June Watson in The Café.
The Café, which we've been airing on Afternoon Tea since January, has really started to grow on me: it reminds me a bit of a shorter version of that other "quirky" British show, Doc Martin. It's hard to categorize them; they put a smile on your face, and yet they're not exactly comedies. They have their serious moments, too, but they are not dramas. Regardless of how you'd describe them, though, what they both do have are some pretty interesting characters. One I find particularly fun is The Café's Mary Ellis, played by actress June Watson.
Watson is an actress you probably recognize from other British shows aired on MPT over the years. She had the reoccurring role of Mrs. Ball in William & Mary and has also appeared in New Tricks, Inspector Morse, Midsomer Murders, Wallander, The Inspector Linley Mysteries and Prime Suspect. Since her first television role in the early 1960s, Watson has appeared consistently on the small screen. Her real love though is the stage and she is actually currently appearing on Broadway in the highly acclaimed production of The Cripple of Inishmaan, which features Harry Potter's Daniel Radcliffe. Watson plays the 90-year-old "Mammy," and according to Variety her performance is "priceless". In case you get to New York, the play is running at the Cort Theatre through the end of July.
Rehearsing the role of Mammy with actress Sarah Greene.
The play opened to rave reviews and was, according to Watson, "one of the best premieres I've ever had". The actress went onto applaud the opening night audience, which she claimed was "fantastic, every line practically in the play got a laugh that was supposed to get a laugh. I think they cried, I think they were moved, it was fantastic."
Looking at a list of Watson's stage roles - which go back decades - she seems to have mainly focused on dramas. She's performed in twenty plays at the Royal National Theatre, one of which was Shakespeare's Romeo & Juliet with Masterpiece Mystery host Alan Cumming playing Romeo. She also appeared in the same play as the Nurse for the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2004. A play Watson starred in when it toured around the U.K. in 2011 & 2012 which must have been a lot of fun was Calendar Girls. Watson played the role of shy homemaker, Jesse, which was originally played in the film version by another familiar face to Afternoon Tea, Annette Crosbie (One Foot In The Grave).
As Jesse in Calendar Girls.
Although a lot can be learned about Watson's stage and television career, very little is known about her private life. She keeps her age a secret and rarely gives interviews. Preferring it seems to focus instead on what she does best - perform. You can see Watson in season one of The Café on Wednesdays at 1pm on Afternoon Tea, and you can see Season Two episodes on MPT-2 Saturdays at 9pm.
To contact Heather:
Address: Afternoon Tea
Maryland Public Television
11767 Owings Mills Blvd.
Owings Mills, MD 21117