JOANNA SCANLAN is set to take on the iconic role of Ma Larkin in the new ITV Sunday series The Larkins. Having enjoyed a hugely successful career, things have not always been easy for the actress. In fact a life-changing illness was the catalyst she needed to pursue her acting career.
The new ITV show, which is a spin-off of The Daring Buds of May saw Pam Ferris originate the role of Ma, but now Scanlan – the three time BAFTA nominee will star alongside Bradley Walsh as Pa. From a young age Scanlan knew that she wanted to act, but after completing her training and seeing peers like Tilda Swinton and Simon Russell-Beale thrive within the industry she lost confidence and hope. Taking a job as a drama lecturer instead, Scanlan’s health deteriorated.
The actress admitted that after not getting jobs she was applying for she was “completely fazed”.
“I didn’t understand it. I didn’t know what was happening.
“I’d given up the dream really.”
Sadly for Scanlan things went from bad to worse. After pressure at work increased as Leicester Polytechnic transitioned into De Montfort University, the star was struggling.
She felt as though she was “going to be letting the students down”. The pressure soon became too much and Scanlan crumbled.
This led to her having 12 months off from the job and an agonising 18 month battle with the hospital to find out what was wrong with her.
“I became very ill,” Scanlan said in an interview with The Times. “I had 12 months off from the job. For 18 months or so I was going back and forth to the hospital every week as they tried to work out what was wrong with me. It was eventually diagnosed as ME, or chronic fatigue syndrome. Looking back now it’s obvious that the illness was stress related.”
ME or chronic fatigue syndrome is a long-term illness with a wide range of symptoms. According to the NHS the most common symptom is extreme tiredness.
In addition, people with CFS/ME may have other symptoms, including:
For a period of time Scanlan was unsure whether she would be able to recover. This was until a doctor at the Ysbyty Gwynedd hospital gave her some “life-changing” advice.
The doctor said: “If you don’t go back to acting you will be ill for the. “Brinkwire Summary News”.