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.


Watch ZoŽ appeal for an end to indefinite immigration detention in the UK

31 July 2018 16:40

When ZoŽ took part in the 28 Tales for 28 Days charity project recently, she also filmed this direct appeal for an end to indefinite detention periods at UK immigration centres. She's among a number of prominent actors and writers who've joined forces with the charity Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group, its outreach project Refugee Tales and the tales' publisher Comma Press to call for immigration detention to be limited to 28 days.

The crowdfunding campaign to cover 28 Tales' filming, editing and distribution costs, as well as enable more former detainees to join Refugee Tales' walking community, is now entering its final days. If you wish to make a donation, you can do so until 2 August.

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Celebrating this websiteís 16th anniversary with 16 rare photos

30 July 2018 01:45

I had to pinch myself earlier this month when I realised that the websiteís 16th anniversary was on the horizon. The site has changed immeasurably since it first appeared online on 30 July 2002, but its aim remains the same: to be the internetís most comprehensive resource for ZoŽ Wanamakerís many enthusiastic fans around the world.

To celebrate the anniversary, here are 16 rare photos of ZoŽ collected by me over the years (click on them to see bigger versions). I hope you enjoy them as much as Iíve enjoyed choosing and commenting on each one.

1. A legend in the making

ZoŽ wears a gauntlet in this unusual magazine photo from 1989, inspired by Laurence Olivierís landmark performance as Henry V in Shakespeareís play, for which he wore a suit of armour. The magazine wondered if the next acting legend, following Olivierís passing earlier in the year, might be a woman. As it pointed out, ZoŽís name is Ďa byword for excellenceí.

2. Surveying the Globe

Had you been at Shakespeareís Globe on the day this photo was taken, around 1995, you couldíve been forgiven for thinking that a ghostly figure from the theatreís past Ė perhaps even Elizabeth I herself Ė was surveying the progress being made on its reconstruction. If youíd then looked closely, youíd surely have recognised the famous face and trademark spiky hair of the daughter of actor and director Sam Wanamaker, who spearheaded the project to rebuild the Globe on Londonís South Bank.

ZoŽís Elizabethan-style costume suggests that the theatre will stay true to its heritage, while the presence of a workman in contemporary dress is a sign that itís well on its way to bringing Shakespeare to modern audiences.

3. High spirits when rehearsing His Girl Friday

Director Jack OíBrien shares a joke with ZoŽ in this delightful photo taken during rehearsals for the National Theatreís production of His Girl Friday in 2003. You can almost hear ZoŽ giggling when you look at it! She was preparing to play feisty Hildy Johnson in the fast-paced comedy. Her Hildy was, The New Yorker declared, Ďa petite dynamo with a glint in her eyeí.

4. Childhood fun and fancy dress

There's laughter in this photo too! Aged about eight or nine, ZoŽ is pictured enjoying a birthday party at her friend Jennyís house. Sheís wearing a fancy dress costume inspired by one of Mark Twainís best-loved characters, the wild but kind-hearted Huckleberry Finn, from novels such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. ĎMum had painted freckles on my face and I wore a check shirt and braces with rolled-up jeans and bare feet,í ZoŽ recalled when speaking to a magazine about the photo in 2007.

ĎIím sure it was my decision to come to the party as Huckleberry Finn,í she added. ĎI was born in New York, where I lived until I was three when we moved to London. I was brought up on American books [...] Jenny had the Bobbsey Twins books so I wanted them too (everything Jenny had I wanted).í

5. Black and white and bold

Can you imagine anyone taking more beautiful photos of ZoŽ than the hugely talented Jillian Edelstein? The masterful use of light and shade in this portrait from 1990 highlights ZoŽís distinctive profile. Another profile shot from the same photoshoot was shown at Londonís National Portrait Gallery in 2012, as part of an exhibition about contemporary actresses.

6. Oaks for Shakespeareís Globe

In this magazine photo from 1992, ZoŽ and her dad are leaning on a felled oak in Gloucestershire's ancient Forest of Dean. The tree was one of a number given by the Forestry Commission to the project to rebuild Shakespeareís Globe. With construction underway, the Globeís trust had made a nationwide appeal to estate owners for 250 full-grown trees. Those provided were destined to become part of the iconic structure of the theatre often called the 'Wooden O'.

7. Marriage to Gawn Grainger

ZoŽ and the actor and writer Gawn Grainger are pictured looking very happy indeed on their wedding day in London in 1994. Like his wife, Gawn has a successful career encompassing theatre, TV and film. Talking to a newspaper a couple of years after they married, he remarked modestly that ĎZoŽ and I are very different actors. Sheís better than I am.í

8. Tapestries gifted to the Globe

In 1994, Prince Philip unveiled four stunning tapestries at the partially-built Shakespeareís Globe. Following the unveiling, ZoŽ was photographed for a magazine in front of the embroidered, Elizabethan-style hangings, which were a gift from New Zealand. 500 embroiderers, working with the nationís famous wool, had spent more than a year producing them. The tapestries adorned the stageís background in the Globeís early days and now hang in the theatreís exhibition.

9. These are a few of her favourite things

ĎMy home is very important to me. Itís like a reaffirmation of who I am,í ZoŽ explained in the magazine interview this photo illustrates, published in 1994. ĎFor me, possessions weave a fantasy about family, home, warmth and open fires and the good old days of storybooks and childhood.í

Appropriately enough, sheís surrounded by a selection of her favourite things. On display are paintings Ė one depicts Italyís La Scala opera house and the other, by Frances Crichton Stuart, a seaside scene Ė and an antique Clarice Cliff bowl ZoŽ bought while touring with the RSC. Some objects, such as the wind-up duck with a spinning hat, quirky vase and coin-snatching moneybox, have novelty value. Thereís a tiny bottle of Jean Patouís luxury perfume, 1000, and an empty amethyst scent bottle from 1988 film The Raggedy Rawney. The sign may only be cardboard, but it carries an important message: Ďdonít postpone joyí.

10. ZoŽ shows her tough side

When this striking photo of ZoŽ was taken at a pool hall in 1999, her portrayal of Ancient Greek tragedyís Electra was taking modern Broadway audiences by storm, having already caused a sensation in the UK. ZoŽís masculine tailoring finds a parallel in the costume she wore on stage: Electraís petite frame was engulfed by her late fatherís enormous coat.

11. Finding fame

From tough to glamorous: this photo appeared alongside a 1994 magazine interview in which ZoŽ reflected on Love Hurtsí impact on her life. The incredibly popular BBC drama, which had ended earlier in the year, brought her into millions of TV viewersí homes. ĎAdam [Faith, who co-starred] and I were both astounded by its success,í ZoŽ emphasised. ĎNow people know who I am and, so long as theyíre nice, itís great.í

12. A quiet moment amid Much Ado

2007 was a busy year for ZoŽ at the National Theatre: after Tennessee Williamsí The Rose Tattoo, she turned her attention to Much Ado About Nothing. This photo captures her in a contemplative mood during rehearsals for Shakespeareís comedy, in which she played prickly, poignant Beatrice. Whenever I see it, I always wonder what ZoŽ is thinking.

13. Casual chic and cheeky charm

ZoŽ exudes casual chic in this 2015 portrait from a womenís magazine, while an amusing anecdote from the accompanying interview reveals her playful sense of humour. ĎThere was a day on the Poirot set,í ZoŽ remarked, recalling her role as eccentric crime writer Ariadne Oliver. Ď[The crew] were holding up all these special reflective boards around David [Suchet, in costume as Poirot]. I said, ĎĎWhatís with all the light on him? Iím a girl. I need all the help I can get.íí They said, ĎĎItís the moustache. Weíre having to light the moustache.íí So the next day I came in with a moustache. ĎĎOkay, gimme!íí I told them.í

14. Celebrating My Familyís centenary

ZoŽís rapport with her co-star, Robert Lindsay, is clear in this newspaper photo from 2009. They certainly had plenty to smile about: their hit BBC comedy, which owed so much to its starsí on-screen chemistry, was about to reach its 100th episode. The milestone reaffirmed My Familyís position in the popular imagination. ĎThe public own it now,í ZoŽ concluded.

15. ZoŽís career skyrockets

When ZoŽ was photographed for a womenís magazine in 1979, sheíd reached a new high in her career. Having Ďscored a stunning successí (in the magazineís words) in the RSCís revival of Moss Hart and George S. Kaufmanís comedy Once in a Lifetime, she was on track to win her first Olivier award.

In the interview that accompanied this photo, ZoŽ noted that Ďin the theatre it takes time to know exactly where you fit iní. At the end of her first decade as a professional actor, she was both successful and self-possessed. The magazine was impressed. ĎAt thirty, ZoŽ Wanamaker is very much her own lady,í it emphasised.

16. Sam Wanamakerís pride in his daughter

This sweet photo of ZoŽ and her dad accompanied a 1986 magazine interview in which they discussed their close bond. Sam recalled his daughter being a Ďdelightfulí child. ĎShe exuded charm, she gave her affection freely and openly, and she laughed a lot and enjoyed giggling and having fun. She was always performing, dancing or skipping or singing.í

ZoŽís talent, caring nature and zest for life were now helping her to become a popular, acclaimed actor. ĎShe is an asset to have in any production because she always produces something very special and individual,í Sam emphasised, reflecting on his daughterís achievements. ĎThereís something about her that you like, you instinctively like ZoŽ.í

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ZoŽ narrates stunning wildlife series, My Family and the Galapagos, on Channel 4

29 July 2018 20:22

Over the next few weeks, UK fans can hear ZoŽ narrating My Family and the Galapagos, a new wildlife documentary series on Channel 4. The programme follows marine biologist Monty Halls, his wife and children as they explore (as ZoŽ declared in the first episode) Ďthe most extraordinary place on earth, where spectacular animals live side-by-side with peopleí.

As the Halls discover during their three-month expedition, however, thereís trouble in paradise. Channel 4 explains in its My Family and the Galapagos press release that Ďwith the human population expanding, plastic waste infesting seas and washing up on shores, invasive species and illegal fishing threatening the islands more than ever beforeí, a delicate ecosystem is being put under increasing pressure.

Monty Halls (whoís president of charity the Galapagos Conservation Trust) and his family aim to find out what we can all do to protect this fabulous, fragile part of the world, which boasts many species found nowhere else.

You can catch up with episode one now; Channel 4 will broadcast episodes two and three on 4 August and 11 August at 8pm.

Watching My Family and the Galapagos reminds me of an episode from the fourth series of sitcom My Family, called ĎDeliveranceí. Perhaps you remember it too Ė in a series of flashbacks to the 1970s, Zoe's Susan and husband Ben (played by Robert Lindsay) relive the night eldest child Nick was born. When the expectant couple arrive at the hospital, Susan has second thoughts about becoming a parent... What if she ends up stuck at home changing nappies instead of exploring the world?!

Perhaps the Harpers should've taken a leaf out of the Halls' book and taken the kids on a once-in-a-lifetime trip!

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News round-up: Love Hurts, The Older Woman, Ode to Joy and Nicholas Hammond as Sam Wanamaker in Tarantino film

27 July 2018 23:08

Watch Love Hurts on Acorn TV from 30 July

A reminder for US fans that you can watch Love Hurts series one from this Monday, 30 July. The first ten episodes of the classic BBC comedy-drama, starring ZoŽ and Adam Faith, will be available to stream on Acorn TV. To the best of my knowledge, this marks the first time Love Hurts has been shown in the US since BBC America aired it over ten years ago.

If youíre not familiar with the show, let me bring you up to speed. ZoŽ plays Tessa Piggott, a high-flying corporate exec who was, for years, the bossís mistress. After being unceremoniously dumped one lunchtime, she decides to change her life by putting her skills to use in the charity sector. Tessa also decides to avoid any more romantic entanglements Ė but fate has other ideas when cheeky chappy and self-made millionaire Frank Carver averts a crisis on the night of an all-important charity event.

Witty scripts and sparkling performances made Love Hurts a huge hit when it originally aired in the UK from 1992-4. The shoulder pads are big, as are the mobile phones, but the relationship issues and social problems at the heart of the series are as relevant as ever.

Catch up with The Older Woman

ZoŽ stars as one half of another will-they-wonít-they couple Ė tough, fortysomething teacher Jane Callaghan and love-struck, thirtysomething former pupil Roy Hitchcock Ė in distinctive comedy-drama The Older Woman (1993). Her co-stars include Martin Clunes and Toyah Willcox.

The imaginative, acerbic series, which recently made a welcome return to BBC Radio 4 Extra, will conclude on 30 July at 7am (repeated 5pm and 31 July at 5am). You can catch up with the previous five episodes now.

Ode to Joy gets film festival screening

The documentary Ode to Joy (2014), narrated by ZoŽ, will be screened as part of the inaugural Watford Short Film Festival on 4 August. The brief but fascinating film explores the life and career of talented, Watford-born animator Joy Batchelor. She's perhaps best known for the 1954 film adaptation of George Orwell's allegorical novella, Animal Farm.

Tickets to the festival are available online.

Nicholas Hammond to play ZoŽís dad in Tarantino film

Nicholas Hammond (who you may remember from The Sound of Music and 70s TV series The Amazing Spider-Man) has been cast as Sam Wanamaker in major director Quentin Tarantinoís forthcoming film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, which is currently in production.

Itís not yet clear what role ZoŽís dad will have in the plot of the film, which is set in Los Angeles during the infamous summer of 1969 and blends history with fiction. Film resource Screen Rant suggests that heís most likely to be involved with (fictional) TV actor Rick Daltonís storyline. That sounds plausible, given Sam Wanamaker's extensive TV acting and directing experience.

Dalton (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) and his stunt double, Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt), are attempting to make the leap from the small screen to Hollywood blockbusters. Events take a horrifying turn, however, one August night. Daltonís neighbour is Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), the real-life rising star who was murdered, along with several others, at her home by followers of the criminal Charles Manson.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is due to be released in summer 2019.

Thanks to Karoline for her help.

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ZoŽ films 28 Tales for 28 Days, highlighting immigration detaineesí struggles

26 July 2018 23:23

Hereís ZoŽ filming 28 Tales for 28 Days, which calls for a 28-day time limit on UK immigration detention. As recently reported here, sheís one of the well-known actors and writers helping to highlight the experiences of people indefinitely detained in the UK by making this series of videos.

28 Tales is the brainchild of charity Gatwick Detainees Welfare Group, which runs a walking project called Refugee Tales. Also on board is Comma Press, the publisher of the stories told on the walks and in 28 Tales.

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#zoewanamaker #commapress #refugeetales #28for28 #crowdfunder

A post shared by Refugee Tales (@refugeetales) on

ZoŽ and the other readers are giving their time free to 28 Tales. The GDWG is running a crowdfunding campaign to cover filming, editing and distribution costs, as well as enable more former detainees to join the walking community. If 28 Tales and Refugee Tales strike a chord and you wish to contribute to the campaign, you can do so until 2 August.

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Site design and original text © 2002 - 2020, unless specified otherwise.
Most images used on this site are the copyright of their photographer, Ms. Wanamaker, and/or the production company of the show. Use of these images is covered under the fair use limitation in the USA, and the fair dealing limitaton in the UK.
This site is a non-commercial endeavour.