This much I know: The BFG's Penelope Wilton

By Helen Barlow

Actress Penelope Wilton. Photo / AP
Actress Penelope Wilton. Photo / AP

The Queen is one of the most iconic figures. Certainly she's the longest-reigning monarch in England ever. She's been the mainstay and the centre of security and stabilised feelings in England since 1952. She is somebody who is out of politics and that's probably one of the reasons she's respected throughout the world.

I don't know what I'm going to do when she goes because she's always been the Queen.

From a child's perspective she's at the top of the list, like when Paddington Bear goes to see The Queen.

I hope I've given the Queen a good rendition. She's been played a lot, so this is my version. We know she has a wonderful sense of humour so we'll just wait and see how that goes down.

I studied as many pieces of film as I could see of her when she wasn't being particularly formal. Like when heads of state from other countries came to dinner or opening Parliament or when she is enjoying herself at the races or when she's with her family and grandchildren and is more relaxed.

The BFG continues the tradition of fairy tales in England. They say movies promote Paris as the capital of love as England is the capital of fairy tales.

I read some of Roald Dahl's stories to my daughter and I particularly liked this one probably because it was a bit shorter than the others and you could get through it. I also loved the magic and the relationship between the grandfather figure and the little girl.

There's no cynicism in this story and it's fantasy, and I think it's magic. Steven Spielberg sees the world with the same imagination as a child. If there's any message in the movie it's not to lose that. It also speaks to all children, to the sense of isolation and loneliness in their lives.


I loved the farting scene. It was very good to do it because when we drank the frobscottle, Steven went around individually filming our reactions and he had me doing it for a long time. I never quite knew when it was happening but when I did a fart my seat went shooting back. It was on a little runner and it was pulled back with a very loud bang.

I only ever worked on Downton Abbey for half of the year. I did two plays and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel films as well. I enjoyed Downton, it was a part of my life and afterwards life goes on. But I miss my fellow actors. I had a very close relationship with Maggie Smith, because we did a lot together and also Mrs Patmore downstairs and Mrs Hughes.

- Canvas

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