Joanna Lumley says Keeley Hawes was one of the main reasons she joined the cast of 'Finding Alice'.

Joanna Lumley

Joanna Lumley

The 74-year-old actress stars alongside Keeley, 44, in the ITV drama, and she relished the experience of working with the acclaimed star.

Asked what drew her to the role of Sarah in 'Finding Alice', Joanna replied: "First of all it’s a lovely part. Secondly Keeley Hawes, who I have admired for a long time and is such a good, accomplished and varied actress. And thirdly the writing.

"I thought the story was brilliant. You always read the story first because no matter how nice your own part is, if the writing isn’t there, if the story isn’t gripping to the audience, it’s not going to work.

"I thought 'Finding Alice' was enthralling from the very beginning. Something completely different. Funny, but quite tragic without being self-pitying. Keeley was a big part of the creation of this along with Roger Goldby and Simon Nye, constructing a really complex central character."

Joanna is a long-time fan of her co-star.

The veteran actress - who also appears alongside the likes of Nigel Havers, Kenneth Cranham and Gemma Jones - explained that Keeley is able to "effortlessly" embody different characters.

Asked about working with Keeley, Joanna said: "[She] has that extraordinary quality of just becoming a different person. You can

still tell it is her, but she doesn’t bring any mannerism or tried practices with her.

"She seems just to become the person and you can’t really see how it’s done. It’s the alchemy of acting.

"When she was Mrs Durrell she couldn’t have been more different. 'Line of Duty', 'Honour' and all those sorts of things. She effortlessly appears to be that person."

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