Juliet Stevenson: ‘The perception of women of my age is so reductive’

The actor, 65, on growing up in a loving family, recognising her partner, and getting more interesting while the parts she is offered get less interesting

My earliest memory is jumping off a little stone wall in the garden in Australia. I called it my jumping wall. It felt at least 30ft high and enormously brave. It was probably lower than knee height. It’s my first memory of an adrenaline rush. My dad was in the army and we were posted all around the world. I went to Australia on a boat with my family when I was three. It was gorgeous. I learned to speak with a thick Australian accent.

It was a childhood of impermanence: very happy, very unhappy. Nothing lasted longer than two-and-a-half years: friendships, schooling, climate, geography, our home. We were a very loving family, but that was your only constant. That’s why, eventually, my two older brothers and I were sent to boarding school in England. There was this need for equilibrium, steadiness and security. I don’t consider myself to have had an unfortunate childhood. It was just strange.

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