She describes herself as “romantic,” but actress Susie Blake hasn’t dated anyone in more than 20 years.
The Coronation Street icon, 71, says she loves her life the way it is and can’t imagine falling in love again.
“I’m a romantic but I live alone,” says grandmother Susie, who was married to actor Martin Potter from 1978 to 1998.
“I’m perfectly happy living alone. I’m way too difficult. I haven’t gone out since 2000, I think. I like to watch an old romantic movie.
“I no longer see myself as involved. I had a nice, nice time. And I have a beautiful son and some stepdaughters living abroad.
“And I love to work. i love people It doesn’t occur to me that anyone else could share this life that I have. I love it so much.”
With a knack for landing roles on some of Britain’s most popular shows, Susie has a lot to look forward to.
She’s about to return the sitcom Mrs Brown’s Boys as posh mother-in-law Hilary Nicholson, or “Hitlery” as Brendan O’Carroll’s Agnes pronounces it.
“We’re going to do more in April and by then, if we’re lucky, we might have a live audience again,” she says.
“Filming Mrs Brown is an absolute pleasure.”
The actress is so busy that her appearance in the BBC hit means she has to take time out from her role in the stage show revival of Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em with Joe Pasquale.
And last month she was shooting with Dame Brenda Blethyn Kate and Koji and her new comedy Silky Hotel just came out on iPlayer.
Later this year she will bring the musical Fisherman’s Friend to the stage for the second time.
But remarkably, just two years ago, as the pandemic swept the world, the star feared her life was over.
Susie, who turned 70 in April 2020, even said goodbye to family and friends, confident that Covid-19 was going to finish her off.
“I’m so thankful I survived,” she says. “I’ve even had conversations with my family and said, ‘Look, if I’m going, just think about me…’
We’ve dealt with it. I was 70 and that was kind of a cut-off point.”
After the initial lockdown, Susie threw herself into work, appearing on Not Going Out with Lee Mack and the late Bobby Ball, who died of Covid months later.
Susie’s character had to kiss Lee and making the scene Covid-safe brought out a smile.
Susie said: “Lee played an old man, I was me. They had to bring a plastic umbrella for us to kiss, which was hysterical.”
Working and tending to her allotment garden near her home in London kept her sane, but she missed human contact.
She said: “I have two granddaughters. They were up last weekend. Holding people back is magical.”
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But she laughed, “If I had been locked in with someone, there would have been only one of us left at the end.”
Susie, whose cousin is Pollyanna actress Hayley Mills, loves creating memorable characters.
One of her most popular was Rovers landlady Bev Unwin on Coronation Street, who she played from 2003 to 2006, then reprized in 2015 to break the news that Deirdre Barlow had passed away following the death of actress Anne Kirkbride.
But Susie would never think about joining a soap opera again. “It’s a game for young men, or certainly middle-aged, and I’m over that.
“Theatre is more physically demanding because you’re bouncing around and traveling, but telling a story from start to finish is a lot easier than handling 15 episodes in a row. It’s really difficult and mentally exhausting.”
BBC Studios/Alan Peebles)
For many of her fans, Susie’s greatest achievements have been her comedy roles since Victoria Wood cast her as the continuity announcer on her show As Seen On TV.
But her gift for making people laugh had a difficult start: her mother suffered from depression and Susie spent much of her childhood keeping the household happy.
“My mom used to call me rubber face, which wasn’t very nice. I was the clown trying to keep everyone happy. It’s kind of stuck.”
Susie credits 30 years as a Buddhist helping her stay cheerful during lockdown.
She said, “My Buddhist practice came to the fore. We had Zoom meetings every week. We could communicate and sing and take care of each other.”
Susie filmed BBC iPlayer drama Silky Hotel during lockdown, playing a romantic hotelier named Barbara Blah alongside John Henshaw.
Susie loves to dress up and is thrilled to return to Mrs Brown’s Boys because Hilary has a chic wardrobe and blow dry.
Susie said: “Hilary gets to wear the nicest clothes. The makeup, props and costume departments are amazing.”
Hilary isn’t the show’s most likeable character, and Susie admits she has a particular talent for playing snooty women.
She said: “Hilary is a monster. I’ve played that many times. My Victoria Wood character was like that, she spoke inappropriately about things, let her mind crack open and it’s difficult at times when you’re playing what you think is the villain.
The character in Victoria Wood was a terrible woman, but many people agreed with her. That was always pretty shocking.”
One day Susie plans to retire to Denville Hall, a dorm for showbiz veterans near London.
She said: “I’m in pain and pain. Arthritis in my fingers, my knees aren’t great, I’ve had sciatica during lockdown.
“It’s not easy, but the great thing is to accept it and not complain because it’s so tiring. If I could reach 90, that would be great. But I’m going to Denville Hall because I really don’t want to be a burden to anyone.”
- Silky Hotel is now available on BBC iPlayer.
https://www.mirror.co.uk/tv/tv-news/coronation-street-icon-susie-blake-26399749 Coronation Street icon Susie Blake is happy with her love life despite not being together for 20 years