Linda Davidson has kindly shared her memories of playing Anita:
- How did you come to be cast in the series?
The director, Mike Stephens, I knew, so he called me and asked me to go in and have a chat with him about it, and so I did and that was that.
- Was it hard creating a character not in the parent series? How did you go about it?
I think it was much easier because they gave me a character Bible so I was able to work off that and then create it from scratch. I didn’t have the constraints of the original series, if you like, to tie me down to a characterisation, so I think it was easier rather than harder.
Was it difficult joining the series after it had started?
No because I knew some of the actors anyway. Like Judy Flynn for example, she’s been a mate for years. That was our third job together. She’s a lovely woman. She was in The House of Eliott and we did a Stephen Poliakoff play together, I can’t remember where we did it, it was a two handed play so it was quite exhausting, and Poliakoff tends to be very energetic and use articulation of women so it was an incredible play to do. I really enjoyed it and we lived together for all those months while we did that so it was a great experience.
- What are your memories of studio filming?
The interior sets were in the studio and they were amazing, phenomenal, and of course we recorded it in front of an audience which was terrifying.
- Which locations did you film at and what are your memories of location filming?
The rest of it was filmed up in Holmfirth where a woman that I lived with whilst I was at drama school lives, so I stayed there, which was really nice actually. In the cast hotel a couple of times, but I generally stayed with her and my godchildren.
- Can you tell us a bit more about the costumes, sets and vehicles used?
The Co-op set was incredible. The one thing that they do very well is the sets and costumes at the BBC. They really, really do. I did a couple of series of The House of Eliott as well and the whole detail on the period costumes for that were extraordinary. Similarly with this the detail on the period was phenomenal. With The House of Eliott, even right down to the underwear and the socks and things like that, they were all authentic. It was just amazing. I still get repeat fees from that you know.
First of the Summer Wine was a different era, different social class for want of a better word. The wig that I wore was awful, very mousy. And they altered my teeth as well, so my teeth looked quite bad, because apparently that whole thing of post war teeth, the colouring, made them look quite bad, decayed. Not all the cast had their teeth altered, some of the men they did. For my character, that was part of the characterisation as well.
- Do you think Anita eventually married Clegg?
Yes, she did. It was actually part of the character Bible. No other indication of what became of her character, I honestly don’t know.
- What are your memories of working with the older cast members? Peter Sallis, Maggie Ollerenshaw, Derek Benfield
Peter Sallis was always a really fabulous character. We stayed in touch until very recently. He came to my wedding and things like that, so we stayed in touch. He’s a laugh, a real laugh, a very dry sense of humour and a total gentleman.
I don’t know about doing scenes with them but I remember Maggie very well. She’s a case as well!
- Do you keep in touch with any of the cast?
Peter Sallis and Judy Flynn.
- Do you have a favourite memory and/or favourite episode?
I think the memories are always about the people, having a laugh with the girls, Judy in particular. I think going in front a studio audience is terrifying. And filming in front of that, the cast really came together for that. Peter went out at the front at the start of the filming every time. They had a warm up person but Peter then would go out because he’s much loved, he’s a British treasure isn’t he? And the audience really warmed to him so it was really easy to go on and film the scenes and for us to have a nice warm appreciative audience. It’s so long ago I can’t really remember! I think getting a laugh is always good and she was a funny character so getting a laugh is always quite good for an actor. You engineer that, time it right and it happens, and you can hear it bubbling up and it’s so exciting.
- What have you been doing since FOTSW ended?
Well there was an awful lot of theatre and West End and stuff. I stopped working as an actor in 1997 and I now work in digital technology, and have done since then and I’m at Channel 4 now. (Digital technology means the technology that underpins what you see on the internet.)
Many thanks to Linda for providing this contribution and supporting the site.