On “Grantchester,” veteran actress Tessa Peake-Jones doesn’t exactly play the most personable of people. As Mrs. Maguire, Peake-Jones’ character serves as Sidney’s housekeeper and occasionally unwelcomed advisor. It’s a tough gig.
In this role, Peake-Jones delivers a complex character whose big heart is often masked by her belief in traditions, manners, and a serious – dare we say strict – approach to life and all its nuances.
Admittedly though, Peake-Jones didn’t accidentally stumble upon the tendencies that make Mrs. Maguire who she is. Rather, Peake-Jones previously spent much time in the presence of such a figure.
“When I was 16, I worked for the gas board answering the phones to all the customers’ complaints and there was a woman who was the [personal assistant] to the boss,” explained Peake-Jones in an interview with What’s On TV. “She wore very high heels, her hair pulled back in a Forties’ style and very prominent lipstick – so nothing like Mrs. M. dress-wise – but she had a very fierce demeanor and hardly ever smiled. She was actually very kind to me but, on the outside, she was really tough – I was terrified of her!”
Even though the Mrs. Maguire character is a rather stern one, that doesn’t deter people from approaching Peake-Jones in public.
“They do but if I wear my glasses, it throws them off the scent a bit,” said Jones when asked about whether or not she gets recognized for her ‘Grantchester’ role, when in public.”
She continued: “I got chatting to a woman on the bus once and she said to me: ‘Ooh, I love ‘Grantchester’ but how do they make you look so old and ugly?’ to which I replied: ‘Well, I’m not wearing any make-up in it’. As she kept on, though, about how old and ugly I looked in it, it was beginning not to feel like the compliment I’m sure she’d intended it to be!”
This week on “Grantchester” (Wednesday, March 28 at 10pm ET/7pm PT): When a man dies in a police cell on Geordie’s watch, Sidney seems to be his only ally – but the vicar’s mind is elsewhere as one of his flock faces the gallows.