'I giggle too much'
Brenda Blethyn, 66, was born Brenda Bottle in Ramsgate, Kent.
She worked as a secretary for British Rail and did amateur dramatics before going to drama school at the age of 27.
In 1980, she was cast by Mike Leigh in the BBC flick Grown-Ups and later starred in the same director's 1996 flick Secret & Lies, a role that earned her an Oscar nomination.
She was also Oscar-nominated for her performance in the 1998 flick Little Voice.
She has appeared at the National Theatre and on Broadway, and stars as DCI Vera Stanhope in the ITV series Vera, which begins a second season on 22 April.
When were you happiest?
I hope that time hasn't come yet.
What is your earliest memory?
Standing with my mother in Ramsgate.
I was counting the buttons on my leggings and they went under the straps on my shoes and I was wondering whether I should count those, too.
I was three.
Which living person do you most admire, and why?
An old tutor at Guildford School of Acting – Ian Ricketts.
He is a wonderfully inspiring man.
What is your most treasured possession?
I have some pipe cleaners wrapped with my mother's hair – she used to curl her hair with them.
Who would play you in the flick of your life?
I don't think you'd find anyone who'd want to take on the part.
What is your most unappealing habit?
I giggle too much.
To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?
A girl at school we used to make fun of sometimes.
What or who is the greatest love of your life?
My husband, Michael.
What was the best kiss of your life?
If I say yesterday, that will give my husband something to worry about.
Who would you invite to your dream dinner party?
Charles Dickens, Timothy Spall and his wife, Doris Day, William Boyd and Joan Rivers.
What is the worst job you've done?
Washing up in a hotel in Ramsgate when I was 17.
What has been your biggest disappointment?
I was really disappointed not to be auditioned for Pride & Prejudice, but then they changed their minds and I got the part of Mrs Bennet.
If you could edit your past, what would you change?
I would have studied harder at school.
I left at 17.
If you could go back in time, where would you go?
To 1910 or 1920, to see what it was like when Mum and Dad were growing up.
How often do you have sex?
What is the closest you've come to death?
When I last had sex!
What do you consider your greatest achievement?
Being able to pay the bills at the end of the week still.
What keeps you awake at night?
Worrying about my windows – they put the wrong ones in and they have all got to come out.
What song would you like played at your funeral?
That would have to be the choice of my husband.
How would you like to be remembered?
Where would you most like to be right now?
On the Princess Matilda, my friend's boat in Ramsgate.
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