Maureen Lipman: Coronation Street actress details concern for ‘wiped out’ co-star’s health

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Maureen Lipman recently took centre-stage for the digital revival of Martin Sherman’s Olivier-nominated play, Rose, which streamed online last month. The Coronation Street star spoke candidly about fellow actress and pal Julia McKenzie, 79, who was “wiped out” following the thought-provoking production.

The Evelyn Plummer actress portayed a Jewish woman who traces her story from Nazi-ruled Europe to conquering the American dream.

The 74-year-old revealed the reaction from viewers of the play has been “phenomenal” – most notably from Agatha Christie star Julia.

Maureen explained that the actress called her after watching Rose and admitted she couldn’t “take it”.

The Corrie star commented: “I actually feared for Julia McKenzie’s health when she rang me.

“She was like, ‘I’m wiped out, I’m wiped out. I just can’t take it. I can’t tell you what it’s like. I can’t tell you what it did to me.'”

Maureen and Julia have shared a decades long friendship and both worked together in the play, Outside Edge.

The moving production was filmed on stage to an empty auditorium at the Hope Mill Theatre.

The small-screen star revealed she has had an outpouring of support from people she doesn’t even know.

“I have had letters from people I hardly know, and people high up in the business,” Maureen remarked.

The mum-of-two admitted the reception has been similar to what she and her late husband Jack Rosenthal experienced in the “old days”.

Maureen said: “I’ve had lots and lots of fantastic responses.

“I’ve not known anything like this since the old days, with my husband, when Jack [Rosenthal] used to have a play on and it would be Bar Mitzvah Boy, Spend Spend Spend or something.”

She continued: “Then suddenly the phone would start ringing for the rest of the night.

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“And you would go to sleep with adrenaline in your body and you’re not able to sleep.”

Maureen was married to her husband and award-winning writer Jack until his death from bone marrow cancer in 2004.

The couple had been married for 30 years and shared two children together.

He wrote some of Britain’s most memorable TV dramas, including The Knowledge and Bar Mitzvah Boy, while she famously played Jewish mother Beattie in the BT adverts.

Elsewhere, Maureen recently spoke about an unknown moment she shared with former Bond Girl Diana Rigg, who died last month after a short battle with cancer.

Maureen worked alongside the Avengers and Game of Thrones star in the West End, when the Corrie star was aged 25.

“I had a very soft spot for Diana Rigg,” the actress explained. “I was her understudy for almost a year at the National Theatre at the Old Vic.”

Maureen said: “I remember she was very elegant and very glamorous. She was so good.”

The ITV star revealed that she would often “check-in” on Diana ahead of their stage performance.

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