MANY an actress would have run a mile from a character whose costume consisted mostly of a housecoat and surgical stocking. But with a script by the late Victoria Wood and the impeccable comic timing of Julie Walters, Mrs Overall quickly became a classic.
Comedy had long been Walters’ forte, and her collaborations with Wood produced a double-act of Morecambe and Wise calibre.
But the new Dame Julie is also a revered stage and film actress and has won a cabinet full of TV and big screen Baftas, including the coveted Bafta Fellowship.
Born in 1950, Walters was raised in the West Midlands, the daughter of a clerk and a builder.
She was a nurse in Birmingham after leaving school, but when her boyfriend went to Manchester Polytechnic to study sociology, she quit to move in with him, and took a drama course.
Her big break came opposite Michael Caine in 1983’s Educating Rita, and in 2001 she won an Olivier Award for her part as Kate Keller in Arthur Miller’s All My Sons.