Vera star Brenda Blethyn "fully expects" to work until the end of her life

Brenda Blethyn Credit: PA

Vera star Brenda Blethyn, 75, has said she "fully expects" to be working until the end of her life.

The actress said the landscape is gradually changing for older performers.

She told Good Housekeeping: "My parents worked until their dying days, and I fully expect to be doing the same.

Mum had about six jobs to put food on the table and dad spent the latter part of his life working in a ladies' dress shop as a handyman. They instilled that work ethic in me; if you want to earn some money, you've got to work for it.

Brenda Blethyn

"I enjoy being busy, too, so I'll always find something to do, even if it's painting a wall!"

Brenda celebrated her 75th birthday earlier this year but said she does not feel her age. She said, "If I'm completely honest, I don't feel the slightest bit different!"

"You're only as old as you feel, and I certainly don't feel 75. That's just a number, isn't it?"

Brenda Blethyn

Discussing the opportunities available for older actors, she said:

"I do think it's becoming more inclusive, but not before time.

"When I starred in the film Saving Grace, about a middle-aged widow, it took five years to get it off the ground.

"I'm trying to get Galina Petrovna's Three-Legged Dog Story, a wonderful book about a group of septuagenarians, turned into a TV series at the moment. I hope that will be a little easier."

Brenda Blethyn has been filming the 11th series of ITV drama Vera during lockdown, which will return to screens with six feature-length episodes.

Brenda Blethyn as 'Vera' Credit: ITV

Filming has kept her away from her husband Michael but Blethyn said: "When I'm up in Newcastle filming Vera, I don't see him for months on end. We talk a couple of times a day, it might just be: 'Hello, how are you doing?' but we make sure it always happens and it just works.

"They say absence makes the heart grow fonder - well, it's true! Being apart seems to keep us together."

The first two episodes of the series will be broadcast in 2021.

The remaining four episodes will be filmed from spring 2021 for broadcast in 2022.