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We want to show the fun's not over for women our age ; day 7TV treats of the week

September 1, 2013


Pat and Cabbage (ITV, Thursday, 8.30pm) IT'S almost as though the roles of Pat and Cabbage were written specially for Barbara Flynn and Cherie Lunghi. After all, there's nobody more qualified to play two sixtysomething women with a spice for life than two sixtysomething women with a spice for life.

ITV's new comedy sees Pat (Barbara) and Cabbage (Cherie) single for the first time in decades - one's divorced, one's widowed - and they decide 7TV the they're going to live life to the full.

They're certainly not going to grow old gracefully ... and they're driving their grown-up children to despair.

Cherie says she certainly didn't find it too difficult to get into character.

At 61, she is in the prime of her life and she can empathise with Cabbage.

"I identify totally with her because I'm that age. I absolutely understand where she is in the journey and how she feels," says the actress who, currently single and in no hurry to find love again, is more interested in simply enjoying life.

One of her greatest enjoyments is indulging in a spot of painting.

treats of "It's a contrast, because I'm usually out every day working and it's a team sport, you're out with colleagues working as a group, so it's quite nice to do something a bit solitary and quiet," she says.

week Born to an Italian father and English mother in Nottingham, Cherie's prolific 49-year career began with dreams of becoming a ballerina "like lots of little girls of my generation", she says.

But her star wasn't destined for dance (although it would allow for a small stint of rather fancy footwork in Strictly Come Dancing in 2008).

Her breakthrough acting role came when she was cast as Guinevere in John Boorman's 1981 movie Excalibur. She has since had TV roles in The Manageress, Casualty, Secret Diary Of A Call Girl, Cutting It, Starlings and The Brief.

She struck gold when she scored those memorable Kenco coffee adverts during the 90s.

"It was a very nice time of my life. I enjoyed it, I travelled with it and it paid very well.

"It's every actor's dream getting a commercial like that because we're so self-employed and unemployed," she says.

"I was on every night on people's screens in their homes, so it did make my face familiar to people, and of course it was very good for women.

"It showed women to be capable and smart and good at what they do, so I was happy to do it for that reason."

These days, Cherie is able to cherry-pick her projects, and she knows a good script when she sees one.

"I just thought Pat & Cabbage was wonderful because I don't know if anyone's really writing about women of our age in this situation," says Cherie, whose 27-year-old daughter Nathalie, from her previous relationship with film director Roland Joffe, is also an actress.

"We get women of my age playing detectives and managerial women in the workplace, but actually looking at women's lives at this age, and what's available to them and what they're going to do with the rest of their lives... the fun's not over!" She notes there's one scene in particular that's sure to be as memorable to watch as it was to film.

"Me on a trampoline!" she exclaims. Cherie may be in her 60s, but she's still full of bounce.

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