Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)

Pemberley (Lyme Park, Cheshire)
Oh, to be in England...

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Julia Sawalha- Actor of the Week

Julia Sawalha
Julia Sawalha is a bit of a chameleon actress so I thought I would highlight her this week as my actor of the week.  Many people who have seen her in various roles don't realize that it is the same actress.

Julia Sawalha as Dorcas Lane in Lark Rise to Candleford
She did a wonderful job as Dorcas Lane, the wise and wonderful Postmistress in Lark Rise to Candleford. Her costumes alone make the show worth watching, but it so much more. 40 episodes of great stories, acting and period costumes and sets. Loverly!

Julia Sawalha as Lydia Bennet in Pride and Prejudice 1995 with Adrian Lukis as Wickham
I first became aware of Julia's talents when I saw her in Pride and Prejudice 1995 as Lydia Bennet/Wickham. Although she was much older at the time than Lydia's 15 years, she easily captured the energetic ditziness of the character. "Ooooh, I want to go to Brighton!"

Julia Sawalha as Saffron (Saffy) Monsoon with Jennifer Saunders as her wacky mother Edina in AbFab
As long suffering daughter Saffy in Absolutely Fabulous Julia really gets to use her vast comedic talents. How she keeps a straight face while Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley bounce their way through the episodes of AbFab is beyond me. I would be rolling on the floor! Edina and Patsy...what a pair!

Julia Sawalha as Miss Jessie Brown in Cranford
Ever a sucker for a bonnet fest, Julia also played the spinster daughter Jessie of Captain Brown (Jim Carter) in Cranford. She wasn't afraid of being portrayed as an older single lady who had "lost her bloom". Great story line for this character I thought.

Ginger in Chicken Run voiced by Julia Sawalha
If you didn't recognize her as Ginger in Chicken Run you would certainly be forgiven. I love the way she is wielding that fork!

Here is a quote from BBC Entertainment : Ironically, Julia Sawalha has taken a fancy to living like her ‘Lark Rise to Candleford’ alter ego. Well, not quite. But a few years back she ditched her urban London pad in favour of rural living and growing her own vegetables. The 40-year-old actress now lives in a West Country cottage and believes that countryside dwellers are much happier and polite than their city-based counterparts. "It took me two years to realise that if someone smiled at me in the corner shop, it was just to be friendly, not because they wanted something," explained Julia, who now finds it "weird" walking down busy city high streets, where there are "people with their bad manners, barging into you". How very Dorcas Lane of her!

Julia Sawalha claims she likes costume dramas because she likes dressing up.

And here is one from BBC TV blog by Pam Downe costume designer:  Julia Sawalha, who plays Dorcas, has a particularly malleable waist and I find it amazing how small a waist we managed to achieve with her.  Julia loved to wear her corset. Most of the cast found them uncomfortable and wanted to take them off at lunch time to have more freedom.  The only problem was that they then had to put them back on again and wear them for another five hours which they found even harder to take. 

Here's hoping that Julia keeps dressing up in corsets and entertaining us for years to come. It may take a good script to lure her away from her cottage in Somerset!

Anyone interested in seeing her on Who Do You Think You Are, researching her Jordanian and French Huguenot ancestry can find it on YouTube via my link above.

Lark Rise to Candleford: Complete CollectionPride and Prejudice (Restored Edition)Absolutely Fabulous: Complete Series 1Cranford: The Collection (Cranford / Return to Cranford)Chicken Run


  1. Thanks--I'm a Julia fan myself, and I covet her Dorcas Lane wardrobe. She is the best dressed postmistress in England!

  2. That was absolutely great! I didn't realize she was in Cranford....oh my...or Chicken Run for that matter. Wow she is versatile. And yes that absolutely tiny waist don't I wish I had that. Those costumes are absolutely gorgeous that she wears as Dorcas. I tend to agree with her sensibilities about country living. Suzan

  3. and what about Martin Chuzzelwit?! and Press Gang

  4. Hi Jenny:

    Have you heard of this one? Can't wait!

  5. I really enjoy Julia's performances. She is not the stereotypical beauty. I consider that to be a plus.

  6. Yes, Martin Chuzzlewit, also. :)

    And she's in Hornblower as well - though I've yet to watch these particular episodes:

    Oh, and I love her as Dorcas Lane - just wonderful - I'm still upset that they axed it.


  7. Wow, lots of Julia fans!

    @Jane and Suzan- Wouldn't we all love to wear her dresses (although she's really little-I'd need a pretty strong corset...)

    @anonymous- I just looked up Martin Chuzzlewit on IMDb and it's rated really well. How did I miss that one??? Thanks for the tip. Anyone else seen it? Sounds like she was really young on Press Gang. Was that good?

    @LRK- Yes she was actually Mrs. Horatio Hornblower (Maria Mason as was) in that series. I watched a few of those and never really got into it, but maybe I should watch the ones with Julia. Ioan Gruffudd is pretty darn cute so I bet they make a great pair.

  8. @Mary- She does have a unique look doesn't she, and yet she looks totally different as Saffy than as Lydia or Dorcas. Great actress!

    @Olga- I have heard rumblings about Austenland, based on Shannon Hale's novel. I think there truly should be an Austen theme park where one can search for the perfect man! And Keri Russell (Felicity) should be great and JJ Feild (Mr. Tilney) is quite yummy. Anyone else know Bret McKenzie from either Flight of the Conchords or Lord of the Rings (FIGWIT)?

  9. I've seen Martin Chuzzlewit - and I think it's very good, also regarded as an adaptation (I'm a Dickens fan, so... ) Some really great performances from - for instance - Tom Wilkinson as Pecksniff, and Pete Postlethwaite. Julia plays one of Pecksniff's daughters, who is a bit Lydia-like - but her story turns out quite differently; and really, the husband she gets in this one makes Wickham look like a saint... She is one of the minor characters - well, this is Dickens so there are a lot of characters :) - but she does a very good job with her role - as usual. :)





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