Celia Imrie

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Celia Imrie grabs life “with fever” as proven in her new movie

Celia Imrie calls herself The Happy Hoofer – the identical title she gave to her 2011 autobiography.

On the face of it, the explanations appear clear.

For many a 12 months, she’s introduced pleasure by means of her TV comedy characters, most notably after all together with her collaborations alongside the late Victoria Wood.

Yet for Celia, her optimistic outlook runs a lot deeper. It’s right down to her ethos for a satisfying life, one which strengthens with every passing day.

“I’m just grabbing life, every second and every challenge. None of us knows how long we’ve got,” she tells BBC News.

“I’m not being dramatic but I’m not stupid either and time’s running out a bit.”

Her angle has pushed her on by means of tough occasions. Two pulmonary embolisms put her underneath severe risk.

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Hard to beat: Victoria Wood’s Acorn Antiques with Celia Imrie enjoying Babs (proper)

She was in Nice, the place she has a home, on the time of the terrorist truck assault, which left 84 individuals useless.

And then there was the trauma of Victoria Wood’s loss of life. “It was a terrible shock. I didn’t know she was ill,” says Celia.

“So I seize life with fever due to the issues which have occurred to me.

“But I do not fear an excessive amount of. Sometimes I really feel like a cat with 9 lives.”

With verve and fearlessness is how she additionally approaches her nonetheless flourishing profession.

Hot on the heels of The Exotic Marigold Hotel and Absolutely Fabulous movies, she’s now starring in Stepping Out. And there is a new ebook, Sail Away – her third in three years.

Fittingly, the message of Stepping Out, and her books, is firmly one among Carpe Diem [live for the day] – no matter your age.

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Judi Dench and Celia Imrie starred in The Exotic Marigold Hotel and its sequel

Stepping Out is a light-weight – not split-your-sides – comedy by which Celia performs the bohemian single sister Bif to Imelda Staunton’s stuck-up, rich married Sandra.

Despite having distanced herself from Bif, Sandra falls on her doorstep on discovering her husband is having an affair.

Sandra strikes in with Bif and undergoes a renaissance as she, reluctantly, enters Bif’s unconventional world. It’s one among spontaneity, romance, true buddies – and dance.

The strikes are difficult stuff and even Celia, with a background in ballet, says she discovered the routines powerful.

Celia believes altering for the higher, as with Sandra, is at all times potential. In truth, it is vital if the established order is ruining your life.

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Stepping Out sees Imelda Staunton’s stuck-up Sandra (proper) charmed by sister Bif’s relaxed life

“Sandra’s conventional life didn’t give her much joy. It only came when she left. That’s a terrible realisation to make, that you’ve wasted so much of your time,” says Celia.

“Change is tough. People are afraid of it however I’m optimistic persons are changing into braver and never placing themselves in packing containers.

“As Bette Davis wrote, ‘by no means depend on another person in your happiness’.”

The movie is constructed on camaraderie, on and off-screen. The solid together with Staunton, Joanna Lumley and Timothy Spall, are actors Celia is aware of and loves properly.

They could all be of a sure age, however it’s by no means talked about in Stepping Out, even when it touches on the problems of loneliness and sickness.

“I by no means thought I would get to this age. It appeared so far-off,” says Celia. “I assumed I would be occurring coach journeys and sporting white cardigans!

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The dancing within the movie is spectacular

“But there’s an awful lot open to us now and the less you talk about age the better.”

Old is just not a phrase you’d affiliate with Celia. She appears timeless. Casting administrators definitely appear to assume so and proceed to provide her sensual roles.

And amongst Bif’s very likeable traits, lustiness ranks excessive, together with a braveness that, at occasions, defies perception. Take, for instance, swimming on Hampstead Heath in sub-zero mid-winter.

“Bif is great and I’m told she was written for me, which is a lovely compliment,” says Celia.

“On movie you are battling as a lady to nonetheless be fascinating. But even that is altering. People are extra accepting of being ‘horny at 60’.

“As for the swim, it was completely terrible. Sooo chilly. I have never been again.”

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And the numerous doorways open to older, adventurous ladies is central to each Stepping Out and Celia’s three books.

Essentially thriller novels, all are rollicking, ingenious reads.

The first two – Nice and Nice Work (If You Can Get It) – revolve across the cheesed off Theresa, who up sticks to the South of France. It’s idyllic, sure, however, as she discovers, additionally a tangled internet of expat intrigue.

For Sail Away, Celia has shifted the enjoyable aboard a cross-Atlantic ship. The transfer was largely out of respect for the victims of the Nice assault. “It was all too sad,” says Celia.

Amanda and Suzy, travelling individually however each virtually unwitting passengers, discover themselves caught up in world of vibrant characters and bizarre goings-on.

Celia’s tales draw on experiences in her personal life, not unusually maybe. With her bought-on-a-whim Nice house, the place she does her writing, Celia is aware of Theresa’s environment properly.

And when travelling to the US, the Queen Mary 2 is her mode of selection. It’s partly right down to her hatred of heights but additionally the danger to her lungs.

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Joanna Lumley sports activities a slightly disconcerting wig in Stepping Out

And, provides Celia: “It’s fabulous and you wouldn’t believe how enormous it is. And it’s not a conventional cruise. There’s no stops along the way.”

Moreover every protagonist bears character traits identifiably Celia’s personal.

Among them, the fortitude to face the unknown – and being single. (Celia has at all times shunned marriage and its potential “shackles”.)

Celia says of her openness: “Judi Dench would be cross if she heard me saying this, but she taught me that in any performance you have to give and show parts of yourself, bear your soul.”

As for the novels’ entertaining supporting solid, none is uniquely recognisable as a personality Celia’s met in her appearing profession, she says. Instead, every is a pick-and-mix of a number of, thrown into particular person baggage.

But, she provides, it is the on a regular basis individuals she sees and meets when out in Nice who present the better inspiration.

For all that, Celia says she finds writing fairly arduous. It was by no means one thing she’d thought-about till her autobiography writer set her the problem. She could not refuse.

So, is there something she would not do?

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Can Celia Imrie play a baddie? We’ll see

“I’d skedaddle out of Strictly, even though I’m always dancing around my kitchen,” she laughs.

“I haven’t got good legs or ankles. You must, to put on these attire.

“And I undoubtedly would not do I am A Celebrity. I am not going to eat these issues!”

Instead, the subsequent check on the horizon is how she’ll fare when her younger actor son Angus (the no-strings-attached little one she had with a good friend) leaves house.

“He’s off to be a giant film star, I am terribly proud,” says Celia.

And then there’s the last word problem, one she’s craved for years.

“The sound of individuals laughing is bliss,” she says, “however I wish to preserve shocking individuals so I’ve simply finished my first horror movie known as Malevolent.

“At last I get to play a murderer. So everyone, watch out!”

Sail Away hits bookshelves on 22 February and Finding Your Feet will likely be in cinemas from 23 February.

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