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Member review: Schedule of Talks – with Dr Sophie Ward

From Andrea Bowness-Etur of Middlesbrough group

Last week, we had the absolute treat of being able to listen to a fantastic Zoom interview with Dr Sophie Ward, hosted by Natalie, our multi-talented National Organiser.

For anyone who doesn’t know, Sophie is an actress (starring in 40 episodes of Heartbeat, other TV programmes such as Holby City, Land Girls and Miss Marple and many films including Young Sherlock, Wuthering Heights, Crime and Punishment, and Jane Eyre), and an author (including ‘Love and Other Thought Experiments’).

She is the daughter of the late actor Simon Ward (she really looks like her dad!) and her mother, Alexandra Malcolm, who was also an actress. Sophie told us about her unusually liberal upbringing and unstructured schooling, and how she benefitted from such a diverse childhood and exciting introduction into acting and theatre school in London in the 60s and 70s. She was also ‘a face of the 80s’ as a Vogue model.

Natalie did a great job of ensuring the interview was light hearted and in doing so we got a very relaxed and down to earth insight into Sophie’s fascinating life and career. After marrying quite young and having her two sons, Sophie decided to take her education further, with an Open University degree in Literature and Philosophy, and then she completed a PhD from Goldsmith’s University in 2019, proving it’s never too late to achieve personal goals, no matter how old you are!

She came out as a lesbian and has been happily married (three times now as each new way to express commitment as a gay couple became available) to Rena Brannan for over 25 years. She campaigns for equality and understanding of the LGBT community.

What an inspirational lady! Sophie was funny, articulate and a pleasure to listen to – it felt like you were having coffee with a long-standing dear friend! I, for one, really hope Sophie will come along to a future conference and talk to us in person, she was so interesting and warm.