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Sue Lawley's castaway this week is the actress Imelda Staunton. Imelda Staunton is one of the UK's most versatile and popular actresses. Through a career spanning nearly 30 years she has consistently refused to be typecast, moving effortlessly from playing brassy Miss Adelaide in Guys and Dolls, to the oppressed Sonya in Uncle Vanya, to a grieving mother in Peter's Friends. Her most recent film role was in Mike Leigh's production Vera Drake - she played the eponymous heroine, a 1950s housewife who unbeknownst to her family carried out illegal abortions. She won huge acclaim for her performance, including an Oscar nomination and a BAFTA award for Best Actress.

Imelda Staunton was born in Archway, London, in 1956. Her mother Bridie was a hairdresser, and the family lived over her shop, whilst Imelda's father worked on the roads. It was an elocution and drama teacher at her school, Jacqueline Stoker, who encouraged her talent, adapting plays for her and putting her in for school drama c