Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Two Doors Down: Elaine C Smith on discovering new purpose in the pandemic

© BBC Studios/Alan PeeblesTwo Doors Down.
Two Doors Down.

She is one of Scotland’s most popular entertainers, but Elaine C Smith has revealed how the pandemic almost drove her out of showbusiness.

The star of Two Doors Down and Rab C Nesbitt says the great pause forced her into a reappraisal of life, and led her to some big changes.

Elaine said: “I didn’t know what my purpose was any more, I didn’t know if this is what I really wanted to do any more.

“I was lost in the middle of it all, like most people it was something I didn’t see coming. These are things you’re not in control of.

“It made me take a real look at what I wanted from life, and consider how much life I’ve got left. People were getting ill, people were dying, people were losing loved ones. I started to worry about the world my daughter would inhabit, and her daughters.

“There are parts of life I don’t want to return to. I was completely done in before. When I went back to Two Doors Down, I lost three and a half stone and I feel like I have shed Elaine C Smith – the political person, the charity person, the corporate person, the actress, the granny, the mother. I carried it all at once and for a long time I overate, because I felt I had to, to keep going.

© Andrew Cawley/DC Thomson
Elaine C Smith. (Pic: Andrew Cawley).

“I’m never going to go back to saying yes to wee jobs that I can just fit in. I don’t have anything to prove at this stage. I’m thinking more philosophically about things. If I can do two shows and a panto, then I’ll be happy.”

Elaine honed her craft on the festive theatre circuit so assiduously over the years that the title of panto queen is unquestionably her own.

This season, she returns to Glasgow’s King’s Theatre in Cinderella. And her festive star continues to shine with a return to TV tomorrow as the brilliantly coarse Christine in Two Doors Down. Filming had to be temporarily abandoned when her co-star Alex Norton contracted Covid – but that wasn’t the only problem.

Elaine reduced her sugar intake with the help of the Noom app, recording every item she ate in a day, as well as taking part in daily Zumba and yoga classes, and walking 13,000 steps a day.

She said: “They had to make me a fat suit as Christine would have eaten her way through lockdown. She’d have JustEat on speed dial.

Elaine C. Smith on giving a new voice to The Gruffalo and her ire for the luvvies who once considered her own accent a little too beastly for the stage

“I didn’t give it up completely, life is too short to never eat chocolate again. But the app means you become very aware of why you’re eating, the psychological reasons, and make you question what you don’t want to feel, the thing you feel that makes you eat to feel better.

“For the first time in years I had the time to focus, not seeing food as a reward. It’s also understanding that you’re not a bad person, because there’s a bit of self punishment going on around food. I had to tackle all that.”

Elaine found time to follow her vernacular adaptation of Julia Donaldson’s The Gruffalo, The Glasgow Gruffalo, with a follow up, The Glasgow Gruffalo’s Wean.

“The lack of connection with other people has been the hardest thing,” she said. “The world, with Afghanistan, global warming, and the pandemic, feels like a dark place. And that’s why people want light and laughter and joyousness in something like pantomime. It’s a celebration of being alive.”


Two Doors Down, BBC2, Monday, 10pm