Downton’s Samantha Bond comes to Manchester for the UK premier of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

PUBLISHED: 00:00 04 February 2014

Samantha Bond

Samantha Bond


Samantha Bond is going in search of love in a brand new Musical about to hit Manchester but in real life it’s a different story...

Robert Lindsay, Katherine Kingsley and Rufus HoundRobert Lindsay, Katherine Kingsley and Rufus Hound

She’s been Miss Moneypenny to Pierce Brosnan’s 007 and Lady Rosamund in Downton Abbey, now Samantha Bond one of the UK’s most enduring actors is a glamorous heiress in search of love in the UK premier of Dirty Rotten Scoundrels.

The role of Muriel Eubanks is sheer joy for Samantha who joins co-stars Robert Lindsay and Rufus Hound for the UK premier at the Palace Theatre this month.

‘I’m loving every moment of it,’ she thrills.

‘I’ve never done a musical before and it’s a whole different world. I am very, very excited. I’m like a 10-year-old child about it most of the time.’

Adapted from Frank Oz’s hit 1988 movie comedy, Dirty Rotten Scoundrels won 10 Tony Awards and 10 Drama Desk Awards for its original Broadway run in 2005.

It’s the story of rival con-men Lawrence and Freddy who exploit rich women hanging out in a swanky French coastal resort, including Samantha’s chracter Muriel.

‘She’s got lots of money but in her heart she’s looking for love,’ explains the actor, whose personal circumstances are far happier.

This year she celebrates her 25th wedding anniversary to husband Alex Hanson with whom she has two children, Molly, and Tom although famously the couple separated for a year when both children were little.

‘I think I am a terribly romantic person I love romantic gestures,’ she confesses although this year she will be apart from Alex On St Valentine’s Day, as she’ll be in Manchester for the show which runs from February 12-22nd.

‘Well there are always flowers - Interflora!’ she says with a laugh.

‘We always celebrate if we are together and usually go out to dinner - or we might say : “Did you forget as well!”.

And her most romantic moment?

‘I think it was when my husband proposed to me. He got down on bended knee in my kitchen. That was probably about 26 years ago as we celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary this year.’

Being an actress was a no brainer for Samantha as her father was actor Philip Bond and her mother TV producer Pat Sandys. “It was a colourful and lively house” where actor friends like Patrick McGee and Peter Bowles would drop in. The acting dynasty will continue as both Molly and Tom are now at acting school.

‘They were supposed to get a proper job,’ she says with mock disapproval.

Although, if they are half as successful as their mother she really should have nothing to worry about. As well as her roles in the Bond movies and Downtown she’s had a varied career playing with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre, as Auntie Angela in the BBC comedy Outnumbered and as the original Ms. Liz Probert in Rumpole of the Bailey.

So what - apart from her talent of course - has contributed to her longevity?

‘I think it’s keeping an open mind and trying to be brave about the characters you do,’ she says.

‘I think I am braver than I think I am. I do fear things but then you have to overcome those fears and so things anyway. I mean doing a musical scares me but I think this is the happiest I have ever been.’

Theatregoers in Manchester will be the first to see Dirty Rotten Scoundrels before it finally debuts at the Savoy Theatre in London in early March and although she says she loves Manchester, where she’s played in the past with Kenneth Branagh’s Renaissance Theatre company and shot the TV series Donovan she’s clearly looking forward to “coming home” to the capital.

‘It will sit so beautifully (in the Savoy Theatre) as it is perfectly suited to the art deco feel of the theatre. It’s set in that part of the south of France where people dress for dinner and which has the kind of elegance which belongs to a past era.’

So what’s the most romantic role she’s ever played.

‘Without a shadow of a doubt - well there are two roles Juliet and Rosalind. There’s an Ellen Terry quote about them. She said “Juliet is in love with love and Rosalind is love itself.”They are both wonderful to play.

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels: Manchester Opera House, February 12th-22nd 08448713018

About Dirty Rotten Scoundrels

Samantha Bond joins Olivier, Tony and BAFTA award winning Robert Lindsay (Me And My Girl, Becket, Oliver!, My Family) and Rufus Hound (One Man Two Guv’nors, Celebrity Juice, and this year’s Strictly Come Dancing Christmas Special) who play conmen Lawrence Jameson and Freddy Benson competing for the riches (and even the heart) of the young impressionable heiress, Christine Colgate played by Katherine Kingsley (A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Singin’ in the Rain).

Dirty Rotten Scoundrels is based on the legendary 1988 film starring Michael Caine and Steve Martin, directed by Frank Oz. It will be the UK premiere of this new production, which has been reconceived and reimagined for the UK stage.

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