First Impressions: Phyllis Logan

…is an actress, best known for her roles as Lady Jane Felsham in Lovejoy and Mrs Hughes in Downton Abbey. She lives in Chiswick with her family. he was younger. If it was a rainy day, we would watch Singing In The Rain together, or perhaps ‘Mary Pop’, as my son would call it.

What are you working on at the moment?

The play Switzerland – it’s a brilliant psychological thriller by Joanna Murray-Smith about the eccentric novelist Patricia Highsmith. We performed the UK premiere earlier this year at Theatre Royal Bath and it’s so exciting to revisit. I’m finding time to rehearse it while filming the Downton Abbey movie, which has been such fun.

When are you at your happiest?

Catching up with my husband – we’re often working, so when we have an evening together we’ll cook a nice dinner and enjoy it over a glass of wine.

What is your greatest fear?

I worry for my son – that he’s happy. I hope his life is going to be gorgeous.

What is your earliest memory?

I’m struggling to do up my little woollen pink shoes, but my chubby three-year-old fingers can’t work the little button.

What do you dislike about yourself?

I like to be in control – I’m trying to get better.

Who has been your greatest influence?

My parents. They make up your biggest memories, which stick with you throughout your whole life.

What is your most treasured possession?

I’m trying to declutter and feng shui myself by not keeping hold of lots of stuff.

What trait do you most deplore in others?

Meanness. I can’t stand people who are ungenerous. We have a Scottish saying: ‘Someone who would peel an orange in his pocket.’

Do you have any pets?

My beloved lurcher, Carlos. Sadly he died several years ago, but he’s irreplaceable. He loved his home comforts.

Favourite book?

The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller. Greek history with a modern spin, very beautifully written.

Favourite film?

I love Bette Davis. One of my favourites of her films is All About Eve. I could watch that on a loop. It’s all about personalities and, like Switzerland, it’s a psychological thriller. But there’s also the two movies my son used to request when he was younger. If it was a rainy day, we would watch Singing In The Rain together, or perhaps ‘Mary Pop’, as my son would call it.

Favourite piece of music?

Pachelbel’s Canon in D Major – I remember hearing it when my dad died when I was 20 and it has always stuck with me. It’s a sad piece, but it has an uplifting feeling, too. Somehow it enhances your sadness, in a good way.

Favourite meal?

I love Thai food, but unfortunately my husband does not. You can’t beat a traditional Sunday roast with chicken… but I’m also mad for pasta.

Who would you most like to come to dinner?

My husband. I always vowed not to have an actor in the house, but you can’t legislate for love.

What is the nastiest thing anyone has ever said to you?

In Harry Hook’s film, The Kitchen Toto, I played Janet Graham, the wife of a police officer (Bob Peck). One critic said I looked like Stanley Baxter!

Do you believe in aliens?


What is your secret vice?

Strictly Come Dancing, although it’s very popular, so I’m not sure you could call it a vice.

Do you write thank you notes?

I used to. Most of the time I probably don’t now, to my shame.

Which phrase do you most overuse?

‘You know what I mean?’

What single thing would improve the quality of your life?

If people weren’t so rude.

Tell us something people might not know about you.

I was sports champion of my primary school.

What would you like your epitaph to say?

I’d have to borrow a line from my favourite writer, Jessie Kesson. The inscription on the tombstone would read: ‘HERE, VERY MUCH AGAINST HER WILL, LIES…’

Switzerland runs until 5 January 2019 at the Ambassadors Theatre: 020-7395 5405,