If I ruled the world: Samantha Womack

Simon Button

Actress Samantha Womack is best known for playing Ronnie Mitchell in EastEnders. An accomplished stage performer, Samantha, 46, is currently starring in a theatrical adaptation of thriller The Girl On The Train

We wouldn’t be hung up on education as a means of testing a child’s abilities.

Research is showing that sometimes children who don’t perform well academically can do incredibly well with other things. The pressure that’s put on kids means they start to feel like failures before they’ve even reached their 17 or 18th birthdays. As parents we should encourage them but not add to that pressure.

 

Politicians would be made to answer questions.

I’m sure most people would agree that the avoidance of real answers is the most frustrating thing about how our politicians behave. It would be nice to hear something other than bullet points and evasions. Actual answers to actual questions please!

 

I’d do away with inverted snobbery.

I hate being told what to do just because someone is in a position to do so. Self-appointed status really gets on my nerves. I get really cross about inverted snobbery and that sense of people lording things above you. There’s a lot of that in my industry and a lot of it in the world. We’re advocates of designer labels and affording kitchen extensions and what have you—little things that we use to look down on other people.

 

Public transport would be cheaper.

Performing in The Girl On the Train has reminded me of my romantic interest in trains. I used to live in Brighton, where I had a train track at the bottom of my garden, and I’m a big advocate for public transport. But, since most of the companies were privatised, fares have become extortionate compared to the service we’re actually getting.

 

I’d ban eating in cinemas and theatres.

I don’t see why people decide that for the two hours they’re watching a show or a film they need to stuff their faces. It drives me to distraction, both as a performer and a viewer. The other week I went to see A Star is Born and there was a woman with a giant crisp packet that was so noisy I was close to committing some sort of terribly aggressive act.

 

Everyone would be paid fairly.

On EastEnders, I was paid the same as my male counterparts. I do think there are scenarios where disparity between wages is acceptable but sex should not be one of them. Experience should be rewarded and if you’re younger I’d expect wages to be lower, but to differentiate simply because of gender is appalling.

 

Young people would spend more time away from their screens.

My son is 17 and my daughter is 13 and when they come off social media they have more anxiety—almost as if that gateway into everyone else’s lives has a negative effect, because they’re not getting the same validation. There’s also too much information coming at them too quickly, with one video after another and all this stuff to take in. It’s too much for an adult brain, let alone a child’s.

 

TV would nurture new talent.

I’d like to see more opportunities for new talent, new writers, new directors and new ideas rather than just a rehashing of old ones. It would also be so much better if television companies weren’t under pressure to get involved in ratings wars. Having success deemed by how many people watch something makes them panic about the choices they make.

 

Samantha Womack is touring in The Girl On the Train from January 21. For more information visit girlonthetrainplay.com