Britannia

Sky Atlantic's epic drama about the Romans invading ancient Britain, starring Zoë as vengeful Queen Antedia, returns for a second series on 7 November.

Worzel Gummidge

Zoë plays eccentric aristocrat Lady Bloomsbury Barton in the second episode of the BBC’s new adaptation of Barbara Euphan Todd’s classic children’s stories, which will air later this year.

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Zoë is filming a major new TV fantasy series. More details to follow...

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News round-up: new Britannia photo, ‘magical’ theatre, why family TV viewing matters, carol services and more

29 November 2019 02:59

Behind-the-scenes Britannia photo

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Such a treat working with Zoe Wanamaker. Here she is playing Queen Antedia in Britannia season 2. #britannia #epic #fantasydrama #season2 @skyatlanticuk #zoewanamaker #queen #sophiemutevelian #setphotographer #tv #setlife

A post shared by Sophie Mutevelian (@sophiemutevelian) on

What better way to begin this news round-up than with one of the most striking photos I’ve seen of Zoë in a long time!

She’s pictured during a break from filming the second series of epic drama Britannia, which is currently available to stream via Sky and NOW TV.

The image is the work of talented film and TV photographer Sophie Mutevelian.

New interview explores the magic of theatre

‘Art is a lifeline,’ Zoë points out in an insightful new interview published by Cherwell, an Oxford University student newspaper. Without engaging with plays and other forms of creative expression, ‘our imagination dries up and shrivels’.

She describes theatre, in particular, as ‘magical’. And as the interviewer, Emily Capon, concludes, Zoë is eager to ‘share that magic with us’ through her work.

Make Believe on Broadway raises over $900k

Only Make Believe, which Zoë has long supported, is a perfect illustration of theatrical magic. Founded by actress and producer Dena Hammerstein, the charity brings interactive theatre to sick and disabled children in the US.

On 4 November, Zoë was a special guest at Only Make Believe’s glittering 20th anniversary gala, Make Believe on Broadway, which was held at New York’s Gerald Schoenfeld Theatre. She was photographed on the red carpet for Broadway World and also makes a couple of appearances in the charity’s gala photo gallery.

Make Believe on Broadway was a huge success, raising an astonishing $920,000 to fund Only Make Believe’s important work. If you’d like to support the charity, you can make a donation on its website.

Celebrating Edge of Darkness

Also celebrating an anniversary – its 34th – this month is the BBC’s landmark drama Edge of Darkness, in which Zoë starred opposite the much-missed Bob Peck. The six-part series was first broadcast in November 1985 and met with so much acclaim that it was quickly repeated.

Edge of Darkness’ popularity and longevity is due in no small part to the quality of the acting. As the Radio Times recently observed, ‘though it’s a male-heavy cast, two of its brightest lights are female,’ including ‘the feisty intelligence agent Clementine, or Clemmie, as played by Zoë Wanamaker’.

To celebrate the anniversary, Edge of Darkness has been released on Blu-ray (Region B/2) for the first time.

The importance of family TV viewing

Ahead of her appearance in a new BBC adaptation of the Worzel Gummidge children’s books this Christmas, Zoë has spoken to the Radio Times about the importance – and scarcity – of TV programmes aimed at family audiences.

‘I learnt on My Family how great it is when kids and adults can watch TV together,’ she said. ‘Too much television is violent and nasty,’ Zoë added, suggesting that broadcasters perhaps need to find a balance between shocking scenes in dramas and shows that can be enjoyed by all ages. 'Something that catches everybody's imagination is to be lauded.'

Her comments were greeted enthusiastically by Seadog TV & Film Productions, which made My Family and the Galapagos, the stunning Channel 4 wildlife documentary she leant her ‘wonderful voice’ to last year. ‘We want to make more TV accessible and enjoyable for the whole family!’ Seadog emphasised.

Zoë’s views sparked a debate on the BBC current affairs programme Victoria Derbyshire about whether the level of violence in many contemporary TV dramas is acceptable. The debate begins about 46 minutes into the 26 November edition of the programme, which is available on the BBC iPlayer for around a month.

Charity carol services

If you fancy celebrating the festive season at a charity carol service, you’ll be pleased to hear that Zoë is set to be a special guest at two this year.

On 2 December, she’ll give a reading during The Friends of Central London Samaritans’ Advent Celebration at London’s Church of St Stephen Walbrook. A small number of tickets for the event are still available.*

She’ll also read at the Royal Brompton Carols by Candlelight service, which will be held on 18 December at St Luke’s Church, also in London. You can book tickets on the charity’s website.

*1 December update: unfortunately, Zoë isn't able to take part in the Samaritans' Advent Celebration anymore, due to work commitments.

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