Anna Chancellor on life in Sussex, finding the best hamburgers and still being recognised as ‘Duckface’

Anna Chancellor

Anna Chancellor

Anna Chancellor

First published in News
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Still recognised as Hugh Grant’s jilted fiancée ‘Duckface’ from Four Weddings and a Funeral, Anna Chancellor is currently enjoying life on the Sussex coast.

The Bafta-nominated actress is filming the BBC of the adaptation of Mapp and Lucia in Rye.

Speaking to The Argus, the 50-year-old said: “The part I’m playing at the moment I love! I play Lucia, a terrible, dominating phoney who comes head to head with Miranda Richardson. You want the drama within a character, for them to be a bit extreme, so they’re funny but sad, generous but maybe mean to themselves – that’s what you’re looking for.

“I’ve always been a character actress: the dominatrix, the stalker, the nutter... I think it’s a bit more fun, although sometimes it’s quite narrow, the view that people [have of] the romantic heroine. They never make films about ordinary people being in love – everyone has to be really beautiful, and I wonder why we can’t make that mental leap.

“I’m living in Hastings while we’re filming Mapp and Lucia. It’s like a model village. I love the second-hand shops and there’s a great little cafe, like a 50s diner, that does the best hamburgers”

Mapp and Lucia is a collective name for a series of novels by E. F. Benson. Many of them were set in the small seaside town of Tilling, which is closely based on the East Sussex town of Rye, where Benson lived for a number of years and like Chancellor's character, Lucia, served as mayor.

However finding work for the great niece of Jane Austen hasn't been easy, neither was her education.

"I’ve always been a dreamer. I went to a convent school when I was quite young and failed miserably – I was bad at everything! I was always very interested and clever but could never get my head around that form of learning with getting things down on paper and writing essays – my homework would come back and it would just be a series of red marks.

"But I was always in the school plays, and that’s where I flourished. With acting, you’re told what to say but the choice of how you play it is yours and I found the structure of that very relieving. I was incredibly lucky that I found acting – otherwise, I could have felt that I was an underachiever."

Moving to London when she was 16, Chancellor attempted to go to sixth-form college but instead found work as a naked artist’s model. However she gained a break at 18, when she gained a place at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. However she faced another hurdle when at 21 she gave birth to her daughter Poppy.

"It looked like it was all going to go disastrously wrong. “I was unemployed for years. In fact, any success I’ve had, I’ve received with amazement, as have my whole family – but I feel I should tell people that it is possible to earn a living doing something that you love.

"When you’re on stage, there is a sort of alchemy that happens between you and an audience and that’s an incredible thing to experience. The bottom line is how good the script is: if it’s good, it doesn’t matter what form you do it in, the story takes over and it becomes beyond you.

“I have played a lot of amazing parts and I’ve had some great names, too. With Four Weddings and a Funeral, I didn’t realise that Duckface was my official character name.

"When I die, my obituary will probably be, ‘Duckface dies’. What can I say about that – do I mind? No, I think it would be churlish to bite the hand that feeds you and, coincidentally, I’ve always had a passion for ducks.

“Way before Duckface, when I lived with my daughter Poppy in a flat in Shepherds Bush, we had a pet duck called Daphne. I bought a paddling pool and used to blow it up every day – we were crazy about her.”

Filming for Mapp and Lucia is well underway in Rye, with the three part drama expected to be broadcast on BBC One later this year.

Comments (13)

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2:49pm Sat 9 Aug 14

Dave in Hastings says...

Cue the usual Argus neanderthals telling us what a pit Hastings is...

Welcome to the best town in Britain Anna!
Cue the usual Argus neanderthals telling us what a pit Hastings is... Welcome to the best town in Britain Anna! Dave in Hastings
  • Score: 0

9:25am Mon 11 Aug 14

Youlikemyjugs says...

Hastings is an absolute pit. I wouldn't even go the bathroom in Hadings.

Hope someone has warned Ms Chancellor to avoid the countless discarded syringes on show all over this gem of a town...
Hastings is an absolute pit. I wouldn't even go the bathroom in Hadings. Hope someone has warned Ms Chancellor to avoid the countless discarded syringes on show all over this gem of a town... Youlikemyjugs
  • Score: 0

10:44am Sat 16 Aug 14

Grendel says...

Have always really fancied her.
Have always really fancied her. Grendel
  • Score: 15

3:34pm Mon 18 Aug 14

Rotterdam says...

This is going to be absolute heaven for fans of stylish and beautiful actresses of a certain age. Miranda Richardson and Anna Chancellor in a series together.
This is going to be absolute heaven for fans of stylish and beautiful actresses of a certain age. Miranda Richardson and Anna Chancellor in a series together. Rotterdam
  • Score: 13

3:36pm Mon 18 Aug 14

Rotterdam says...

Youlikemyjugs wrote:
Hastings is an absolute pit. I wouldn't even go the bathroom in Hadings.

Hope someone has warned Ms Chancellor to avoid the countless discarded syringes on show all over this gem of a town...
I expect Anna knows how to avoid miserable gits as well!
[quote][p][bold]Youlikemyjugs[/bold] wrote: Hastings is an absolute pit. I wouldn't even go the bathroom in Hadings. Hope someone has warned Ms Chancellor to avoid the countless discarded syringes on show all over this gem of a town...[/p][/quote]I expect Anna knows how to avoid miserable gits as well! Rotterdam
  • Score: 10

3:53am Tue 19 Aug 14

Bob49 says...

I think 'duckface' was a polite was of saying another 'name', which is more commonly used, but a good deal ruder (it rhymmes with duckface)

So the guff about ducks is rather silly
I think 'duckface' was a polite was of saying another 'name', which is more commonly used, but a good deal ruder (it rhymmes with duckface) So the guff about ducks is rather silly Bob49
  • Score: -1

11:01am Wed 20 Aug 14

Kim Gandy says...

ADORED the series with Geraldine McEwan, Prunella Scales, Nigel Hawthorne and Denis Lill.. Even saw it being filmed.

Love Rye. Gorgeous place. Very interested to see this adaptation as a huge fan.
ADORED the series with Geraldine McEwan, Prunella Scales, Nigel Hawthorne and Denis Lill.. Even saw it being filmed. Love Rye. Gorgeous place. Very interested to see this adaptation as a huge fan. Kim Gandy
  • Score: 1

1:23pm Fri 22 Aug 14

Ignatius Lumpopo says...

She's been "trilled" for a week now....
She's been "trilled" for a week now.... Ignatius Lumpopo
  • Score: 2

5:15pm Fri 22 Aug 14

Telscombe Cliffy says...

Kim Gandy wrote:
ADORED the series with Geraldine McEwan, Prunella Scales, Nigel Hawthorne and Denis Lill.. Even saw it being filmed.

Love Rye. Gorgeous place. Very interested to see this adaptation as a huge fan.
I think you mean 'wind turbine'
[quote][p][bold]Kim Gandy[/bold] wrote: ADORED the series with Geraldine McEwan, Prunella Scales, Nigel Hawthorne and Denis Lill.. Even saw it being filmed. Love Rye. Gorgeous place. Very interested to see this adaptation as a huge fan.[/p][/quote]I think you mean 'wind turbine' Telscombe Cliffy
  • Score: -2

8:43am Sat 23 Aug 14

Pikey Pete says...

Ignatius Lumpopo wrote:
She's been "trilled" for a week now....
Have to call her budgie face...If she is on the trill.
[quote][p][bold]Ignatius Lumpopo[/bold] wrote: She's been "trilled" for a week now....[/p][/quote]Have to call her budgie face...If she is on the trill. Pikey Pete
  • Score: 3

5:46pm Sun 24 Aug 14

Under35andout says...

QUACK
QUACK Under35andout
  • Score: 0

5:54pm Tue 26 Aug 14

Phixer says...

Dave in Hastings wrote:
Cue the usual Argus neanderthals telling us what a pit Hastings is...

Welcome to the best town in Britain Anna!
You should get out more often!
[quote][p][bold]Dave in Hastings[/bold] wrote: Cue the usual Argus neanderthals telling us what a pit Hastings is... Welcome to the best town in Britain Anna![/p][/quote]You should get out more often! Phixer
  • Score: 0

10:02am Fri 29 Aug 14

Cyril Postlethwaite says...

i dont like her
i dont like her Cyril Postlethwaite
  • Score: 0

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