Joanna Lumley has a forthright opinion on everything from TV to politics but prepare to be won over, writes Michael Deacon.
By Michael Deacon
Published: 11:13PM BST 09 Apr 2010
‘I think our politicians should be paid top dollar, and be absolutely scorchingly good,” says Joanna Lumley, in that unmistakably Lumley-ish way of hers, bursting with the zest of a Famous Five adventure.
“The fact that heads of TV stations get eight times more than the Prime Minister — I don’t know if that’s right. I think politicians should be the boiling people, because they represent us.
Boiling is an adjective she uses in a lot of different senses – in recent interviews she has applied it to children who watch The X Factor, the young Martin Amis and the war in Darfur – but here she means she wants MPs who are robust, dynamic, furiously bright. Well, MPs will need to be all those things, if they are ever again confronted by a rampaging Lumley.
Meeting at the offices of ITV in central London, we are here to discuss the former Absolutely Fabulous star’s new travel series, Joanna Lumley’s Nile (which starts on Monday), but talk inevitably moves on to other subjects.
Shortly before our interview, Kevan Jones, the Defence Minister, criticised Lumley for what he called her “deathly silence” since the success of her campaign a year ago to give more Gurkha veterans the right to settle in Britain. “I don’t know what he was talking about,” says Lumley. “He was speaking with parliamentary privilege, which apparently means you can say whatever you like and nobody can get back at you.”
The article ends with:
“There’s a danger with these platforms I get put on, where one’s quoted [in the press],” she says. “I haven’t really earned this position in society to be able to yap on.” She flashes a wicked smile. “But yap on I do.”
Isn’t that so true of most celebrities?