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The most expensive thing actress Annette Badland has ever bought for fun was a £3,000 sculpture of a very well endowed female nude. 

The 73-year-old award-winning actress has rarely been out of work having shot to fame playing Charlotte in the BBC’s Bergerac in the 1980s. 

She has also played Dr Fleur Perkins in Midsomer Murders and Babe Smith in EastEnders and appeared in comedy football series Ted Lasso on Apple TV+. 

She tells Donna Ferguson actors ‘live a privileged life’ and it is important to give back. 

She is an ambassador for the charity Target Ovarian Cancer and lives in East London with her partner, the actor David Hatton, 81.

Fun job: Annette loves her role as Dr Fleur Perkins in Midsomer Murders

What did your parents teach you about money?

To save and to live within your means, because money was hard to come by. My dad was in the car trade and my mum didn’t work until I was ten, and then she got a job in a hostel as a cook. Money was tight. 

People thought we had lots of money, because of my father’s job, but he was divorced and was paying alimony while I was growing up. Initially, my parents only had tea chests for furniture. They met during the war and I was their only child, although I had siblings from my father’s first marriage who used to visit.

We lived in a huge Edwardian house near Birmingham cricket ground that had been divided up into five flats. We shared a bathroom with other tenants but had our own outside toilet in the yard, near the coal hole.

There were mealtimes where we shared a tin of soup between us. Dad would have half but Mum would be generous with me, so she would have very little. But I don’t remember being hungry as a child. My parents always made sure I was OK.

What cars did your father make?

First, he worked for Rover and then, when I was 12, he got a job making Robin Reliants – those old three-wheelers. He used to warn me never to buy one, that they were a fire hazard, due to all the fibreglass.

Ironically, I then ended up driving a Robin Reliant when I played Babe Smith in EastEnders. And certainly, that one used to struggle to work. I once had to be pulled out of a scene on a rope by the props boys. Luckily, I was facing downhill, so they just gave me a tug…and off I rolled.

Have you ever struggled to make ends meet?

Only at East 15 drama school. I remember meeting people there who ate smoked salmon and avocado pears, called me ‘darling’ and drank champagne. That wasn’t something I’d grown up with.

To save money, I’d walk miles to school and buy cheap meat really late on a Friday night at Smithfield market or I’d make myself a big pot of lentils and vegetables that would last me a week. Mum and Dad would help me out by sending me parcels of stockings and soap. Once, I got a Tupperware box of wet and soggy food in the post, with a note from them saying: ‘We were enjoying this salad and wanted to share it with you.’

When I left drama school, I got work with the Actors Company, which Ian McKellen had just started, alongside Felicity Kendal. From then on, like a pit pony, my career has been continuous – I’ve rarely been out of work.

What was the best year of your financial life?

Shortly after I joined Bergerac in 1983. I went from earning £32 a week doing repertory theatre to having a regular job on television.

I cannot remember how much I was paid, but that year I was able to take out a mortgage and buy my parents their house for £17,000. They were living in a tied cottage on a farm: Mum cleaned the hall and looked after the kids, and Dad was a gardener and handyman. Come the end of their ability to do that, they could have been asked to leave. Dad was in his early 70s. So before I bought my own home, I bought them theirs.

Is Midsomer Murders well paid?

I would say it is. Of course, the two regular female actors are secondary to the male leads, both in billing and financially. I do think that’s something that needs addressing within the profession.

People don’t talk about their wages and it’s hard to know if women have parity with men, but it’s pretty certain we don’t. Per episode, I’m happy but my income from the show depends on how many episodes we do each year. This year, we’ve done four episodes and that certainly isn’t something I could live off. But it’s fun to do.

I like playing Fleur because she’s got a black Jag convertible and a Harley, and she teases the boys. She’s a bright, older woman who seems to have a sex life, enjoys sending the boys up and has some great motor vehicles. What’s not to like?

What is the most costly thing you bought for fun?

A sculpture of a very well-endowed female nude by Paul Hamann, for around £3,000. I suspect, if anything, it has gone down in value since I bought it. But I love it. She’s wonderful and overt, and gives me great pleasure.

Privilege: Annette is an ambassador for Target Ovarian Cancer

The best money decision you have made?

Getting on the property ladder in the 1980s. I bought my home, a three-bedroom terrace house in East London, in 1986 for £47,000 and have lived here ever since. I’m mortgage-free now and it’s probably worth about £500,000.

I regret not moving to a bigger home in the 1990s, when property prices were cheaper, but I love my garden. It is my respite. I can go out there and breathe. It feeds me – and I nurture it.

Do you save in a pension or invest in shares?

I started saving into a pension in the 1980s. It’s with the actors’ union, Equity. Normally, whoever I’m working for contributes and so do I. I also receive my state pension. I’ve got an Isa but I don’t invest in the stock market. I’m too frightened I would lose everything because I wouldn’t know what I’m doing.

If you were Chancellor, what would you do?

The NHS is in a dire state. Staff are full of compassion, commitment, humour and dedication – but they really are struggling. So many elements of it are failing now that we are going to lose it. And that would be a crime so I would put money into the NHS.

Do you donate money to charity?

Yes, I’m an ambassador for Target Ovarian Cancer. Right now I’m raising awareness of the brilliant annual fundraising walk/run on Sunday, October 22, in Regent’s Park. It’s always a fun event. I got involved with the charity after I saw a campaign they ran on social media. I was impressed by how forthright they were and wanted to help so I followed them and they got in touch with me.

I haven’t personally had ovarian cancer but I know how frightening it is when you don’t know if you’ve got cancer or not.

Ovarian cancer is a silent killer. GPs do not diagnose it early enough. They may think it’s a urine infection or irritable bowel syndrome and send women away with painkillers. A year later, those women get diagnosed and they have a few weeks to live.

Do famous actors lead a privileged life?

Yes and that’s why I think you have to give back. I learned on EastEnders that when you’re in people’s living rooms, they feel you’re their friend. You need to pay back that connection.

Do you still work long hours at 73?

I don’t have children so my work is probably more important to me than it should be. I enjoy the stimulation of playing different characters, the research involved and the variety. One day I’ll be flying somewhere to meet fans of Outlander, the next day I’ll be at the Globe Theatre. I love my work.

Get together for a great day out at the Target Ovarian Cancer Walk/Run in London’s Regent’s Park. Visit targetovariancancer.org.uk for more information.


Content source – www.soundhealthandlastingwealth.com

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