'Reality television is cheap'

strong views

'Reality television is cheap'

An actress, a theatre artiste, a playwright and a teacher — Gwyneth Powell wears many hats, her favourites being coming to India as a teacher and essaying the role of a headmistress on ‘Grange Hill’ (a television series).

    On her maiden visit to Bangalore, Gwyneth says that there is a lot to see in this part of the country. She is pretty impressed with the talent she has seen here. “I only have a day here and I have so much to see. I really wanted to take a trip around the City — but I will manage with a short one this time,” she smiles.

Coming to her favourite topic — theatre — she says that the art has come a long way since she started.

   “The bulk of theatre is in touring now. Each big city in England has a theatre company . When I started 45 years ago, there was no concept of a star or a leading actor or actress,” she explains.

A veteran playwright and actress, she feels that the quality of work and talent in India, as well as the level of teaching, is good.

     “I always put in a word to come to India for the auditing sessions or for teaching. I feel the children here are very talented and ready to work hard. They are keen to learn — people in England, on the other hand, aren’t always keen to put in a little bit of effort,” says Gwyneth, adding, “with the children here, you don’t really need to work hard. They are a talented and a enthusiastic bunch and that is the main reason I love coming to India.”

She admits that she loves Indian food — spices and all, saying, “I love to taste different kinds of Indian food. I cannot have them all at once but I do enjoy them in small portions.”Ask her about her favourite role and she is quick to respond, “I played the headmistress in the television series ‘Grange Hill’ for 12 years and it is the closest to my heart.

We won many awards and it is one of the longest-running shows on television. The cast and crew are almost like a family — we are all very close-knit. I have seen the transformation of not only the show, but also the characters in it.

Some have left acting and taken up other jobs, while others have become leading actors and actresses. It has been a great experience.”

She has often been invited to reality shows. “I feel reality television is cheap. They should be making better programmes. I was offered a dance reality show and turned it down almost immediately. I cannot take the idea of being a part of a reality show. The audience may want to see it once or twice but I feel they enjoy other shows more. It gets boring and monotonous and I don’t see any reason why anybody would see it,” sums up Gwyneth.

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