Pam Ferris takes Saga Magazine's Grown-up Test

Julie Woodgate / 20 March 2012

As Sister Evangelina in Call the Midwife and vicious Miss Trunchbull in Matilda, Pam Ferris has charmed us adults – and terrified children. But what has she learnt in over the years?

If your teenage self could see you now, she’d say…

Smarten up! I was very interested in clothes when young. Now I’m a fan of fleece and corduroy.

What music gets you on the dance floor?

Bangla – it’s really fast.

Do you remember people’s names?

I’m dreadful – can’t do faces either, but I’m good at dogs. I identify people by their dogs.

What’s in your handbag?

I've disciplined myself with a small bag: mobile, pen, keys (I sometimes forget those), glasses, a papier-mâché mush of receipts, Kindle.

iPad or notepad?

My MacBook Pro and Kindle do me fine.

Three things you can’t live without?

Magnifying mirror – I don’t want to be that old lady in the Post Office with a beard – my really good kitchen knife and Radio 4.

Prefer being cared for or caring for others?

I’m a bit of a carer – I’ve looked after my mum and my mother-in-law.

Good in a crisis?

Very. I’m a policeman’s daughter. I take charge.

Fortnum’s or farmers’ market?

Oh, definitely farmers’ market. I’m an enthusiastic volunteer at my local market.

Worst bit of filming Call the Midwife?

The bone-shaker bike, on big deep cobbles in a long nun’s habit and with a loose seat that kept tipping backwards. I had to avoid the ruts, maintain a safe distance from the camera car, try not to kill any extras – and remember my lines.

And the best?

Oh, the newborn babies. The whole set went quiet. The crew whispered as they set up the shots. Beautiful.

Your epitaph?

I don’t want one – because I don’t want a grave. I simply want to fall over in my own garden and become compost.

Verdict: Pam, we first fell for you as the warm, caring Ma Larkin in The Darling Buds of May, in the early Nineties. For that reason we put you at around 47.

Discover more about Pam's career on IMDB

This article first appeared in the March 2012 issue of Saga Magazine. Subscribe to the print edition or download the digital edition for this and more great articles delivered direct to you every month.


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