Joanna Scanlan went from breakdown to BAFTA victory after she was ‘left shaking’

Shivering for hours, her exhausted body was paralyzed to the point of paralysis, her mind still functioning normally reflecting the inertia of her limbs.

Here’s Joanna Scanlan at 29, possibly coming from a poise, humourous, vivacious underdog who beat out Lady Gaga of House of Gucci to win Best Actress at the show. BAFTAs on Sunday.

Her shock victory was one of the moments of the night, and her poignant speech, one she never thought she would get.

Half a lifetime ago, just before her 30th birthday, this 60-year-old star had to go through a life of depression due to work pressure, she was teaching drama at Leicester Polytechnic, along with her sadness. pain of rejection from the acting world.

From childhood, the talented girl from West Kirby on the Wirral River, later growing up in North Wales, dreamed of becoming an actress.

Studying with Stephen Fry, Emma Thompson and good friend Tilda Swinton at Cambridge University in the 1980s, the path seemed destined for her.

Joanna Scanlan with the BAFTA Best Actress Award for After Love



Pop Larkin [Bradley Walsh] and Ma Larkin [Joanna Scanlan] in ITV’s The Larkins



But while their careers flourished after graduation, she floundered. She still keeps her “tough” rejection letters, never thinking she’d make it through, let alone enter the BAFTA flash race.

The experience explains her reaction to winning for her role as Mary Hussain, a woman grieving with her husband in the powerful TV series After Love.

“Come on,” the amazed actress begs the audience for the perfect comic timing, adding, “Some stories have unexpected endings, don’t they?”

Something she didn’t anticipate amid the gloom of the breakup forced her to quit her job for 12 months.

Talking about that dark period, she said the depression was like paralysis, shaking for several hours.

Diagnosed with chronic fatigue after 18 months of testing, the little girl returned to her parents, walking the dog and helping with the shopping. Even that might prove too much.

She explained that it was a “shock” that she couldn’t get an acting job while her co-stars were already established.

Joanna Scanlan with Vicki Pepperdine and Jo Brand begins



She is so close to Tilda, they went to court together when Joanna drove her friend’s car without insurance.

“It felt like I was trying to get into a party I wasn’t really invited to,” she once said.

“At the time, I didn’t know how to deal with that – I just thought, ‘Okay, I have nothing to offer’… I just thought, ‘I’m not okay’.”

She only started to get better when a poignant doctor realized she was very unsatisfied at work and told her she should

“He said to me, ‘What do you do?’ I said I was teaching. He asked if that was what I was going to do. I said, ‘No, I was hoping to be an actress.’

“And he just said, ‘Okay, okay, if you don’t go back to acting, you’re going to be sick for the rest of your life.”

It was a “thunderbolt”. She later admitted that having health is like “spinning a ship across the ocean”.

But she started making calls, working as a researcher for the Arts Council to pay her way.

Joanna Scanlan stars in The Thick of It



Finally, at the age of 34, she took on the role of a midwife in Peak Practice. It was 1997 and her first professional job.

“People say that anyone over 40 becomes a woman in this profession,” says Joanna.

She also began writing for many series including the children’s hit Byker Grove.

In 2005, she became famous as civil servant Terri Coverley in The Thick of It, and Getting On, the NHS comedy she co-wrote.

The roles have been steadily building – she has appeared in films including The Other Boleyn Girl, Bridget Jones’s Baby and Tulip Fever.

On TV, she has had parts in No Offense, Dracula and Doc Martin. And she’s Ma in ITV’s Darling Buds of May remake, The Larkins, which returns this year.

Joanna also appeared in the dark comedy Murder Most Horrid, opposite Dawn French, in 1999.

But she never found herself fitting into her professional world.

The feeling seems to have begun in Cambridge. As a child who grew up in the countryside with two older brothers, then moved to Wales at the age of 13 and worked as a receptionist in her parents’ hotel, she belonged.

At her nun school, she was also very happy. But Cambridge was a shock.

She was one of the first women allowed into her university and has also spoken about the culture of male violence and sexual harassment.

Joanna described it as a “challenge”, and told an anecdote about a male student who jumped out of her window one night and slept on the floor.

She said men would go into the bar, stand on the table and “pee in the beer on your table”.

Joanna didn’t join the iconic Footlight TV series, whose members include Fry.

“Actually, it doesn’t suit me very well… I feel like my suggestions don’t fit. I remember writing this sketch about a sex education book for kids. And I remember people would say, “That’s a bit rude,” she recalls.

“It’s okay if you’re politically smart. But being too mundane, or what I think women are, isn’t appropriate. ”

And there was her appearance. “As an overweight person, right from the beginning of my career, I have received many characters who are fat and funny, docile girls. That’s not me,” she said.

Joanna made her point about bias during her speech at Sunday’s awards ceremony at the Royal Albert Hall. After accepting her award, she said: “It’s no bigger than BAFTA for a British actor.

“And especially someone like me, who has lived well over the years. I’m 60. I’m older, I’m not in normal shape, I have a lot of things that you wouldn’t expect to necessarily be glorified in this way. ”

Joanna was used to waiting for her moment. She waited to be acting, and falling in love, to meet her accountant husband Neil, 46, at a yoga class.

She has admitted that she would “enjoy being a mother”, but added that she would have been a better actress without children.

“I don’t feel sad. This is my life, and my life is the way it is. ”

Touched, she thanked Neil on Sunday, saying: “He’s living proof there’s no such thing as ‘after love’.”

Joanna could have been waiting for the acclaim. But not anymore.

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