Heywood's parents divorced. "My stepmother was bad at pastry," she explained when talking about her role as Mrs Alton, the housekeeper in All Creatures Great and Small. "So when I was cooking for myself, I made sure I was good at pastry!" "My family had their favourites of my cooking, and when some of them were asked to write little reminiscences of their life in our old home — where I had lived for 57 years, grandchildren were always visiting and even one great-grandchild — two or three of them picked as a highlight my homemade blackberry jelly with homemade brown bread. So there you are, like Mrs. Alton, I produced favourites."