I f you watched children’s television in the 1990s, you will almost certainly have seen Kate Lonergan.
As the titular character in Maid Marian and Her Merry Men, which ran for six series from 1989 to 1994, she carved a rebellious set of initials on the minds of a generation. And now she wouldn’t mind selling you a windowbox.
A Greenwich resident for a quarter of a century, she used to supplement her income from acting by gardening, a lifelong passion that, in 2011, became the Blackheath Windowbox Company.
Kate said: “Running your own business is a bit like acting. You’re your own boss and you have to find work.
“I really do enjoy the creative part of it, although I’m still learning the numbers part of the job.
“I’ve lived in Greenwich for 25 years can’t imagine living anywhere else.
“It really is like a little village here. I know so many people now and I have done lots of work in the area – it really is home now.”
Despite becoming one of the most recognisable faces on TV for a generation of children, Kate never envisaged herself acting while growing up in south Manchester.
“The first acting role I ever had was as a toucan in a school play,” she said.
“And I think the only reason I took drama at CSE was because I wasn’t clever enough to take Latin.”
It wasn’t until her early 20s, during an am-dram performance of Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, that she was spotted by a theatre company, which eventually led to a move down to London.
Several successful stage roles in the capital soon opened up television opportunities for Kate.
“My agent put me up for an audition,” she said. “I went to meet Tony Robinson – he was really nice – and I was asked back, and told I’d got the job.”
Maid Marian And Her Merry Men, which was written by and starred Robinson, as well as Danny John Jules, was a comic retelling of the story of Robin Hood, in which Maid Marian was the brains behind the gang while Robin was a useless sidekick.
“I don’t think there was really anything else like it,” she said. “Tony was asked to make something across between The Young Ones and Blackadder and I think it worked really well.
“People still come up to me and say really nice things about it. It sounds really big-headed to talk about stuff like that, but it is really nice when girls say you helped inspire them to do things.”
So why did she stop acting?
“To be honest, I thought I’d got all I wanted to get from it,” she said.
“I think it came to its natural conclusion, and I’m really happy with what I’m doing now.”
For more information on the Blackheath Windowbox Company, visit the website here .