Interview: Liza Goddard talks ahead of Northampton dates

Liza Goddard
Liza Goddard

Actors are often told that they should never work with children or animals.

In a career that has lasted more than five decades, television star Liza Goddard has spent a large part of it working with the troublesome part of the profession.

So in a welcome break from her world, she stars in the play A Passionate Woman, which is coming to Northampton’s Royal & Derngate next month.

She plays Betty, a passionate, doting mum who finds it hard to accept that her son is leaving home to get married.

On the morning of her son’s wedding, Betty retreats to her attic where she relives her long-lost youth and the love affair she had in the 1960s.

Surrounded by her memories and ghosts from her past, Betty finds herself torn between a husband she never loved, a son about to leave and the man with who she shared a passionate affair.

Liza Goddard in A Passionate Woman

Liza Goddard in A Passionate Woman

Liza said: “It is a play which has been written by Kay Mellow who has written lots of wonderful things for television and it is a rarity.

“There are lots of parts for older woen but very few of them are leading parts and this is one of them.

“I think it is a situation that many women will be able to relate to. I know I was the same when my children were leaving home and you start to think about what are you going to do with yourself now they have left. But life goes on and you have to get on with it.”

At the time of speaking to the star, she was in the middle of rehearsals and it is a process that she doesn’t enjoy.

Liza said: “We obviously all know the lines and we are practicing, but we are at that stage of going ‘does this really work’ and then adding the props into the mix.

“It’s a terrifying process but it one that we shall overcome.”

It might also be part of the reason why she prefers working on television as opposed to the theatre.

Liza said: “With television jobs, you go in and you do it and it is over whereas with the theatre, it is very different as you are refining things.”

And she has been a regular face on the small screen working on television since the 1960s having started on Skippy the Bush Kangaroo.

Liza said: “There were a number of kangaroos on the show and none of them were ever trained to be in front of a camera. They’d bounce around all over the place.

“There were times when the production crew were having to hold the tails of the kangaroos out of shot to get them to stay in the right spot.”

She was also to replace Una Stubbs as a team captain on the panel show Give Us A Clue.

Liza said: “There was one time when they asked me to act out a 23-word title. That was probably the hardest.

“I did manage it and the team did guess it right which was wonderful.”

And Liza also had a small part in Doctor Who during the 1980s.

She said: “I played a space captain alongside Peter Davison as the doctor which was a lovely part.

“However the hardest part of that job was trying to be scared of things that weren’t terrifying. That required a lot of acting.

“We had a dog type creature and also some lepers, but it was a fun job.”

And as if to completely ignore the old saying about children and animals, she worked with both on the television series Woof which saw a young boy turned into a dog.

Liza said: “They say never work with children and animals and I have spent most of my career surrounded by either children or animals.

“The lovely thing about that job though was my

husband David Cobham was the director of it which was lovely.”

A Passionate Woman takes to Northampton’s Royal stage from Tuesday to Saturday, March 7 to 11, with performances taking place throughoutn the five day run.

Tickets are priced between £9 to £29.

They can be booked by calling the box office on 01604 624811 or visit