Redman has new tricks up her sleeve ; She's spent 10 years playing straight-talking DS Sandra Pullman in New Tricks, but now Amanda Redman tells SOPHIE HERDMAN that she's ready to move on
IT'S Friday evening and Amanda Redman is about to meet friends for a drink.
But first, duty calls - in the form of an interview ahead of the tenth series of the BBC's hit police drama New Tricks.
It also happens to be Redman's final series, before she's replaced by Tamzin Outhwaite.
How does she feel about the fact she'll no longer be DS Sandra Pullman? It did feel strange at first and I was quite sad, the 55- year-old actress admits. It was 10 years of my life, that's a long time.
She's not the only one to depart during this series. Alun Armstrong, who plays Brian Lane, also says goodbye, to be replaced by Nicholas Lyndhurst (aka Rodney Trotter), leaving Dennis Waterman, who plays Gerry Standing, as the only original member of the line- up.
While Redman has enjoyed her time on New Tricks - she says it's been a joy to work on and she'll miss her friends very much - it's clear she's ready for a new challenge.
It's very easy to get too comfortable, and being comfy isn't a good thing, she confides. Security isn't what being an actor is about, and it's easy to lose sight of that.
Like her on-screen alter ego, Redman is ambitious and hard- working. The actress watches all of her performances, so that she can learn from her mistakes, and follows a strict exercise regime, spending two hours a day, five days a week, working out - when filming doesn't scupper her routine. She's also, she says, a straight talker like her character. But there's one big difference between Redman and DS Sandra Pullman.
I have a family and a life outside of my job, which she doesn't, says the actress, laughing. But balancing the two hasn't always been easy, she admits.
She is now married to Damian Schnabel, who isn't in the industry, but for eight years she was previously married to actor Robert Glenister, with whom she had a daughter, Emily.
As a mum with a young kid it was very difficult when Emily was younger, she recalls.
Despite this, she managed to hold down a successful TV career, starring in the likes of The Blonde Bombshell, Dangerfield, Honest and Little Dorrit.
In 2000 she landed the lead role of Alison Braithwaite in At Home With The Braithwaites, a comedy-drama series about a woman whose life is turned upside down when she wins the lottery. She worked on that for three years before starting New Tricks.
Emily, now in her mid 20s, has followed in her footsteps to become an actress, and has even worked with Redman on At Home With The Braithwaites and New Tricks.
How does she feel about her daughter's career choice? It's a tough industry, so as long as it makes her happy I'm happy, but it's her life so it's got to be her decision, she says.
Redman confesses she's offered a few tips here and there, but points out that her daughter isn't exactly lacking in showbiz role models.
As well as her parents, she has Life On Mars and Ashes To Ashes star Philip Glenister for an uncle, and her grandfather John Glenister was a TV director.
Family gatherings were always just talking shop, Redman recalls. She knows the industry inside out, so she knew the pitfalls.
Of course, there are bonuses to acting too. Redman has enjoyed more than three decades of relatively steady work, and last year she was awarded an MBE for her services to drama and charity. Having been badly scalded by an accident involving a pan of boiling soup when she was just 15 months old, which left her badly scarred on one arm, Redman is a patron of the burns research charity Blond McIndoe Research Foundation.
She also spends her weekends running Artists' Theatre School, a drama school she founded in 1995 after becoming fed up with working with young people who were more concerned about being famous than being actors.
A few of us thought we'd set up a school to instil the love of acting in them, but we have people from a very young age to grown- ups, she says.
Up next, she's playing Tommy Cooper's wife in a film detailing the love triangle between the comedian, his wife and his mistress, with Shameless's David Threlfall playing Cooper.
It was fabulous, says Redman. It's quite an emotional script but obviously it's got lots of comedy too.
The actress, who says she's a fan of The Returned and The Fall, is on the lookout for some gritty plotlines too.
That's what I like watching really. It's not that I don't like comedy, I do, but I think there are very few good ones.
She's also planning to kick-start her exercise regime. I'm afraid I've gone to pot with that, she admits, but it will come back - I hope! ? New Tricks returns to BBC1 on Tuesday at 9pm.
Redman was honoured with an MBE.
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