What’s he talking about’ Only Fools Raquel star recalls ignoring showrunner warning

Only Fools' Raquel and Cassandra on not being in scenes

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Tessa and her co-star Gwyneth Strong, who played Cassandra in the BBC sitcom, appeared on Tuesday’s Loose Women to chat about their new play, Ladies of Letters. The duo have finally reunited for the first time since Only Fools and Horses came to an end in 2003. Before their interview began, Tessa pointed out that the ITV studio is where they recorded the David Jason hit.

“We were last here 20 years ago,” the actress admitted. “20 years ago pacing up and down here worrying about when the warm-up was on.

“Will the audience like us? Will we be alright? Will we remember our lines? That was all here in the ITV studio.”

The duo, who worked together for many years in the comedy, went on to explain they never filmed a scene on their own.

“We spent our lives talking to each other because we made a friendship very quickly,” Gwyneth said.

The Cassandra star continued: “It feels like we worked together but only in group scenes so we were never really alone together as that wasn’t the push of the storyline.

“It was about being their partners, I think we spoke on the phone in a few episodes.”

Gwyneth went on to admit that when they landed their roles on the show, they had no idea how successful it would be.

“We never saw that coming at all,” she told the panel. “And when we went into it we didn’t it would be for a full series.”

She added: “We were both booked for an episode, it was all a bit last minute so that helped in a way.

“We thought it was exciting to do one episode and it went from there.”

Tessa went on to admit that when she joined the show, she’d never watched a single episode.

She explained she once ignored the showrunner’s advice as she had no idea how successful the show already was with fans.

“[Showrunner] Roger Lloyd-Pack said, ‘Your life will change and you won’t be able to go on the tube anymore’,” the Raquel star detailed.

“I thought, ‘What is he talking about? Of course, I will’, and of course, it came out at Christmas the first one I was in.

“I didn’t know there were 24 million people watching it, you can’t comprehend that when you’re doing a programme.

“The reaction… I bought a Duffel coat and I had a newspaper, it was fine.”

Tessa and Gwyneth both joined the comedy in 1988 until it came to an end in 2003.

The duo haven’t been short of work since their Only Fools days as they have both featured in the likes of Midsomer Murders, Casualty and a Touch of Frost.

Discussing their new play, Gwyneth said: “It was originally a radio series and it was on for about 13 years, incredibly popular.

“And it’s been adapted into a play but telling the same story.”

Loose Women airs weekdays at 12.30pm on ITV.

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