The ex-EastEnders star, 48, on weight gain, living with her ex, quitting booze in lockdown and what she misses about the square.
Was The Addams Family tour affected by lockdown?
It’s been cancelled two or three times so I didn’t think it would happen, which is why I kept eating! Now it’s a bit of a shock to the system.
I’m like: ‘Ooh, I’m sure Morticia didn’t have quite such a protruding bottom!’ I’m really excited to be coming back; it broke my heart to see empty theatres.
Did you hit the fridge a bit too much then?
I’ve never understood the concept of leaving something on your plate. I’ve always hoovered everything. That’s been quite dangerous during lockdown!
The miscellaneous aisle at the Lidl shop was the highlight of the week.
Morticia is a very glamorous character.
When we looked at the original drawings she was supposed to come from the earth, she was this willowy creature, and then in later years she became quite sexy, so we’ve tried to include both sides in her look.
What’s the story of the musical version?
Wednesday Addams is at a turning point in her life. She’s not been interested in boys before, but she’s fallen for a squeaky-clean, mid-American guy from a respectable family.
Her father Gomez knows, but his wife Morticia is left in the dark about her daughter and this straight-laced boy.
Do you have many songs?
I’ve got two solos and a duet. I was trained as a singer when I was younger, but during Covid I didn’t sing at all, so I’m lucky that Morticia is very low and gravelly and sensual – I’m glad I haven’t got any high soprano parts for this show.
You were a singing star when you were a teen weren’t you?
I entered Eurovision when I was 18 – if you can call that singing! Somebody told me that 55 million people were watching and I was so terrified. I was styled for it.
I was wearing a peach basque and blue eyeshadow while singing about the plight of starving children in the world – I was a dopey teenager and didn’t know any better!
We couldn’t hear ourselves because we didn’t have ear pieces, so we sounded awful! It was the scariest feeling I’ve ever had in my life. I look at it now though and think it was a pretty cool experience.
How’s the past year been?
We pulled together as a family and spent a lot of lockdown together at the family home in Bedfordshire. We have a big garden, so we grew veggies and our animals are here – I’ve got two rescue ponies, three dogs and a rescue cat.
I separated from my husband Mark a couple of years ago. He was in Liverpool for the first lockdown, but came to stay in the second lockdown, just because it was easier us being together.
Did it affect your mental health?
I’ve been someone that used work as a way of avoiding being too present in my own head and I just didn’t know how to settle.
A lot of friends are into meditation and I could never do it, but I realised I had to learn how, because I just wasn’t able to relax.
I started doing mindfulness and that really relieved my anxiety. Now I feel at peace in my own head and it’s gone the other way round and I’m anxious about the speed and the noise of the world we’ve got to go back into.
Did you develop any bad lockdown habits?
I actually stopped drinking, because I thought that weekend drinking could very easily slip into daytime drinking.
I saw a lot of friends of mine who did that because there were no boundaries.
Addams Family’s a seven-month tour, do you find it hard being away from home for so long?
My partner Oliver (Farnworth) is an actor, so we’re used to just meeting up at weekends.
And I had a camper van converted during lockdown so I can be completely self-sufficient.
You spent ten years in EastEnders. It must have been awful when your character Ronnie Mitchell was killed off?
After the shock subsided I really enjoyed doing new things, but I missed everyone so much. It’s a funny thing doing a soap.
You have funerals and birthdays together and you hold each other’s children and somewhere in your brain they have become real to you and you have to re-learn when you leave that it wasn’t actually true.
Do you wish you could go back?
I would always have gone back. I loved Ronnie and Roxy. My relationship with Rita Simons, who played my sister was great, I felt so close to her.
I still think some of my most exciting work was with her, Larry Lamb and Barbara Windsor.
But Ronnie drowned in a swimming pool, so returning isn’t an option?
There have been all these suggestions as to how they could get us back in. Did they really die – Billy was working in the morgue. I don’t know what plausible story they could come up with.
It’s a bit like the Dallas thing with Bobby Ewing and Dirty Den came back, so it’s always possible I suppose.
Samantha Womack stars in The Addams Family, touring across the UK & Ireland.
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