Taking on a national treasure
Y ou know you're living in a modern world when you can have a job interview over the internet.
When actress Jill Halfpenny was approached for the role of Beverly in classic play Abigail's Party she was half away around the world filming in South Africa.
Instead of foregoing the opportunity, she went to her computer and auditioned over the web.
She says: "The Chocolate Factory approached me and said they were interested in me for the role. I was doing Wild At Heart at the time but they said I could have an audition over Skype. It was a strange first meeting but it all went well and I got the part."
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The softly spoken girl from Gateshead has enough television credits to make any aspiring actress envious.
As well as roles in Coronation Street and EastEnders she has appeared in Waterloo Road, Shameless and Blue Murder.
Her stage work is equally illustrious, having won an Oliver Award for her portrayal of Paulette in Legally Blonde, she took on the role of Roxie Hart in the West End production of Chicago, and even won the Strictly Come Dancing crown back in 2004.
"I love theatre and television work," she says. "I got into this industry to do both and I think one informs the other.
"I'll always try to do as much as I can."
And she says taking the part of the monstrous drinks party host, which first appeared as a BBC Play For Today in 1977, was one she didn't hesitate over.
"I knew of it but I hadn't seen the film or read the play," she says.
"I think I may have watched a bit of it but it wasn't fresh in my mind.
"That was great, though, because I like to be able to put my own stamp on everything I do.
"I read it before my audition, obviously, and it is such a brilliant part for a woman.
"It's challenging and very complex and I didn't even question whether I wanted it.
"I knew if they offered it to me I would take it."
Back in the 1970s, 17 million people watched the broadcast of Abigail's Party, starring writer Mike Leigh's then wife Alison Steadman as Beverly, and it soon became a national treasure.
Written and set during the year of the Queen's Silver Jubilee, the play is staged in a North London living room.
Beverly and her husband Laurence are hosting a drinks party for their neighbours.
There is plenty of alcohol, an array of cheese and pineapple savoury bites and olives, and Demis Roussos on the record player.
Beverly awaits her guests, the hapless Ange and her husband Tony, who have just moved in over the road, and nervy divorcee Sue, whose 15-year-old punk daughter, Abigail, is throwing a party of her own.
There follows a ruthlessly accurate observation of the pretensions of suburbia and a world obsessed with class and taste, ruled over by Beverly. As prejudices are unmasked and tempers flare, the evening seems headed for disaster in one of the funniest plays ever written.
Jill says: "Beverly is married and has no children. She used to work on the make-up counter of a shop and she is very, very unhappy.
"She's bitter and kind of twisted and she takes that out on her husband.
"She invites her neighbours to a party and it soon becomes a nightmare."