Emma Thompson's mother thought her daughter would ''run the NHS'' when she grew up.

Phyllida Law, 85, envisaged a medical career for the 'Love Actually' star, 58, in charge of Britain's National Health Service (NHS), but was always convinced her youngest Sophie Thompson, 55, would turn out to be an actress.

She said: ''Oh, I wasn't for putting them on the stage, and I don't think they want to be attached to you like that when you're young.

''Sophie was always up a tree somewhere. In fact, I thought Emma, with her brain, would run the NHS. Although with Sophie, there was no question she would end up in the business somehow.''

The 'Much Ado About Nothing' star - who was married to 'The Magic Roundabout' creator and narrator Eric Thompson - insisted her two daughters have had far superior careers than she or her late husband had after they both went on to become actresses.

She said: ''They are both my colleagues in a way. They didn't follow in our footsteps, they rushed past us, trampling on us.''

Phyllida - who is known mostly for her theatre and small screen work - recalled Emma being delighted following her first ever gig as a stand-up comic alongside comedian Ben Elton after she graduated from the University of Cambridge.

She added to the Daily Telegraph newspaper: ''She came into this room with 25 quid in her hand in cash and said, 'I did this all by myself.' ''

Emma and Phyllida both starred in 2003 movie romantic-comedy 'Much Ado About Nothing' alongside Emma's ex-husband Kenneth Branagh.