Pauline McLynn: 'There's a Mrs Doyle everywhere'

EastEnders, Shameless, Shakespeare: she’s done the lot. But it’s her tea-foisting role in Father Ted she’ll always be remembered for – and it almost didn’t happen

All is calm and quiet on a weekday morning inside the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse in London. The stage is bare, the ornate chandeliers hang low. Then Pauline McLynn bursts in, having abandoned her taxi in traffic and hurried the rest of the way on foot. Her brown hair is pinned up, save for a few stray tendrils. Accepting a drink from a nearby publicist, she launches immediately into a monologue about the importance of wax exports to the Ethiopian economy. It is entirely possible that she takes a breath over the course of the next hour, though I couldn’t swear to it.

The effect is to draw the listener instantly into her confidences. Within minutes of settling down in the pews of the London theatre,
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