Helen Durward On Avis Tennyson ... continued

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But as far as her career was concerned, however un-noticeable the accent might be, Helen knew she had to get rid of it.  She left Perth and moved down to London.  Here she started at the Central School of Speech and Drama.  "I stayed there for a year and lost my Scottish accent.  After that the voice teacher, Clifford Turner, who is very famous among actors, said that he could just bear to listen to me.  It was my pinched vowels that he loathed."
What was left of her accent did help, nonetheless.  After the Central School, Helen entered Rep again and made her way into many parts as well as work in TV and elsewhere.  She has featured prominently for STV's 'Casebook' series.  For a change, her Scottish vowels were a benefit.
TV audiences further South will also know Helen, for work outside her role as Avis.  She has appeared in 'Z Cars', 'Doctor Who', 'The Power Game' and 'Love Story'.  She also appeared in the historical series 'Edward VII' as the Empress Augusta, the wife of Kaiser Wilhelm.  "When they told me what the part was, I didn't dare admit I'd never heard of the woman.  I had to rush home and look her up; it was a very enjoyable part.  The last thing I was in was 'Bouquet of Barbed Wire'.  I was the sister in a hospital and that was great fun.  We had a very good director in Tony Warby and I really enjoyed myself."
Avis Tennyson, while a regular at the Motel, is only featured on screen for about twenty weeks in a year.  Which is just how Helen Durward likes it.  "I do like to do other things as well, like work in the theatre or other TV shows.  So it's very nice that I can say to the writers,  "Write me a story" and they'll put me in for ten weeks or whatever.  I've just done a Peter Nicholls play called 'Chez Nous' in which I play a role that's based on Nicholls' wife.  He came up to see it and he was very pleased."
Nonetheless, while Helen enjoys her work on stage and elsewhere in TV, she maintains a great love for her role in Crossroads.  "I really do enjoy playing the part.  If I didn't I shouldn't come her to do it.  Life's much too short to come and be miserable doing something.  It's like weekly Rep, you know.  It's the equivalent in television.  So you get to know everyone, all the cameramen and so on.  It's a very friendly, relaxed atmosphere and much easier than doing television somewhere else."
With which relaxed life in mind, Helen Durward, plot permitting, will be staying around the Motel for many episodes to come.  Warm-hearted and well-meaning, suffering resignedly Bill Warren's philandering, Avis Tennyson remains just another reason for Crossroads' non-stop popularity.   

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