Call the Midwife: Jenny Agutter on working with Miriam Margolyes

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Miriam Margolyes, 80, believes her own voice is “irritatingly posh” so she gives herself a Scottish accent, as “it’s much nicer for” people. The actress said her Scottish accent is “more agreeable”, as her posh voice can put people off talking to her.

I don’t want to be posh.

Miriam Margolyes

Speaking on Richard Herring’s Leicester Square Theatre podcast, the Call The Midwife star said: “When I was growing up, I was born in Oxford which is why I have this very irritatingly posh voice.

“I don’t want to be posh, I just am. I decided that I had to find another voice in order to be able to be agreeable to people because I think that a very posh voice puts you off people.

“So I borrowed the other bit of me which is the Scottish bit, which I always heard growing up with my father so that I can just put on a Scottish accent.

“It just comes out like that, it’s very easy.”

She continued: “If I’m in the street and I want to know the time or where the bus stop is or whatever I just go up to people and say [in a Scottish accent] ‘Excuse me, sorry to bother you, but where’s the bus stop here?’ It’s much nicer for them.”

The actress said she changes her voice to make herself more approachable.

Miriam has been promoting her new book This Much is True, with the book full of outspoken revelations from the actress.

Talking about her autobiography to Graham Norton last month, she said: “I am not a writer; I am an actress but because I have said some rude things on this show people know who I am.

“I don’t want just to be a mouth that says dirty things – I am more than that.

“I am a serious, thinking person and I care about the world and the people in it, and I wanted that in the book, so you get the whole person.”

Speaking about the process of writing the book, Miriam said: “Looking back on my life made me sad but mostly it was glorious.

“I was remembering my life which has been lovely, and I have been very lucky. It was good to do and Covid made it possible.”

Miriam is best-known in recent years for appearing as Professor Sprout in two of the Harry Potter films and Call The Midwife, but the acting royalty also has an extensive list of TV and film credits to her name.

She’s famed for her role in The Age Of Innocence, for which she won best supporting actress at the BAFTAs.

Miriam is also known for her outspoken personality, having recently hit out at Carry On star Terry Scott as the “nastiest man” she had ever worked with.

Writing in her book, she shared her experiences from her early years as an actress.

She started, in an extract serialised by the Daily Mail, by speaking fondly of her time at Cambridge, saying it “gave her everything she has”.

But she also said that her worst time was when she was introduced to the Footlights who didn’t take to her at all, according to the actress.

“When I say ‘they’, I refer to a most distinguished group: John Cleese, Graham Chapman, Bill Oddie, Humphrey Barclay (later Head of Comedy at LWT), Tony Hendra and Tim Brooke-Taylor.

“The only girl in the show, I was a pert little madam and thought I was as good as they were — and they didn’t.

“My perception was that they thought I was a jumped-up, pushy, overconfident, fat little Jew.

“But I was funny, and they didn’t like it.”

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