YOUNGER viewers know her as returning MI5 officer Connie James.
Those with longer memories will recall that Spooks star Gemma Jones was once loved by millions for playing a very different character.
Her career has included roles in Harry Potter, Inspector Morse, Trial and Retribution, Sense and Sensibility and Bridget Jones’ Diary.
But she’s best remembered as cockney sparrow Louisa Leyton, later Louisa Trotter, in classic BBC1 Saturday night drama The Duchess of Duke Street.
Two series were screened in 1976 and 1977, with a total of 31 episodes.
Gemma starred as the scullery maid with ambitions to be the world’s greatest cook.
The drama, set in London between 1900 and 1925, was loosely based on the life of celebrated cook Rosa Lewis.
Like Louisa, she ended up running a posh hotel in Mayfair.
The Duchess of Duke Street was created by John Hawkesworth, who had previously worked on Upstairs Downstairs.


HERMIONE Norris was looking well when I met up with her earlier this week.
If you’re a Spooks fan and haven’t yet watched last night’s BBC1 episode, stop reading now.
On the day we spoke, a certain tabloid newspaper had published a screen grab of spy Ros Myers – dead in her coffin, the victim of a lethal injection.
Which was rather strange for those of us who had already seen preview DVDs of Hermione’s departure from the series.
As you’ll know if you watched last night – or last week on BBC3 – Adam (Rupert Penry-Jones) switched syringes.
Ros appeared dead, with no pulse, thanks to a synthetic nerve agent called TTX2, which simulates death.
I imagine you can achieve the same sort of effect by watching too much daytime TV.


ACTORS will always tell you that what they do isn’t a real job.
But spending months at a time filming a TV drama series always looks like pretty hard work to me.
The days – and nights – are long and gruelling, especially for the main characters.
And then there’s the sheer tedium of waiting around until you are needed in front of the camera.
Glamorous, it ain’t.
The bit of filming I saw while visiting the Spooks set earlier this year finally comes to the screen in episode five on BBC1 tonight.
There’s an interview with Peter Firth – who plays MI5 Section D boss Harry Pearce – in today’s MEN.


REGULAR readers, or those who are best friends with Mr Google, will know I took a trip to The Grid earlier this year.
The nerve centre of TV series Spooks, it’s actually located in an old biscuit factory in south London.
With the new series starting on BBC1 next Tuesday, it’s time to begin running the cast interviews from that set visit.
The first – with Rupert Penry-Jones, who plays Adam Carter – is online here.
As ever, there wasn’t room in the feature to include all of the chat with Rupert.
I asked him, for example, about the dramatic climax to the last series.
It saw MI5 agents Adam and Ros (Hermione Norris) resurface in the nick of time after being trapped underwater at the Thames Barrier.
“It was quite scary,” confessed Rupert.


JUST back from a day with MI5 on The Grid.
Filming for series six of Spooks is now well underway, based within sight of London’s Tower Bridge.
The new series of the award-winning BBC1 hit will feature one main story running through all the episodes.
Although details have to be held back until nearer transmission this autumn, the drama is again – as Spooks fans would expect – one step ahead of current world events.
Cast and crew were busy filming scenes for episodes five and six on the highly detailed set which portrays their fictional MI5 headquarters, known as The Grid.
Rupert Penry-Jones, who plays Adam Carter, chatted this morning after filming his first scene of the day.
We also spoke to Hermione Norris (Ros Myers), Peter Firth (Harry Pearce) and Gemma Jones, who plays a new character called Connie.