Glenda Jackson to return to acting in BBC Radio 4's Zola adaptation

Former film star and Labour MP to take first screen role in more than 20 years with ‘mash-up’ of novel cycle also starring Robert Lindsay

Former film star and Labour MP Glenda Jackson is to return to acting after more than 20 years, starring in a BBC Radio 4 “mash-up” adaptation of novels by French writer Emile Zola.

The 79-year-old actor picked up two Oscars in the 1970s – for Women in Love (1971) and A Touch of Class (1974) – but she has not appeared in a role on screen since 1992.

That was the year Jackson won a seat in parliament as the Labour MP for Hampstead and Highgate, from which she stood down in May ahead of the general election.

The BBC plans to broadcast three seasons of Emile Zola: Blood, Sex and Money with the first scheduled to begin on 21 November with a 90-minute opening episode.

It said each season will be broadcast over an “intensive and addictive week”.

Jackson will voice the 104-year-old Adelaide Fouque, alongside Robert Lindsay and Murdered by My Boyfriend actor Georgina Campbell.

The BBC promises that the “mash-up” of Zola’s 20-novel cycle, Les Rougon-Macquart, will be “pacy, challenging and exciting”.

“The series is a mash-up of the novels, a multi-stranded immersive experience that draws us into 19th century France and the tragic, farcical reign of Napoleon III, as it marches forward towards a modern, industrialised society,” the BBC said.

She famously refused to apologise after launching a tirade against Margaret Thatcher for teaching Britain “greed and selfishness”.


Mark Sweney

The GuardianTramp

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