WM: What was the inspiration behind what your career has become?
JJ: It was always my childhood dream (Judith smiles broadly) I’m the first generation…you know, T.V. My Father, as far as he was concerned was to keep it traditional, I was to be a doctor, or a lawyer, something along those lines, when I told my Mother that’s what I wanted to she refused to hear, and when she succumbed to the fact I was really taking this path seriously she done her best to deter me, even had a book about the lives of women in the “Hollywood industry” , telling me about up at the crack of dawn, every day, about the long hours in the studio, the very little time to myself…when my only response was, ‘it’s still what I want to do’! (Smiling even more now) In the end the cost was £17 per annum to be signed on to ‘Equity’s books’, (Equity is the UK trade union that represents performers and other artists) back then £17 was a lot of money, and when I got a role in Angels, on the BBC, my Mum even opened an account for me, and my Dad wore this t-shirt of me, sizes too small mind you, went down the pub and said; “this is my daughter”, he was a proud Dad.
WM: What about your career have enjoyed the most?
JJ: It would have to be ‘No Problem’…
WM: …I don’t mean to interject but question 2 and how you answered it, is the answer to question 4; of which was how do you feel about the reality is that programmes like ‘The Real McCoy’, and ‘No Problem’, played the rite of passage role for a generation of people growing up in the UK?
JJ: It’s amazing, I mean back then when we done it- Victor Romero Evans, Malcolm Frederick, Chris Tummings, Janet Kay and Funmi Pear; formerly Shope.- when we done it was easy, we went to the studio, sat around doing studio work, then they called us for the shoot and we just went into a groove, it represented us, it was easy because many people could see, in our characters, people they knew, I loved doing that programme, and when we done it we could never imagine the impact the programme would have, but it did, I remember at the Reggae Awards we walked in and the entire place went silent, and then rapturous applause, it was brilliant, even as afar off as Jamaica when streets were quiet, it was because ‘No Problem’ was running, it represented ‘for the people by the people’.
WM: Definitely an all-time favourite, the programme gave some understanding to you, which essentially what makes it the legendary status of which all fans hail to. How do you see the role of British Black actors/actress in today’s British Film/TV Industry?
JJ: Seems to have gone backwards, essentially there’s needs to be a shake-up, but not at the moment, like-minded people still in charge, but in saying that you are getting a lot of good independent projects going on, with the internet and people generally not relying on the ‘powers that be’, there is an exciting vibe amongst the UK Film/TV industry in that respect.
WM: No regrets, no reprimands, what would you most likely say?
JJ: I think I know what you’re getting at. 'If' is a tiny word yet so big. Failure isn't trying something and it doesn't work, failure is not even trying. 'If only' 'what if'. Life is not a rehearsal, eliminate 'if' out of your life.
WM: I understand the ‘do’s and don’ts with regards to an interview…those rules, however it’s fair to say you’re an absolute legend, and this coming together has been an absolute pleasure. Thank you.
JJ: You are most welcome
(and I just got a’ friendly hug from a legend)
Judith Jacob is a household according to her many fans, best known for her role as the health visitor Carmel Roberts in the BBC soap opera EastEnders, a role she played from 1986 to 1989, before landing her role on EastEnders, Jacob was a co-founder of the Black Theatre Co-op (BTC), a London theatre group of black actresses, an accomplishment that has always inspired individuals to replicate such achievement. Jacob's first appearance on UK television was in the BBC production Play for Today (1976).
Before her role in EastEnders, she had been a regular cast member in the hospital drama Angels (1979-1981) and the sitcom No Problem! 1983-85, of which were Judith, along with the other characters involved, really cemented a place in many a’ people heart with respects to ‘one of the own’ representing, and entertaining the masses. Other television credits include various roles in the comedy sketch-show The Real McCoy (1991); The Queen's Nose (1995); Holby City (2003); Doctors (2003); and My Family (2004) and in May-June 2009, Jacob hosted Judith Jacob Yabba Yabbas with Friends in the Marie Lloyd Bar at the Hackney Empire, interviewing her showbiz friends "to find out what makes them tick, in the end Judith Jacob represents a fond interpretation of her art, and her personification as a black woman on T.V. in essence her many droves of fans who wouldn’t have it any other way.know a little more about you.