BAZ BAMIGBOYE: How Hannah Waddingham put the spotlight on and her dream job


Shaking her head in disbelief, Hannah Waddingham bursts into laughter as she, at 46, suddenly finds herself at the center of one of TV’s hottest shows.

And the reason for his laughter? She was recently nominated for a TV Grand Prix in Hollywood. . . and won.

“Isn’t that weird? Marvels the actress who, like her mother, an opera singer and her maternal grandparents, is classically trained. “You can make noise in the theater industry for years; and so often you have the impression of hitting, hitting, hitting.

Hannah Waddingham, 46, finds herself at the center of one of TV’s hottest shows, Ted Lasso

The Apple TV + show became a smash hit, winning awards for creator and star Jason Sudeikis (who plays Ted) ¿and Waddingham (pictured together)

The Apple TV + show became a smash hit, winning awards for creator and star Jason Sudeikis (who plays Ted) – and Waddingham (pictured together)

And then Hannah landed the role of Rebecca Welton, owner of a fictitious and unlucky English football club, who hires ah-shucks American coach Ted Lasso – also the name of the 12-part series – to whip the team into shape. .

Since its launch last year, the Apple TV + show has become a smash hit, winning awards for creator and star Jason Sudeikis (who plays Ted) – and Waddingham.

At the Critics Choice Awards in January, she was named Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series. The show also took top honors.

And on April 5, Ted Lasso is up for a prestigious Screen Actors Guild Comedy Ensemble trophy.

Waddingham previously starred in Game of Thrones as Septa Unella, alongside Jonathan Pryce and Natalie Dormer

Waddingham previously starred in Game of Thrones as Septa Unella, alongside Jonathan Pryce and Natalie Dormer

Waddingham is listed alongside Sudeikis and his cast mates including Juno Temple, Annette Badland, Jeremy Swift and Nick Mohammed. Plus football players Phil Dunster, Brett Goldstein and Toheeb Jimoh.

In the series, Waddingham’s Rebecca – who gets club AFC Richmond in a divorce deal – is routinely humiliated by her verbally abusive former husband, who enjoys parading his increasingly younger girlfriends in front of her and the tabloids.

What makes the show so enjoyable to watch is how Sudeikis and her team of award-winning writers (who won a Writers Guild Award last weekend) allow the characters to develop.

Waddingham’s first scene involved firing the existing manager, who showed up in her office dressed in ill-fitting shorts and began to slime her with a flood of laid-back misogyny. (“Oh, do you want to take that out of your awesome trunk?”)

In the series, Rebecca of Waddingham is regularly humiliated by her verbally abusive former husband

In the series, Rebecca of Waddingham is regularly humiliated by her verbally abusive former husband

In the scene, Rebecca is “immaculate and glamorous” but deliberately shows no cleavage, Waddingham says. She is a businesswoman, albeit in an unfamiliar environment, “aware of her own sexuality, being feminine but strong”.

But that strength, at least to begin with, is largely an act – a “hairy ice maiden facade in its place; like she’s the boss b **** when in fact she’s lost, ”she said.

After more than two decades in musical theater – in everything from Andrew Lloyd Webber’s The Beautiful Game to Lady of the Lake to Spamalot – Hannah’s television triumph is long overdue.

She signed on for predominantly American productions shot in the UK – Game Of Thrones, Sex Education, 12 Monkeys, Krypton – because she felt mainstream British TV shows were biased against musical theater actors. (She insists that they can just switch to the small screen “if you ask them to turn it down a bit.”)

After more than two decades in musical theater, Hannah's television triumph is long overdue

After more than two decades in musical theater, Hannah’s television triumph is long overdue

Interestingly, her stage experience was one of the things that attracted Sudeikis and her team when “The Little Girl from Wandsworth Common” auditioned.

While the fame Ted Lasso has brought it is welcome – and fun – the most important factor is that the series is being filmed in the UK (in Richmond in London and in studios and a football pitch in Middlesex).

This means that she can be close to her six-and-a-half-year-old daughter. The child (whom Waddingham refuses to name) fell “desperately ill” while filming Krypton in Belfast “and I couldn’t find her”.

On April 5, Ted Lasso is in the running for a prestigious Screen Actors Guild Comedy Ensemble trophy

On April 5, Ted Lasso is in the running for a prestigious Screen Actors Guild Comedy Ensemble trophy

So she informed her agents in London and Los Angeles that “I can never have a moment when I can’t come back to my child. She is my priority ‘.

Luckily her daughter is better now (it was kidney disease), Waddingham told me on Zoom, from the filming of season two of Ted Lasso.

His dedication is understandable. For a long time she thought she couldn’t have children, but she got pregnant at age 39, after taking the “Eastern Grass Route”.

Getting the part of Ted Lasso ‘was like the universe,’ You did your hard transplant, you did your race. . . there you have it: you can have both. ‘

Conrad’s performance is something to shout about …

Conrad Khan, now 20, shot director Henry Blake’s jaw-dropping film County Lines two years ago.

This “nice middle-class boy” plays a 14-year-old boy forced to carry drugs from central London to buyers in the Home Counties.

Director Blake, a former social worker, helped the actor see how drug lords target vulnerable young people and lure them into a life-threatening world. There is a startling – often gruesome – realism to the film (available, for a fee, on BFI Player).

Conrad Khan, now 20, shot director Henry Blake's jaw-dropping film County Lines two years ago

Conrad Khan, now 20, shot director Henry Blake’s jaw-dropping film County Lines two years ago

This 'nice middle-class boy' plays a 14-year-old forced to carry drugs from central London to buyers in the Home Counties

This ‘nice middle-class boy’ plays a 14-year-old forced to carry drugs from central London to buyers in the Home Counties

As Conrad noted, “This is only fiction for an actor, but real children go through this and often don’t sleep in their beds at night.”

His character, Tyler, goes from being a shy and bullied schoolboy to one who sells drugs in crack dens, yells – and hits – at his mother, and gets beaten up by hoods. “Being angry was one of the hardest things,” Khan told me. “I am not an angry person. I don’t think I ever yelled at anyone. It took several takes.

He added: “You have to be careful not to tap into those emotions. It is not an on / off button and, if you go to this place, it is not certain that you will get out of it as fast as you will. think so.

Ashley Madekwe, who plays her mother on screen, was crucial in getting it right. “Having this tension from her helped me. His energy was electric.

Director Blake, a former social worker, helped the actor see how drug lords target vulnerable youth

Director Blake, a former social worker, helped the actor see how drug lords target vulnerable youth

There is a startling, often macabre realism to the film, which is available, for a fee, on BFI Player

There is a startling – often gruesome – realism in the film, which is available, for a fee, on BFI Player.

It’s no surprise (to me) that the two were recognized at the BAFTA Awards on April 11: Madekwe for Best Supporting Actress, Khan as an EE Rising Star contestant. (Voting for this is now open at ee.co.uk/baftas, where you can find out about all of the Rising Star nominees.)

Looking at Khan’s dynamite portrayal in County Lines reminded me of a young Gary Oldman and Daniel Kaluuya, when I first saw them take on meaty roles on screen.

Khan began his acting career at the age of 15 in The Huntsman and alternated these jobs with the cello for a youth orchestra.

He is now studying film in college (via Zoom) and also plays a new character in Peaky Blinders.

Khan began his acting career at the age of 15 in The Huntsman and alternated these jobs with the cello for a youth orchestra.

Khan began his acting career at the age of 15 in The Huntsman and alternated these jobs with the cello for a youth orchestra.

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