Rula Lenska on performing with Alistair McGowan, spending time with her grandson and her passion for knitting

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A cup of tea with Rula Lenska

Rula Lenska played Mrs Higgings in the stage show Pygmalion ©Rex Features

Rula Lenska is an actress who has had parts in EastEnders, Coronation Street, One Foot In The Grave and Footballers’ Wife.

As well her impressive career on screen, Rula has bagged roles in many stage shows including Calendar Girls, 84 Charing Cross Road and Pygmalion.

She entered the Celebrity Big Brother house in 2006. Rula was the third housemate to be evicted.

How do you take your tea?

Weak, decaffeinated, a little bit of milk and one sugar.

Who would you most like 
to have a cup of tea with?

The Dalai Lama. I think he’s 
an extraordinary, warm and delicious human being.

Tell us a bit about your role in Pygmalion.

I played Mrs Higgins, Professor Henry Higgins’ mother. Henry [played by Alistair McGowan] is like a naughty schoolboy, and she’s the only person who can control him.

The combination of a good play, a good cast and good audiences makes touring theatre the loveliest thing in 
the world.

Do you remember the very first time you stepped 
on stage?

I was a cockerel in the Nativity when I was five. I had to stand on one leg in my emerald-green tights.

One night I’d forgotten to go to the loo 
and I wet myself! But I never stopped crowing or dropped my position – a true professional.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?

I love photography, reading and travel. I also do a lot of knitting and embroidery. I’ve recently stopped smoking, so I’m knitting frantically; I find it really helps to keep my hands occupied.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever been given?

My mother used to say, ‘Never go to bed on an angry word’, which I think is lovely.

We also hear you’re a besotted grandmother…

Indeed I am! My daughter works as a paediatric nurse, so 
I spend a lot of time with my grandson, Ethan.

I take him swimming, to the local little gym and I adore reading to him – he’s a bright little cookie.