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I’ve just asked Reid if there’s any likelihood of the relationship between Reid’s Celia and Derek Jacobi’s Alan being “sexed-up” for the second series. “I don’t like watching sex scenes full stop,” she adds. I think that the romantic suspense that you used to get between people like Ingrid Bergman and Cary Grant is much sexier than seeing people taking their clothes off and getting into bed, which is voyeurism. There’s no point in me pretending to be happy about it, because I wasn’t. Reid says the concept of online romance seems alien to her.

I go out and make the tea when people start doing that. I don’t think sex is a spectator sport.” Reid’s onscreen chemistry with Jacobi earned her not only critical applause, but a Bafta nomination for best leading actress (although she lost out to Mrs Biggs star Sheridan Smith). I’ve told Sheridan off and asked her to stop winning all the bloomin’ Baftas,” she laughs. “I’ve got an i Phone and an i Pad, but Facebook frightens me,” she says.

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Following the success of the first series, which won a Bafta for Best Drama Series, Sally Wainwright's delightful Last Tango in Halifax returns to BBC One.

Alan (Derek Jacobi) is recovering from the heart attack that so nearly killed him at the conclusion of the first series and patching up his relationship with Celia (Anne Reid).

My grandfather wrote for the Bolton Evening News, my uncle wrote for the Manchester Evening News, my husband was on The Guardian, my three brothers were all journalists.

So I can’t say I don’t like you, but I don’t trust you…

There’s a wonderful scene in the first episode, in which she and Jacobi are sitting on a huge boulder, on the edge of a cliff overlooking the dramatic Yorkshire countryside. “Derek said that I didn’t have to sit near the edge. I can’t resist asking if Jacobi is as big a diva on set as his character in ITV’s sitcom Vicious. Both Reid and Jacobi think that three would be enough.

But, and this shows you how shallow I am,” she says, “the director said, ‘Well, that’s a great shame because if you sit the other side of Derek, the sunlight around your head is beautiful.’ ” With this, Reid shut her eyes, shuffled along and managed to get herself into a position where the sunlight was illuminating her hair like a halo. “I wouldn’t want to work it into the ground and have people say it’s gone off.” Reid has been in demand in recent years, appearing in the ITV ghost story Marchlands, in Upstairs, Downstairs, Prisoners’ Wives, and as author Barbara Cartland.

With her slim legs poking out from under a flattering knitted mauve dress and a cheeky glint in her eye, the British actress doesn’t look or act like the clichéd image of a 78-year-old. “I don’t go on those things – twittering and all that.” Besides, says Reid, rekindling your first love is dangerous and a bit foolish. ’ Reid didn’t lead what she calls a “wild life” when she was younger. I got married young [to Peter Eckersley, a writer on Coronation Street, who went on to become Granada Television’s head of drama], and my husband died [when he was 45] and I didn’t have anything serious after that.” “I certainly wouldn’t get married again like Celia,” she says. I’m a solitary person.” Fans of Last Tango will be excited to learn that the new series picks up immediately from the end of the last one.

Last Tango really got people talking about the way older people are represented on television. “You don’t suddenly become someone else,” she says. “Alan thought Celia was wonderful – he described her as ‘Heaven walked on Earth’, but no one is that nice. I can think of people that I’ve fancied who I thought were gorgeous, but then 20 years later you think, ‘What was all that about? “Our hair and clothes had to be matched perfectly,” says Reid. He sits and does his crossword puzzle when he’s not needed. You wouldn’t put us together – you’d think it wouldn’t work, but it does.” There’s already been talk of making a third series next year.

I know it’s an old-fashioned idea but I think children need you. I turned it down at first but then thought, what the hell else can I do?

When they come home from school they need a friendly knee to sit on. I’m no good at anything else.” She does write though – “I have notebooks all over the place.

“Downton took a long time to catch fire in America, but we have been getting good reviews for Tango.

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