It is a long time since we have seen Kathy Burke on our screens. 11 years to be precise with a couple of exceptions. The nation fell in love with Kathy when she appeared along side Harry Enfield in unforgettable sketches featuring Waynetta Slob and Perry. Perry and Kevin even became a big screen hit! We also saw Kathy as Linda, a grumpy mean housemate from Gimme Gimme Gimme. Yet Kathy gave up acting 11 years ago – “I just didn’t have that bubbly feeling in my stomach any more.”
Kathy Burke returned to what was her first love, the theatre, where she started directing. She directed several plays for the Hampstead Theatre and, in 2007, was about to start one for the Royal Court when she was struck down with a stomach complaint. In hospital, she caught Clostridium difficile, and it took her 18 months to recover. This set her career back and she took a couple of acting roles such as Nan’s daughter with Catherine Tate, and Connie Sachs in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
Kathy Burke turned her hand to writing in 2010 when she was approached by Sky Atlantic to create a one off piece for Christmas depicting a childhood memory called Little Crackers Better than Christmas. The story was based on the real-life story of how she got Joe Strummer’s autograph. The drama was such a success that she was then asked to write a four part series which depicts her childhood from its unassuming beginnings in the 1970’s in Islington called Walking and Talking. Kathy has described the drama to the Guardian as “My love letter to books, 70s television, music and friends.” Kath and Mary, the central characters, seem like real teenagers: funny, curious, dramatic, bantering, honest. You never see them cry or do anything more immoral than bunk off school. “Well, that’s what girls are like most of the time. I get a bit pissed off that with young girls, young actors, unless it’s a costume drama, they’ve got to take their clothes off, they’ve got to be a bitch on drugs, or a prostitute. This is just them… being. Just being, for 25 minutes.” Kathy Continues “I wanted to write a semi-autobiographical piece that was uplifting and heart-warming.” Walking and Talking features Kathy Burke as one of the nuns that taught in her school but the nun characters are really based on her own father. The new series airs on Sky on the 25th June.
Watch a clip from Little Crackers Better than Christmas, the inspiration behind Walking and Talking which sees Kathy Burke playing the nun: