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Last Updated: Wednesday, 31 May 2006, 15:36 GMT 16:36 UK
Doctor is cure for 'alien' Lipman
Maureen Lipman as the alien in the 1953 TV
'My children seemed to think that was quite normal'
Actress Maureen Lipman, the latest alien on Doctor Who, has praised the sci-fi series as giving hope for family drama on television.

Lipman played The Wire in last weekend's episode.

She told the Hay Festival: "I think Billie Piper and David Tennant are wonderful and the writing is so good, it gives me hope that these writers are writing for families."

Lipman derided much modern TV, including celebrity-style shows.

The actress explained her recent part in Dr Who had been that of an alien, feeding off the minds of people watching the Queen's coronation in 1953.

"My children seemed to think that was quite normal," she said.

"It was very difficult, I didn't see a soul, I was trapped in a TV set in a Alexandra Palace, with a director and producer, it was like doing a Joyce Grenfell sketch.

Maureen Lipman and Jack Rosenthal
We had 34 years of the best possible fun
Maureen Lipman

"I had to imagine what was being said to me."

Lipman, 60, drew encouragement from the series, as she talked of her disdain for much of modern TV, while fondly remembering the legacy of her late husband, the playwright Jack Rosenthal.

His dramas, including Spend, Spend, Spend, Bar Mitzvah Boy to London's Burning, spanned the 1960s to 1980s.

She entertained a packed audience with readings taken from his autobiography, written in the form of a screenplay.

He died in 2004 before he could complete By Jack Rosenthal - and Lipman took over the final chapters.

Anecdotes ranged from working with Pat Phoenix when Rosenthal was a writer and producer on Coronation Street, to working with Barbra Streisand on Yentl.

Lipman said: "He was my soul mate. We had 34 years of the best possible fun... this book is the measure of the man.

"He always thought nobody would be interested in his words, which shows something of his modesty. In the days when TV was TV, he was there in the beginning."


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