Britannia

Sky Atlantic's epic drama about the Romans invading ancient Britain, starring ZoŽ as vengeful Queen Antedia, returned for a second series on 7 November. Both series are available via Sky and NOW TV.

Worzel Gummidge

ZoŽ plays eccentric aristocrat Lady Bloomsbury Barton in the second episode of the BBCís new adaptation of Barbara Euphan Toddís classic childrenís stories, which aired just after Christmas. It's available via the BBC iPlayer.

Shadow and Bone

ZoŽ recently finished filming this major new fantasy series for Netflix, based on Leigh Bardugoís novels. She's been cast as Baghra, a ruthless teacher. The release date hasn't yet been announced.

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News round-up: Britannia series three; Shadow and Bone praise; voicing the Oliviers 2020; reading Peter Pan for charity

4 November 2020 19:05

Britannia series three resumes filming

Filming came to a halt earlier this year for obvious reasons, but Skyís historical epic Britannia is now back in production. What will the third series have in store for Queen Antedia, who was last seen being sold at an extremely unregal auction in series two? Surely the only way is up!

No official word yet on when the new episodes will air, but the Radio Times suggests Ďwe could see the show back on our screens early next yearí.

In addition, the magazine reports that ZoŽ and her co-stars from the previous series, who include David Morrissey, Mackenzie Crook and Annabel Scholey, will be joined by another brilliant actor, Sophie Okonedo.

Shadow and Bone Ė Leigh Bardugo is a fan of ZoŽ

The release date for Netflixís fantasy series, Shadow and Bone, which is based on Leigh Bardugoís Grishaverse novels, still hasnít been confirmed.

However, Bardugo did make clear during Metaverse, a recent online convention, that sheís excited to see ZoŽ play teacher Baghra. The author remarked that her Ďbrain sort of short-circuitedí when she saw ZoŽ and one of her co-stars, Ben Barnes (who plays the mysterious Darkling), acting together.

Sounds very promising!

Voicing the Olivier Awards 2020

For the fifth year in a row, ZoŽ is the voice of the prestigious Olivier Awards ceremony. Celebrating the best of British theatre feels particularly important during one of the most challenging ever years for the industry. If you missed the Oliviers on 25 October, youíll be pleased to hear you can catch up on the ITV Hub any time over the next few weeks.

Fellow actor Dale Evans tweeted, ĎI ADORE ZoŽ Wanamakerís voice, it really makes the Oliviers.í Couldnít agree more!

ZoŽ didnít appear on screen, but here she is in a show-stopping dress at the 2017 Oliviers.

Star-studded Peter Pan audiobook

ZoŽ has leant her vocal talents to a star-studded new recording of JM Barrieís classic, Peter Pan, published by Penguin. Due for release on 5 November, Peter Pan: Brought to Life by Magical Storytellers also features Michael Morpurgo, Kit Harrington, Martin Jarvis, Alex Jennings, Alex Kingston, Joanna Lumley, Helen McCrory, Jennifer Saunders, Juliet Stevenson and David Walliams.

The recording, which is available as an audio download and CD, will raise money for two very deserving charities: The Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust and Great Ormond Street Hospital Childrenís Charity.

Itíd make a lovely Christmas gift for the young and young at heart.

With thanks to Karoline for her help.

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Happy 18th birthday, zoewanamaker.com!

30 July 2020 01:45

Happy birthday, zoewanamaker.com! I can hardly believe it, but the official website for ZoŽ Wanamaker fans is now 18 years old.

Sincere thanks to everyone who visits the site, connects with me by email or on Twitter and shares my enthusiasm for ZoŽ's wonderful acting work.

A special shoutout to ZoŽ herself and her PA, Vanessa, for their support and kindness.

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Celebrating the 101st anniversary of Sam Wanamaker's birth

14 June 2020 20:26

Beautiful weather like the UK is currently enjoying is perfect for watching open-air theatre (hopefully it won't be long before we can do that again). How appropriate, then, that 14 June 2020 marks 101 years since ZoŽ's dad and Shakespeare's Globe's founder, Sam Wanamaker, was born.

The Globe, which had its own birthday just a couple of days ago, is celebrating Sam Wanamaker and his incredible legacy with photos on Instagram and fans' memories on Twitter. One fan describes her parents watching him on stage in 1957 in The Rose Tattoo, a powerful Tennessee Williams play ZoŽ later starred in herself (giving 'the performance of her career', in the Guardian's words).

You can read about Sam Wanamaker's many achievements and learn about 'the extraordinary life of one visionary man' in an article on the theatre's blog. His determination was particularly extraordinary, as the article emphasises: 'While many had said that the Globe reconstruction was impossible to achieve, Sam persevered for over twenty years, overcoming a series of monumental obstacles.'

One of his friends, Barry Day, has penned a moving tribute elsewhere on the blog. Again, ZoŽ's dad's determination comes to the fore: 'Samís vision and his single-minded commitment was undoubtedly the driving force that kept the project on track through the decades and propelled it through the ''down'' moments.'

For more insights into how The Globe dream became reality, why not pick up Day's lively book, This Wooden 'O': Shakespeare's Globe Reborn?

A year and a day ago, the first full-length biography of ZoŽ's dad, Sam Wanamaker: A Global Performer by his friend Dr Diana Devlin, was launched at the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, The Globe's indoor companion theatre. Guests at the special event included ZoŽ, her elder sister Abby and many other people who knew Sam Wanamaker and are involved with the two theatres.

You can hear from the great man himself, thanks to 'Remembering Sam Wanamaker', an episode of Shakespeare's Globe's Such Stuff podcast series. ZoŽ's dad emphasises: 'Shakespeare belongs to everyone, we know that. And this place [The Globe] will be the centre for the understanding of his works, for helping young people to get over the difficult barriers of language. Welcome. Watch us grow. Weíre going to be here and create and transform the most exciting new area of London and Britain.'

And of course that is exactly what The Globe, its founder and dedicated team have achieved.

Reconstructing Shakespeare's theatre 'was Dadís project for 27 years [...] the tenacity of the man,' remarked ZoŽ in a recent interview with the Observer.

If youíd like to celebrate Sam Wanamaker and support the amazing theatre he built Ė a registered charity that receives no regular government subsidy Ė at this incredibly challenging time, please consider joining me in donating to The Globe.

What better way to conclude this article than with a portrait of ZoŽ 's dad by the talented amateur artist Gareth Bevan? Fantastic, isn't it!

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Happy 23rd birthday, Shakespeareís Globe!

12 June 2020 17:55

Today, 12 June, marks 23 years since the theatre ZoŽís dad founded, Shakespeareís Globe in London, was officially opened by the Queen.

The Globe is celebrating its birthday on Twitter with photos from the opening ceremony. ZoŽ became the first person to speak on the stage when she recited the famous ĎO for a Muse of fireí prologue to Henry V (filmed as part of the documentary above). In addition, the theatre is inviting you to share your memories of #ThisWoodenO.

I was fortunate to experience the magic of Shakespeare's Globe soon after it opened, when I was about 12, on a school trip. Most vivid are memories of standing on the stage with friends and looking around in awe. I still have the school project in which I wrote about Sam Wanamaker's tireless work to bring Shakespeareís theatre back to the South Bank.

On The Globeís blog, you can find out how the theatre was built and why itís a building Ďso absolutely unlike any otherí. Look out for the photo of ZoŽís dad watching oak logs being cut to create the beams.

Visit The Globe's Instagram profile to see gems from its archive, such as striking shots of the theatre taking shape on Bankside in the early 1990s.

Iíve found a couple of treasures in my own (no doubt smaller!) archive to share with you on this special day, starting with this lovely photo from 1992. It shows ZoŽ and her dad in Englandís Forest of Dean, which provided wood for the theatreís iconic structure.

With construction well underway, ZoŽ was pictured in 1995 surveying the progress Ė wearing a costume reminiscent of dresses worn by Elizabeth I, who enjoyed Shakespeareís plays and reigned for much of his life.

For obvious reasons, Shakespeareís Globe is currently closed. However, you can take a virtual tour of the theatre and join online events through its website.

If youíd like to support this amazing place Ė a registered charity that receives no regular government subsidy Ė at an incredibly challenging time financially, socially and culturally, please consider making a donation to The Globe. There are plenty of other ways to support the theatre too while we wait for it to reopen.

Letís hope that by the time The Globe turns 24, weíll be able to enjoy inspiring performances, tours, workshops and more there once again.

Happy birthday, Shakespeare's Globe, and many happy returns!

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My Family video: Susan Harperís best moments

12 June 2020 15:37

On Friday evenings, itís always fun to visit the Harper family for some light relief, thanks to the BBCís very welcome My Family reruns. Today, 12 June, UK fans can enjoy series oneís ĎThe Awkward Phaseí (8 pm, BBC One), in which Susan and Benís kids become rebels without a cause.

To help you wind down at the end of a long week, hereís a brilliant video featuring some of ZoŽís zaniest moments from the popular comedy. My talented friend, Rachel, has created it to put a smile on other fansí faces.

Plus some more amusing, never-before-seen outtakes have just been released by the makers of My Family and British Comedy Guide. Enjoy!

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