Retirement just isn’t in my plans, says actress Lesley Joseph

Ellie Iorizzo, PA Senior Entertainment Reporter

Sun, 21 August 2022 at 3:53 pm

British actress Lesley Joseph told how she has no plans to retire as learning lines keeps her brain young while performing keeps her supple.

The Birds Of A Feather star, 76, who was the oldest Strictly Come Dancing contestant in 2016, is taking on a new challenge in the form of Celebrity MasterChef.

She told the Sunday Express magazine: “Sometimes I can’t believe how old I am because I’ve got so much energy.

Strictly Come Dancing 2016
Lesley Joseph and Anton Du Beke during the live show of Strictly Come Dancing (Guy Levy/BBC/PA)

“There’s nothing I can’t do now that I could do when I was in my 40s. I’m fit as a flea, to be honest, and I love doing yoga.

“Retirement just isn’t in my plans, learning lines keeps my brain young and performing keeps my body fit.

“There are also a few other things I would like to do before I retire.”

Despite taking on Celebrity Coach Trip with Linda Robson and learning how to parasail, paddle board and go-kart, Joseph revealed Celebrity MasterChef was one of the most nerve-wracking things she has done.

She said: “It is scary. The worst thing about MasterChef is standing there waiting to be criticised.

“But I’ve done a few things that take me out of my comfort zone, including Strictly, so I quite like a challenge.

MasterChef
John Torode and Gregg Wallace present Celebrity MasterChef (BBC/PA)

“There is a part of me that is competitive. I’m competitive with myself, rather than with other people.

“If I think I can do well in something, I get really cross with myself if I get it wrong. With shows like Strictly and MasterChef, I want to do the best I can and have fun.”

She added that judges John Torode and Gregg Wallace were “fantastic” and “very kind” during the process.

The actress, who currently stars as Sister Mary Lazarus in Sister Act: The Musical alongside Beverley Knight and Jennifer Saunders, is best known for playing Dorien Green in TV sitcom Birds Of A Feather.

Reflecting on the show’s success, which ran on and off from 1989 to 2020, she said: “Right time, right place. It was the first sitcom of its kind that focused on women, and people loved Tracey and Sharon.

Birds Lesley Joseph
Birds Of A Feather actress Lesley Joseph says she has no plans to retire (PA)

“But my character, Dorien Green, had the high heels, the short skirts, the big hair, the jewellery and the long nails and somehow she became a bit of an icon.”

Speaking about her character’s “iconic” outfits, she said: “I’ve also still got the dress I wore when I sang Madonna’s Like A Virgin on the show.

“I’m not ready to get rid of them so I’m officially a fashion hoarder.”

After a final Christmas special in 2020, Joseph bade farewell to the character, confirming the show is unlikely to make a comeback on TV screens.

“I don’t think we will, no. At my age, I don’t know how much longer I have in this business.

“I’m still ambitious, but I know my time is limited so I would rather do something I’ve never done before,” she added.

Published by anthonyhayble

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