Pat & Cabbage. Image shows from L to R: Pat (Barbara Flynn), Cabbage (Cherie Lunghi). Copyright: Red Production Company
Pat & Cabbage

Pat & Cabbage

  • TV sitcom
  • ITV
  • 2013
  • 6 episodes (1 series)

Comedy about a pair of women who have no intention of growing old gracefully - although their children really wish they would. Stars Barbara Flynn, Cherie Lunghi, Marcus Garvey, Rosie Cavaliero, Diane Morgan and more.

Rosie Cavaliero interview

Pat & Cabbage. Helen (Rosie Cavaliero). Copyright: Red Production Company

Rosie Cavaliero plays Pat's daughter Helen...

Hi Rosie. What drew you to this production?

The moment I read it, I just thought the writing was very witty, no-nonsense and unsentimental. It's exuberant, but it's never too gushing. Above all, it is extremely truthful about family relationships. I immediately related to that.

I felt I could tap into that, particularly the relationship between the siblings. I have three sisters myself, and I thought Pat & Cabbage was a very honest representation of sisterly relationships. I identified with the idea that some sisters believe they have a right to criticise their siblings without thinking that it's going to be upsetting. They say horrible things to their sisters and think they're helping!

Can you outline Helen's characteristics for us?

She's Pat's older daughter. She is married with a son. She is controlling, but well-meaning. She bosses her family about, particularly her husband and her sister, but always thinks that it's for the greater good. For all that, she has good intentions and a sense of humour. She is training to be a counsellor, which is the worst possible profession for her. She thinks she'd be really good at helping other people with their problems, but I fear she is very misguided about that!

Is Helen similar to you in any way?

I don't think I'm like that at all! There is an element of being controlling with me, but I don't think I'm as bossy or as mean as Helen!

How would you assess Helen's relationship with her mother?

She is upset about the fact that in her view her mother is not grieving properly and is about to have a breakdown. Helen is trying to make Pat grieve more, but she's not really succeeding!

Why do you think Pat & Cabbage will strike a chord with audiences?

I think viewers will relate to the characters. 60 is young these days. When you hit that age, you have still got a lot to do in life - it doesn't all come to a grinding halt. Only when you get to your eighties do you begin to slow down. Nowadays people are still doing everything in their sixties. And people who have been widowed get on with life. They get into culture and develop new interests. They see a lot of their friends. I think a lot of people will connect with that.

Pat & Cabbage. Image shows from L to R: Dylan (Tom Turner), Cabbage (Cherie Lunghi), Jim (Marcus Garvey), Jack (Luca Fereday), Helen (Rosie Cavaliero), Pat (Barbara Flynn), Nicola (Diane Morgan). Copyright: Red Production Company

How did you find it working with Barbara Flynn?

It was delightful. There were no egos or weight throwing on set. It was a very nice, friendly, relaxed atmosphere. Barbara and Cherie are such lovely people. I've always been a massive fan of Barbara's, so it was fantastic to be playing her daughter. I didn't actually get to meet her until two minutes before filming our first scene together, but we established a terrific rapport very quickly. I loved working with her. She gives so much in every single scene.

Do you think there is a move towards more shows featuring older actresses these days?

It certainly seems to be a trend, and that can only be a good thing. It's nice to know the parts won't dry up as I get older. I think it's important that commissioning editors remember who's watching TV. It isn't young people - they're out and about. So more dramas are being made nowadays that reflect the audience. Acting used to be a hard business to stay in as you got older. But it's nice to know that as I reach the relevant age, people will still want to employ me. At least, I hope they will!

Do you feel there would be new places to take the characters if Pat & Cabbage went to second series?

Absolutely. I think this great potential for another series. There's loads for people to enjoy in this show. It's really funny and acerbic. And there are lots of characters that will appeal to different audiences. Of course, Barbara and Cherie are fantastic, but Marcus and Diane are also brilliant and hilarious. I think people are going to love all these characters.

What are you up to next?

I'm doing the second series of A Young Doctor's Notebook with Jon Hamm from Mad Men. At first, I found it impossible to speak to him without turning into a gibbering wreck. He definitely has that effect on people. To begin with, I was gabbling on about any old thing, and he just smiled politely. But actually once I got to know him, he's not intimidating at all. He's really nice.

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