I confess that I notice left-handed people all the time despite the fact that I am particularly right-handed but – whatever – you’ve got to hang an entry on something.
Julia Sawalha is famous for playing juveniles both when she was a juvenile and when she was well past that age.
She played fifteen year old Lydia in Pride and Prejudice when she was twenty seven and it didn’t seem wrong. So it was with a bit of shock when she turned up in the first episode of Cranford looking like she was in her late thirties (which she is). It was okay for me to say that but I felt that Sir Charles Maulver (played by Greg Wise) was a real meanie for saying so in her hearing.
For most people, Julia Sawalha is Lynda Day from Press Gang or Saffy from Absolutely Fabulous. I find AbFab rather tedious and it seems superfluous talking about great she is as the steely and caustic Junior Gazette editor. So I’ll talk about the two roles that I think she thoroughly shone in but don’t come instantly to mind when she’s mentioned: Ginger in Chicken Run and Carla in Jonathan Creek.
Chicken Run is a Nick Park creation which passes the Bechdel test with flying colours (pun intended). The voice acting is superb with Miranda Richardson quite marvellous as Mrs Tweedy. However, Julia holds it together as the leader of the hens who is not deterred by all the setbacks that beset her and her fellow inmates. She may be a little spiky in a Lynda Dayish way towards Rocky but she does exasperation so well.
Jonathan Creek‘s charm was partly due to the relationship between Jonathan and Maddie (Caroline Quentin) so when Quentin left it felt like the show was going to suffer. However, Julia was a delight and seemed to really enjoy the role-playing that being Jonathan’s sidekick demanded.
There is warmth, genuine niceness and an air of decency about her acting which I admire and enjoy. She is also splendidly shaped.
And I’ll be nice and forget she was ever in Second Thoughts which is a classic ITV sitcom. Classic that is in the sense of being entirely unfunny and atrociously acted by a cast that included James Bolam and Lynda Bellingham.
And here is the proof she is a lefty: