Outlander's Mrs Fitz actress says playing Scots role was 'thrilling' and 'meant a lot' to her

Annette Badland an Olivier and SAD Award-nomiated actress has featured in many theatrical, television, film and radio programmes
Annette Badland has featured in many theatrical, television, film and radio programmes -Credit:Annette Badland

Annette Badland, the 71-year-old actress known for her role as Mrs Fitz in Outlander, has expressed her delight at being able to portray a Scottish character and honour her mother's heritage.

She revealed that her mother was born just outside Edinburgh and she was determined to perfect the accent for her role in the Starz show.

She stated: "I was very thrilled to be playing a Scot, and Scottish history I think is very important and not always told" reports the Scottish Daily Express.

"My mum came from just outside Edinburgh from Loanhead, so I was terribly pleased that people thought I sounded Scottish, and I hadn't let my mum down- it's nice to have been thought to be a Scot."

Badland, who became a fan favourite for her portrayal of the warm-hearted and jovial Mrs Fitz, the head housekeeper of Castle Leoch, in the first season of the show, also shared fond memories of her co-stars Sam Heughan and Tobias Menzies.

"I was one of the first three to be cast along with Sam and Tobias Menzies so we were the first three to be cast which was wonderful," she reminisced.

Anette Badland played beloved Mrs Fitz in Outlander
Anette Badland played beloved Mrs Fitz in Outlander -Credit:Outlander

"I remember meeting Sam, he walked into the room and I kind of gasped. But what really took my breath away was that he was just such a beautiful man, he wasn't arrogant and he didn't come across as though 'Oh you're really going to want to meet me.' He was just a polite and kind boy."

"I loved working with Cat [Catriona Balfe] as well, she and I really got on."

The actress added: "Playing Mrs Fitz was glorious, all those boys to boss about! I think she would have spent a lot of time scrubbing their knees and smacking the back of their legs when they were little."

"It was fantastic to play someone who is so in demand, so generous and strong."

The Olivier Award nominee, who grew up in Birmingham, decided she wanted to be in the entertainment industry at the age of 10 after a parents' day, where she and her class were chanting 'Meg Merrilies' by John Keats.

She said: "For the first time, I realised that I could make an audience laugh, and I can stop them laughing - I'm an only child, so that was complete alchemy to have a hall full of people that you could get to respond to you, that was sort of magic for me."

She began her professional career in 1972 when she received her training at East 15 Acting School in London.

Since then she has starred in many theatrical, television, film and radio programmes, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Dr Who, Not Going Out and Wizards Vs. Aliens to name but a few.

Annette opened up about the intense experience she had while portraying the notorious Aunt Babe in EastEnders, a role that brought her not just fame but also some unnerving real-life consequences.

Anette Badland as evil aunt Babe in EastEnders
Anette Badland as evil aunt Babe in EastEnders -Credit:BBC EastEnders

"My role in Eastenders was tough, the schedule is tough and the audience response was tough- it was the only thing I'd done where people didn't treat me as though I was an actor, but as the character."

Explaining the severity of the situation, she continued: "That was the first time I'd experienced that, and my character wasn't particularly pleasant so you can imagine their reactions. I ended up getting death threats, the police were involved and things."

The actress also shared how the public's perception of her changed dramatically due to her soap opera character: "It was a very strange experience not to have people come up on the tube and say 'Oh I can't remember your name but I liked you in...' or 'Oh, hi you're Annette, aren't you? I didn't like that thing you were doing the other day'. Instead they'd go, 'Babe, are you all right? Babe, what's going on? ' And I'm like, I'm not actually Babe."

Despite the challenges, the star looks back with affection on her time at Albert Square: "As a soap actor, you are in the public's home so much, it's like you're their neighbour or their sister, it becomes someone important to their life, and that was a big change for me not to just be 'that' actress."

She fondly recalls some of the lighter moments: "Some of the things I relish- some of it was funny. I loved working with Danny Dyer."

"Because when you're doing a soap, you're with that family more than you are in your own home and that's quite important, we had a good time and we all enjoyed working together."

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