EastEnders star Glynis Barber on ‘fabulous’ hot kisses with Hugh Grant

She made a name for herself as a posh TV cop in the 80s and is now in her third major UK soap opera.

But it’s smooching Hugh Grant in stage drama that is one of Glynis Barber’s fondest memories. In fact, Hugh was also very enthusiastic and asked the then recently married actress not to stop.

She had become a household name as Sgt Harriet Makepeace, one half of the hit TV detective duo Dempsey and Makepeace.

And in 1990, a year after she married her co-star Michael Brandon and long before her stints at Emmerdale and EastEnders, she and Hugh were on stage together.

They appeared at the Churchill Theatre, Bromley, Kent, in High Flyers, about couples on ski trips.

She says, “I loved Hugh. He is very funny. He has a very dry sense of humor.

“He was dating Liz Hurley and she was hanging out sometimes. He really made me laugh.

Glynis in EastEnders


BBC/Jack Barnes)

“I was having an affair with Hugh in the room and I had to smooch him. It was a fabulous kiss. And he was like, ‘Glynis, I think you should do it a little longer.’

“We used to go out to dinner and Liz would come over. Since then, I’ve seen her several times, but I’ve only seen Hugh once. I partied a lot with Hugh.

The play took place four years before Four Weddings and a Funeral made Hugh a global star.

The actress starring in Hollywoods



Glynis had already found fame as a noble elegant Makepeace, solving crimes with the streetwise New Yorker Lt James Dempsey, played by Brandon.

The slow-moving “will they, won’t they” romance of the characters has spilled over into real life.

The actors are still married 33 years later, which Glynis, now 66, calls “a miracle”.

But the star is now on the wrong side of the law, having just taken on the role of gangster Norma in Hollyoaks.

She arrives dressed in black in a hearse, calls herself The Undertaker and wants to know who stole her money.

Playing a crime boss on the Channel 4 soap opera is a far cry from the life Glynis enjoyed as a rising star and the company she kept.

Glynis Barber and Hugh Grant in the 1990 production of High Flyers

She partied with stars and even met two rock ‘n’ roll legends.

She says: ‘I remember going to a party and there were these stairs going up to the toilet, and the stairs were quite narrow.

“There were two people sitting there and neither of them moved. I had to step over them.

“One was David Bowie and the other Mick Jagger, and I only realized that when I stepped over them. They didn’t move, they just smiled.

In the 90s, she and Brandon moved to Los Angeles where she hung out with stars.

She says: “I used to go to a gym and Cindy Crawford was on the StairMaster, Bruce Springsteen on the treadmill. It wasn’t a fancy gym but it was the most starred place.

“Bruce Springsteen was very talkative and said, ‘I’m coming down, I’ll wipe this for you.’ Normal chat.

Hugh Grant then his girlfriend Liz Hurley


Getty Images)

EastEnders features Barber and Anita Dobson


Alan Davidson/REX/Shutterstock)

But it was meeting her ultimate crush Richard Gere, a friend of her husband’s, that left her stunned and unable to speak.

She says: “We went to a restaurant and Richard Gere was there, so I said he was there. And Michael said, “Oh, come on, let me introduce you.” I said, ‘Oh my gosh, do you know him?’

“I had a huge crush on Richard Gere, huge. I was completely frozen and couldn’t function.

“I couldn’t cope so I ran outside the restaurant. I do not know why. They just saw me running out of the restaurant. I’m done now.

“Another time when Richard called our hotel room he asked to speak to Michael and said it was Richard Gere, I thought it was a joke.

“Once again I couldn’t cope and ran out of the room. I’m much cooler now.

Glynis is much more level-headed and disciplined at work, such as when she starred in a touring play, Killing Time, with Minder and New Tricks star Dennis Waterman.

She says: “He was lovely but he was going through a pretty tough time personally. He was a perfect gentleman to me. I was pretty strict with him.

“I had him do a line every night before he went on stage and he did it and no one could believe Dennis was doing what he was told.

“Everyone was speechless. I can be very bossy but he needed it. It was a two-man game, we had so many lines to learn.

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In 2009 Glynis joined EastEnders playing Glenda Mitchell, mother of Ronnie Mitchell, Roxy Mitchell and Danny Mitchell.

She left Walford in March 2011 and returned for two episodes in 2016 and again in 2017.

She says working with the late June Brown, who played Dot Cotton and died aged 95 last month, was a career highlight.

“I loved her. I had a lot of scenes with June. She always cared about the script, she always knew her lines, she always wanted to talk about it, she cared so much about the work.

“She always said, ‘You always do your homework and know your lines’.”

Now Glynis enjoys being bad at Hollyoaks as Norma, the dangerous boss of local criminal Ethan Williams with a score to settle.

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She says, “I really appreciate it, because I love that part so much. It’s like a gift, because it’s a really fun role to play.

“Norma is a gangster and she has a criminal empire.

“I’m still not sure how big this empire is, but I guess it’s quite extensive. She is, I would say, very, very dangerous.

“Normally, this type of role would be given to a man. She does what she has to do and she has to survive in a rather masculine world. She must be pretty ruthless. Like June Brown, Glynis hopes to act well into her 90s.

She says, “I love working. I can’t imagine retiring. I hope that I am in good health and that I am able to work until the end.

Glynis also has its own healthy living website, previously ditching its skincare articles for organic and healthy living products.

She says: “If doing a quick fix is ​​all people do, I think it’s a shame, I think being healthy, eating well, exercising and learning about what going to keep you healthy are important things.”

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