EastEnders actress tells all about playing Agatha Christie in Derbyshire

Lin Blakley in Murder, Margaret and Me. Photo by Craig Sugden.
Lin Blakley in Murder, Margaret and Me. Photo by Craig Sugden.

Actress Lin Blakley is best known to TV soap fans as undertaker's wife Pam Coker in EastEnders.

Apart from a fleeting return to Albert Square last week, she's been missing from the fictional suburb of Walford for a number of months.

The reason for her absence is that she's been rehearsing to play Agatha Christie on stage.

Lin stars as the Queen of Crime in Murder, Margaret and Me which is at Derby Theatre this week.

The play highlights the unlikely friendship between Agatha and famed actress Margaret Rutherford (played by Sarah Parks). In the early sixties, these two national treasures were the creative force behind one of British cinema’s most successful franchises. But the Miss Marple movies were almost never made….

Lin said: "Murder, Margaret and Me is about two women who are extremely famous in their own right, who at first meeting, didn’t exactly care for one another. We see how over the years they grew to have a huge respect for one another and became firm friends."

Lin Blakley (playing Agatha Christie) and Sarah Parks (Margaret Rutherford) in Murder, Margaret and Me. Photo by Craig Sugden.

Lin Blakley (playing Agatha Christie) and Sarah Parks (Margaret Rutherford) in Murder, Margaret and Me. Photo by Craig Sugden.

She prepared for the role by reading and researching Agatha's life which she found colourful and interesting. "I knew Agatha's writing and remember many years ago seeing The Mousetrap," said Lin. "Now I think I should read more of her books."

The play contains humour, drama and poignant moments which will entertain young and old members of the audience. Lin said: "If we do our job properly, they take away more understanding of how remarkable these two women really were, and what a huge impact they have made in literature, film and television."

Lin hasn't toured for 14 years but relishes the opportunity to explore new locations. She said: "The biggest thing for me is going to different parts of this beautiful Great Britain that you probably wouldn't think of visiting. You end up thinking 'why haven't I been here before?' because the place is stunning and has great people there too."

When asked whether her role in EastEnders prepared her for Murder, Margaret and Me, Lin said: "Well there was lots of mystery and sleuthing for Pam, wondering what Les was getting up to in the afternoon. Little did she know he was cross-dressing!"

Lin Blakley in Murder, Margaret and Me. Photo by Craig Sugden.

Lin Blakley in Murder, Margaret and Me. Photo by Craig Sugden.

Popping back to EastEnders, doing more television and theatre shows are Lin's hopes for the future. She said: "I'm greedy, I want to do it all. Please God I will."

Murder, Margaret and Me runs at Derby Theatre from Thursday, November 14 to Saturday, November 16. Tickets from £15. Go to www.derbytheatre.co.uk or call 01332 59 39 39.

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