"I’m an actress,” Angela Lansbury declared in east London in 2014. “But I’m also a socialist.”

The Hollywood star had just received a damehood at Windsor Castle for services to arts, charity and philanthropy.

But days later she returned to her family’s roots in Poplar, where her father Edgar - once mayor - named two streets after her brothers, Bruce and Edgar.

Poplar was hosting the Angela Lansbury Film Festival at Chrisp Street Market and Spotlight Community Centre.

Dame Angela told the crowds she owed her career and her humanitarianism to her rabble-rousing grandad, a Labour MP who devoted his life to helping the poor and was twice jailed for his efforts.

“He was like a man of steel,” she said.

George Lansbury served Poplar as poor law guardian, councillor and MP.

His first stint as an MP, after being elected in 1910, was cut short in 1912 when he resigned to support the Suffragettes.

After a speech at the Royal Albert Hall, advocating for disruptive protests, he was jailed for incitement.

In 1921 he led the Poplar Rates Rebellion. Councillors withheld money from London County Council and the Metropolitan Police, instead spending it on the poor. He was again jailed.

But he ultimately served 20 years as an MP and was national Labour leader from 1932 to1935.

After seeing him speak at the Albert Hall, Dame Angela told the Poplar audience she was struck by “the extraordinary ability he had to absolutely mesmerise the crowd”.

It was, she said: “The most thrilling event of my young life.”

When her twin roles as star and executive producer of Murder, She Wrote made her the "richest woman in TV”, she used her position to help those in need – including down-on-their-luck actors.

She hired ageing stars from Hollywood’s golden era who were now struggling to book jobs, to make sure they didn’t lose their health insurance.

She also led campaigns to tackle AIDS, supported victims of domestic violence and funded student scholarships and medical research.

“I was able to take a lot from my grandfather,” Dame Angela told the festival-goers.

He was, she said, “a great, great man of his time; a pacifist, and a man who supported the rights of women”.

Dame Angela died on October 11 in Los Angeles.