It takes a great actress like Glenda Jackson to portray accurately a great human being like Patricia Neal. Miss Neal's well-publicized triumphant struggle to return to her place in society, and to acting, after an illness is dramatized with remarkable restraint in a skillful script by playwright Robert Anderson: ''The Patricia Neal Story'' (CBS, Tuesday, 9-11 p.m., check local listings).
This joyous adventure in perseverance and faith is directed with quiet understanding by Anthony Harvey and Anthony Page. In addition to Miss Jackson's Emmy-quality portrayal, there is a superb performance by Dirk Bogarde as Roald Dahl, Miss Neal's uniquely determined husband.
The determination of Mr. Dahl and their children helped to instill in Miss Neal the will to recover. His ability to rally around his stricken wife the neighbors in their small English village, who helped her to speak again, makes an inspiring story.
"The Patricia Neal Story'' is not at all depressing, since it is mainly a tale of how high the human spirit can soar if the resolution and faith are there. Interview
''I want to work,'' says Patricia Neal in a plea to TV and movie directors who seem to be overlooking her talent.
Miss Neal is now in New York to help promote the CBS ''The Patricia Neal Story.'' She seems almost as spry and energetic as she was earlier in her career. She appears in the final scenes of the TV show - but plays herself.
''I make good speeches around the country and I prove to people that almost complete rehabilitation is possible. I enjoy doing that, and I think it helps a great deal. But I'm a good actress and I want people to know that fact.
''Although Miss Neal has a bit part in a still-unreleased film with Fred Astaire called ''Ghosts,'' she has found it difficult to convince producers and directors that she is ready and able to act. She feels that many of the roles that have been going to Katharine Hepburn and Bette Davis in recent years would have been right for her.
Miss Neal reveals a deep loving attitude towards her husband, who forced her to walk, talk, and think after what many felt was an irreversible personal catastrophe. She laughs that deep throaty laughter for which she has become known: ''At first I was angry at Roald for making me do so many things when all I wanted to do was lie quietly and grieve. But then I was so grateful that he persevered so and gathered so many people around me to help me to do things for myself.''Now, I have trouble with him because he still wants to run our house. I find it difficult taking over again from him.''
Born in a mining camp in Kentucky, Miss Neal now lives with her family in England most of the time and summers in a house on Martha's Vineyard. She also has an apartment in London, so she's is able to go to the theater, which she loves but which she says she is not quite ready to act in again.
How does she feel about the film of her life?
''Well, I couldn't stop it, since I guess I am in the public domain. So I cooperated. I even consented to appear at the end. And now I feel it is a fine film with wider implications. It is about rehabilitation . . . of the body and the spirit. I think everybody can learn from it. What may seem like the triumph of an individual is often the end result of many ordinary people getting together to help somebody who needs help.
''When I saw the film at a screening, I felt the tears start to come, but I stopped myself by remembering that it is a good film, that I am grateful for a very good life.''