Sixty felt like a big landmark. Not in a dreadful sense, but none of the other birthdays have bothered me. It's got labels on it - OAP, retirement - and I just wanted to take stock. I wanted to be in my greenhouse at home and at least give myself the opportunity of not working again.
It seems that when you get to a certain age you almost give yourself permission to misbehave and say what you think. People allow it, with very old people.
Oh all the time when Victoria Wood and I did our series. There were people asking 'Can women be funny?' People still ask that. It's like asking: 'Can women breathe in and out?'
I always loved my mother, felt loved, but she was judgmental. Her father in Ireland didn't approve of women generally, and she took on his values. She believed her own mother was foolish.
I never wanted to become an actress because I'd read great literature or seen great Shakespeare. It was more just wanting to understand what the people were really like, why they said all the strange things they did.
I can understand why people get annoyed at being remembered for one thing, but a lot of actors aren't remembered for anything. I don't mind that.
There were all us baby boomers who had a grammar school education, started to learn, then went on the pill, the whole thing, and so there are today a lot more women writers, editors, producers, and so a lot more women's stories. God, the BBC's practically run by women.
Everyone comes up to me saying, 'Cooee, Julie! Hello!' as if I know them. Of course I don't bloody know them. Am I flummoxed by it? Sometimes. I think, 'Ooh, love, go easy.' For a time, I did feel this pressure that I had to be funny, but it passes.
There is this idea that appealing to youth is the only way forward. But that is no longer the case. Youth is not everything. Now we have all the baby-boomers in their 60s, like me, who are actively engaged in life - we're not retiring, we're not just being put out to grass once we hit 60.
My mother was born on a tiny farm in County Mayo. She was meant to stay at home and look after the farm while her brother and sister got an education. However, she came to England on a visit and never went back.
I'll tell you how it happened. The phone rang. Paul, my agent, goes, 'Would you like to play Meryl Streep's?' I said, 'Yeeees! I'll do it, whatever it is.' He said, 'It's Mamma Mia!.' I said, 'Oh no, which character? The fat friend?
I'd love to be in another film, but they haven't asked me. I think it's a shame but the prospects of me doing another one now are remote. Please do campaign on my behalf.
I remember Michael saying, 'Rich and famous? It's much better to be just rich'. I didn't quite get it to begin with. But he's right. You lose anonymity. I say to my family that you've no idea until you lose it how precious anonymity is.
I'm more selective now I've got a family. I don't want to work all the time. My daughter's 12; I don't want to miss out on her life. Soon she'll be a teenager; she won't want me around.
Along the way I have been able to choose some themes which ask questions - not necessarily force a message on anyone, but at least invite the audience to question things: jury service, dignity in dying, Ireland - and not least because they force me to ask myself questions. Where do I stand?
It wasn't being an alcoholic - it was going wild. It happened when I got famous. It was like having my teens in my early thirties: blotting out your life, not having to think about anything.
I'm writing a novel about two actresses who go to New York, because that's what I know about. One has lost touch with reality, disappears and is picked up by a man.
It's getting better generally, daily, especially in TV, for women in acting; and age and looks count less. As more women come into the business. Change of any sort takes a long time to happen.
Some of the most interesting questions needing to be asked today can best be asked on television, or on stage, and they can be wonderful, great dramas, but they won't necessarily be blockbusters.