Liza Goddard has rarely been off our TVs in the last few decades and is considered UK TV royalty. She is now touring with a new adaptation of Sherlock Holmes: The Final Curtain with fellow TV and stage veteran Robert Powell.
Here she tells us what she thinks of the play, touring and her thoughts on Sherlock Holmes.
What drew you to Sherlock Holmes: The Final Curtain?
The only thing you can ever do is read something and think whether or not you like it and if you can see yourself doing it. I just thought this was a fabulous play and it’s always exciting to do a completely new play like this, especially one that is so well-written. Also I’m mad fan of Sherlock Holmes stories.
How would you sum up Mary Watson as she’s portrayed in the play?
She’s cracking. She’s a woman at just the beginning of the 20th century so she’s a suffragette and she believes in the power of women, women’s rights and so forth. She has a strong sense of feeling for family, plus loyalty and strength. It’s a really good, meaty part to play and interesting how the characters all brought back together – plus, I realise now, very hard to talk about without giving too much away.
Why do you think Holmes and his adventures have proven so enduring?
The story is a good puzzle and they also give you all the clues, then Holmes works it out from those clues. They’re just marvellous stories and great escapism. They employ your brain, which is why we all love detective fiction, isn’t it? It’s because the old grey cells get a good workout.
Why do you think theatre audiences love a good mystery?
For the reasons I’ve just mentioned really. You’ll find people in the interval going ‘Did you suss that?’ and talking about clues. It’s wonderful to have that shared experience with a mystery. That’s why the Agatha Christies are always so popular because she’s the same – she gives you all the clues and she doesn’t cheat, not like when someone goes ‘Oh, I had this clue up my sleeve all the time’ and it’s a clue you haven’t been given. That’s always disappointing, but the great writers
don’t do that – they give you all the clues and if you have a great brain like Sherlock Holmes you can work it out for yourself.
What do you most enjoy about touring with a show?
I like going to different places, which I’m quite used to now of course, and appearing in different theatres playing to different audiences. Robert and I like to go out at least one day a week when we’re touring together to an exhibition or for a walk in the country to make sure we make the most of where we are. [Laughs] I should do a guide really of things to do in each town.
What’s the one thing you couldn’t be on tour without?
My own pillow because otherwise I think ‘Good God, how many heads have been on this?’ Also I like a feather and down pillow and they don’t often have those anymore.
Given the many varied things you’ve done, what are you most recognised for when you meet people?
Often it’s Give Us A Clue and Bergerac, which is being shown again at the moment so that comes up a lot. It depends how old people are because I’ve had different successes in different decades and if you’re in a particular town it’s because they’ve seen you in the show there, which is lovely.
The tour calls at Rose Theatre Kingston. Does it have any significance for you?
That’s the one venue on the tour I’ve never played so I’m looking forward to it. My granny used to take me to the Marshall & Snellgrove department store there to get my school uniform when we lived in Farnham, but I don’t know anything else about Kingston so it’ll be a voyage of discovery.
Sherlock Holmes: The Final Curtain.
Rose Theatre Kingston
Mon 14 -Sat 19 May.
Tickets and more information here
Interview with Robert Powell here