Tracey Ullman has said she wants to be “taken seriously” as an actress and not just considered as a comedian.

She told BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs she did not initially plan to work in comedy and instead wanted to be a character actress.

Ullman, 61, has starred in dramas including Mrs America and Plenty, as well as her US variety show The Tracey Ullman Show.

Mary Poppins Returns European Premiere – London
Tracey Ullman (Ian West/PA)

“There’s still an impression of me as a wacky, zany comedienne, and that’s not what I do,” Ullman said.

“I started off as a character actress and going into comedy was just a fluke.

“It wasn’t what I thought I would do.”

However Ullman said she did not originally “take acting seriously” and instead pursued dance because she thought someone with her accent could not be an actress.

Earlier in her career Ullman, who previously lived and worked in the US, said she saw more opportunities for women in comedy in America.

“I started to look at American comedy. I realised that women had been given a shot in America much more so than in English comedy,” she said.

The Graham Norton Show – London
Tracey Ullman (Ian West/PA)

“I think America got started earlier on that stuff.”

Ullman also explained her decision to move back to the UK following the death of her husband Allan McKeown in 2013.

“There was more dignity to being a widow in London,” she said.

She added: “It’s very lonely in Los Angeles and of course it was full of memories of Allan and him dying, and I wanted to shake it off a little.”

Ullman also discussed the death of her father, which happened when she was six years old.

She said her family initially tried to hide his death from her, saying he was on holiday, and she did not attend his funeral.

“Not to blame my family, but grief was dealt with different then,” she said.

Ullman’s episode of Desert Islands Discs airs on Sunday at 11am on BBC Radio 4.