There's One Mean Manager in Store ; She Has Made a Career of Playing Mean Women, but Her New Role as the Boss of a Warrington Supermarket Is Stephanie Beacham's Nastiest Yet. Diana Pilkington Reports

By Pilkington, Diana | Manchester Evening News, August 27, 2012 | Go to article overview

There's One Mean Manager in Store ; She Has Made a Career of Playing Mean Women, but Her New Role as the Boss of a Warrington Supermarket Is Stephanie Beacham's Nastiest Yet. Diana Pilkington Reports


Pilkington, Diana, Manchester Evening News


WITH a hint of a wry smile, Stephanie Beacham lists her favourite supermarkets as Fortnum & Mason (she loves the pale green bags) and the Harrods food hall.

"But I don't like M&S. It's too expensive," she declares, in the cut-glass English accent she has retained despite years of living in the US. "At least with Harrods, you think, 'Ooh, quail pie.' But I don't like mid-range overpriced.

I'd rather have dead cheap - I like Harrods and Asda."

We're discussing shopping preferences against the backdrop of fictional supermarket Valco, the setting for Sky1's comedy Trollied and the sort of down-to-earth chain where you're unlikely to find quail pie, even in the 'Treat Yourself' range.

Beacham, 65, joins the cast for its second series as tough new manager Lorraine, who replaces old boss Gavin when he is made area manager. The former Dynasty actress, famed for portraying bitches, cheerfully admits it's the nastiest character she's ever played. "She's a cow. The other day she was so horrid to Jane Horrocks' character that it quite upset me," Beacham says in mock horror, no doubt referring to a scene where Lorraine makes nervy deputy manager Julie bark like a dog.

"But she's no-nonsense, and Jane's character is all fluffy and annoying and she definitely annoys Lorraine." 'Lorraine have time mascara. does her liner at stop or lights' As well as intimidating her staff, part of Lorraine's mission is to push her own 'No Nonsense' range, a selection of drably-packaged products that are priced below the budget range of rival supermarkets.

Indeed, the instant porridge mix, charred pizzas and an industrial-sized vat of mayonnaise look delightfully revolting on the shelves.

Beacham, who auditioned via her iPad in Los Angeles, was thrilled to land a part that was, "such a fabulous change of pace from anything I've ever done before.

"Lorraine doesn't have time for mascara. She does her eye liner at the bus stop or traffic lights. She thinks she's glamorous, but she has one tired old suit that we had to hire, and Tshirts that cost Pounds 6." Beacham hadn't seen Trollied before landing an audition, but then watched the whole of the first series and became a firm fan of the way it creates comedy from "the completely mundane".

doesn't for She eye the bus traffic In her own clothes today, she appears a world apart from her grey-suited character. Dressed in a flowing red skirt, striped top, red scarf and pearl drop earrings, she looks ultra feminine. She's also highly entertaining, cracking lots of dry jokes and dipping in and out of voices.

Beacham admits that apart from two weeks of her school holidays spent in a Barnet branch of Boots, where her coworkers' mean- spiritedness in the coffee-making area was "an encounter that prepared me for Hollywood", she has no experience of working in retail. …

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