Anne Reid in Last Tango In Halifax

Anne Reid plays Celia Dawson, who enjoys a romance with childhood sweetheart Alan Buttershaw (Sir Derek Jacobi) when they meet up again through Facebook six decades after she stood him up on a date. However, Alan’s widowed daughter Gillian (Nicola Walker) doesn’t hit it off with Celia’s stuck-up daughter Caroline (Sarah Lancashire), who is experiencing relationship troubles of her own. Anne tells TV Choice more about the drama written by Sally Wainwright.

What drew you to Last Tango In Halifax?
I loved the whole thing. I just loved it. It was a dream. You can see it’s me, can’t you? It’s not much of a stretch. And Derek Jacobi is such a sweetheart. We didn’t know each other. I said to him, ‘They’ve got to believe that we’re in love.’ We jived and he’s the best dancer in the world. Sir Derek Jacobi is Gene Kelly. He’s an amazing dancer. Somebody had said to me that Derek Jacobi is a great dancer. So I came to Sally Wainwright and said, ‘I love to dance, can we have a jiving scene?’ So we did and it’s great fun.

Would you be tempted to be a bit reckless like Celia?
Oh, I’m quite reckless. I’m not very sensible, I go for life. I always say yes and then find out what it is afterwards. So, yes I am reckless, absolutely. But if you are asking me whether I want a relationship with somebody, the answer to that is no. I’m quite happy. I like doing lots of different things. We buy a car in the drama and I would have liked that. I can’t afford a Lexus, unfortunately. It was great fun driving. I really did drive, whizzing along those lanes. Derek Jacobi was terribly brave, he crossed himself a couple of times.

It’s quite refreshing to see something with older people on TV isn’t it?
It’s very hard for an actress to watch herself, as I’ve seen myself over 50 years, and to see your face looking like a map of Birmingham, it’s really hard to sit through. I had a wonderful make-up artist on this who did miracles with me at six in the morning. But it’s quite hard for me to sit and see that. I just hope it won’t put people off their tea. And I know Derek is going to have to have a few drinks before he watches it, he told me. He doesn’t watch himself at all I don’t think, but I’m going to make him because he’s wonderful in it.

Do you take part in social networking?
Me? No. I can email and Google a few things and that’s it. No, I’ve never done that. I don’t know how. I want somebody to show me how to Twitter. But why do you want to chat about everything you’re thinking? I don’t get that. It’s rather sad I think. People tend to say, ‘I’ve just had a cup of coffee and it was really nice,’ because that’s what they do isn’t it? I don’t know the difference between Facebook and Twitter.

Is there an Alan from your own past you would be tempted to look up on Facebook?
No. I’m afraid they’ve gone now. I’m quite happy as I am actually. It would be very dangerous because I wouldn’t like the fact that he had aged. 'Why don’t you look like you did at 17?'

There’s no one you left standing for two hours on a date?
Well, there was, but I’m not going to tell you. Not two hours, it was longer than that.

Are you interested in dating?
No, I can’t be bothered. I’m really a solitary person. I like to be totally free. ‘What are you doing tomorrow? I’m going to New York. I don’t know what you’re doing.’ I like to travel and do my own thing. I’m also quite difficult to live with.

BBC1, Tuesday

Nick Fiaca