unison, sounding incredibly happy! “If it comes along, it comes along,” says Pauline of another series. “But if it doesn’t – well my house will be very clean!”
And with that parting shot, she roars with laughter and together with her two close friends, dashes off to put the finishing touches to what will undoubtedly be a brilliant new series of Birds of a Feather.
- Birds of a Feather is on ITV1 on Thursday evenings
Psst… Pauline shares a secret
Pauline has also been busy filming a new series of Broadchurch. She can’t give anything away but says writer Chris Chibnall has been incredibly clever in the way he has developed the second series. “I just can’t wait for it to return,” she adds. “The writer is a genius!”
There's more star chat in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday