'I am very happy to make this website, designed by Liz, official.'
ZoŽ Wanamaker CBE
My name's Liz, and I manage the website. For details of when and why it was created, please see the section about this website.
ZoŽ has an official Twitter account, @ZoeWanamaker, that she runs with her PA, Vanessa. I tweet at @LizLockhart1985.
Sam Wanamaker Playhouse:
You can donate to the Sam Wanamaker Playhouse, and find out more about this recreation of an indoor Jacobean theatre, on the Shakespeare's Globe website. ZoŽ, who is Honorary President of the Globe, talks about the history and significance of the project in a video by the theatre.
Guestbook - To sign the guestbook, please click the picture below. Your comments are much appreciated.
15 February 2017 01:05
On 13 February, an audience at London's BFI Southbank was treated to the first public screening of The Eagle Has Landed since the programme's original broadcast in 1973. In this innovative satire, which brings the wonders of space exploration down to earth with a bang, a very young ZoŽ made her fourth TV appearance. She played dippy hippy Alice, a victim of a sinister plan by two astronauts who take over her home after presenting a variety show on the moon.
The Eagle Has Landed is undeniably Ė and deliberately Ė bizarre. It's also sharp, witty and compelling, thanks to brilliant performances and David Edgar's savagely funny script (his first for TV). ZoŽ's Alice, with tousled hair, lilac eyeshadow and a boho frock, can't tear herself away from the spectacle of The Apollo 18 Moon Show on her family's black-and-white TV. 'This is really very heavy,' she says in her hippy drawl, voice flat and eyes, almost unblinking, fixed on the screen.
Their wits dulled by the inane variety show, the young woman and her family seem powerless to resist as they themselves become the next part of the evening's entertainment. Now Alice is gazing through her big round glasses at two unexpected visitors Ė the astronauts Ė who are intent on carrying out the horrifying final act of their mission in her home. Sadly, she's not clear-sighted enough to grasp the implications of the astronauts' plan before it's too late.
The Eagle Has Landed presents a vision of space travel, by turns humorous and nightmarish, in which politicians, the military and powerful corporations collude against an unsuspecting public. It's darkly comic and hugely thought-provoking as a result.
Before the screening, the script editor, Jonathan Powell, spoke briefly to the audience about his memories of making the programme. It was commissioned for ITV's Late Night Theatre platform, which focused on 'new voices, unheard-of themes'. The Eagle Has Landed fitted the bill perfectly and was 'good fun' to film.
The screening is part of the BFI's second Forgotten Dramas season, which has been curated by a team of academics from Royal Holloway, University of London, who are working on a project called the History of Forgotten Television Drama in the UK. The project's blog, Forgotten Television Drama, discusses The Eagle Has Landed.
If you'd like to know more about what happens, you might find my summary of the programme helpful. I tried to cram in as much detail as possible in light of the fact that many fans won't have had the chance to see this neglected programme. Its sets and special effects may look dated, but The Eagle Has Landed remains a powerful show and an important piece of work in the early stage of ZoŽ's career.
10 February 2017 19:51
Exciting news for any fans who may be in London this summer: it's been revealed today that ZoŽ will be among the special guests at Showmasters' London Film & Comic Con at Olympia. ZoŽ will be appearing at the huge convention on its second day, 29 July.
31 January 2017 18:52
'Madam Hooch' spotted at Harry Potter play!
Smash-hit play Harry Potter and the Cursed Child was even more magical than usual during its 14 January performance, thanks to the presence of everyone's favourite quidditch teacher in the audience!
ZoŽ also met the cast, as you can see from the great group photo shared on the spectacular West End show's Facebook page.
Guest speaker at prestigious Oxford Union
ZoŽ made her third appearance as a special guest at the Oxford Union, the prestigious debating society, on 24 January. She took part in an entertaining Q&A session, highlights of which were reported live on the Union's Twitter profile.
Harry Potter was again on ZoŽ's mind, as the discussion encompassed her role as eagle-like Madam Hooch in Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (aka Sorcerer's Stone). ZoŽ emphasised that the film 'was exactly how I imagined it to be from the book'.
While she had 'great fun' making the Harry Potter movie, ZoŽ feels more comfortable on stage: 'for me, the theatre is my first love. It's more rigorous, it's more exciting, than film'. Stage shows should always strive to be 'inventive and exciting', she added.
Some excellent, expressive photos of ZoŽ were taken at the event, though no videos seem to have been published. If you'd like to find out more about Zoe's previous visits to the Oxford Union, you'll be pleased to know that there's a short video from her 2011 Q&A, and you can find images online from her first appearance in 2004.
Updated 9 February: The Oxford Union's Facebook page features a series of great photos of ZoŽ at the recent event. (Thank you, Karoline, for the link!)
Watch ZoŽ in The Eagle Has Landed
There's a treat in store for ZoŽ's fans during February: the BFI will screen The Eagle Has Landed (1973), in which ZoŽ made her fourth TV appearance. The darkly comic political drama, described by the BFI as '[a]n exuberant and wildly inventive satire on the Apollo Space Programme', features ZoŽ as hippy Alice. She and her family receive an unexpected visit from astronauts with a dangerous plan.
The Eagle Has Landed will be shown alongside another 1970s political drama, The Nearly Man, during the screening on 13 February at 6:20pm. Tickets to the event on London's South Bank Ė a rare chance to see one of ZoŽ's first TV roles Ė are available from the BFI.
1 January 2017 21:07
In 2016, ZoŽ continued to dazzle and surprise her fans with a fantastic variety of work, which encompassed everything from paying tribute to Stevie Smith to exploring the future of medical science.
Let's begin 2017 by taking a look at some of the key moments from ZoŽ's career last year and seeing what's on the horizon.
Celebrating Stevie Smith
ZoŽ continued her fruitful relationship with the poetry of Stevie Smith (having portrayed her on stage, tremendously successfully, in both 2014 and 2015) when she took part in arts organisation Poet in the City's celebration of the highly individual writer on 15 February.
During the event, held at King's Place, London, Zoe read some of Smith's funniest, most touching and most disturbing poems, including 'The Galloping Cat', 'A House of Mercy' and 'God the Eater'. ZoŽ's expressive readings ensured that the audience shared in the amusement and 'joy' she associates with Smith's witty writing.
In the run-up to her appearance at King's Place, ZoŽ spoke to writer Bidisha about Smith's appeal for a BBC Arts article. 'She offers us a body of work that veers with unnerving regularity from baffling to acutely profound,' ZoŽ observed.
ZoŽ was also interviewed before the event by Poet and the City, remarking that '[Smith's] sense of irony, which I enjoy very much, and black humour, which I love', are two qualities that stand out in her writing, 'and that's what drew me to her'.
If you missed the event or want to refresh your memory of a wonderful evening, you'll be pleased to hear that extracts from Zoe's readings are included in the 'Poetry and Comedy' podcast from Poet and the City. In addition, I've written an overview of the event.
The voice of the Oliviers
ZoŽ provided the voiceover for the 40th Olivier Awards ceremony, which took place on 3 April at London's beautiful Royal Opera House.
She also appeared on the red carpet with her husband, Gawn Grainger, and on stage during the prestigious ceremony, looking suitably glamorous. Alongside Rob Brydon, ZoŽ presented the Best Actor and Actress in a Supporting Role in a Musical Awards (which were won by David Bedella and Lara Pulver).
Winning an Also Recognised Award
Performing arts website My Theatre Mates announced, days later, that ZoŽ had won Best Solo Performance in its Also Recognised Awards, which celebrate aspects of theatre overlooked by mainstream awards. ZoŽ's portrayal of the grieving, guilty widow, Rosemary, in All On Her Own received almost a third of the public's votes.
The Terence Rattigan monologue wowed critics and theatregoers alike alongside the playwright's comedy, Harlequinade, during Kenneth Branagh's Plays at the Garrick season in London's West End.
The double bill's final performances had taken place in January.
Elegy's world premiere
Also in April, Elegy received its world premiere at the Donmar Warehouse, London. Nick Payne's thought-provoking, intense play starred ZoŽ as Lorna, who owes her life to advancements in neuroscience but is paying a terrible price for survival.
'The wonderful thing about [Elegy] is it poses the question constantly Ė do we have control over ourselves and at what cost and why?' ZoŽ pointed out when speaking to the Evening Standard about the play's exploration of medicine and the mysteries of the human mind.
Lorna wakes after an operation with no memory of her wife, the devastated Carrie (played by Barbara Flynn), who's made the heart-breaking decision to sacrifice her relationship to save her partner's life. Nina Sosanya's Mariam, Lorna's surgeon, struggles to 'treat' the emotional upheaval as effectively as the brain disorder. This trio of characters invited rapt audiences to consider ideas about love, memory and identity. At what point might you stop being you?
In the Evening Standard, Elegy's director, Josie Rourke, emphasised that 2016 was a landmark year for women in theatre. She called the play's all-female cast 'truly great'.
After Elegy opened on 27 April, many reviewers were similarly enthusiastic. As the Guardian's Michael Billington commented, 'ZoŽ Wanamaker is superb as Lorna, in the way she captures the rage and frustration that are inevitable byproducts of her condition, but also the wit and mischief that made Carrie love her in the first place.'
Shakespeare's 400th anniversary
BBC Radio 4 invited ZoŽ to discuss one of her favourite Shakespearean characters, Iago's troubled wife, Emilia, from Othello, as part of Shakespeare's People. The series was produced to mark the 400th anniversary of the playwright's death on 23 April.
ZoŽ's episode of Shakespeare's People was broadcast shortly before the anniversary and explored what she called 'the conflict within Emilia'. Having played the role to great acclaim in the RSC's 1989 Othello, ZoŽ shared her insights. Emilia is 'in denial' about her husband's true nature, she explained. Only when tragedy strikes does Iagoís long-suffering wife see him for what he is: a monster.
ZoŽ also shared her thoughts about the playwright's enduring appeal in a video about Shakespeare productions at London's National Theatre. 'Shakespeare touches the human heart in all his plays, and that's why he is relevant now and will always be,' she emphasised.
The video includes clips of 2007's hugely popular staging of Much Ado About Nothing (2007), in which ZoŽ played Beatrice.
On the anniversary itself, ZoŽ took part in a commemorative service at Southwark Cathedral, not far from the National Theatre and indeed Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. ZoŽ joined local schoolchildren in laying flowers at the memorials to her father, Sam Wanamaker, as well as Shakespeare and his brother, Edmund.
Website's 14th anniversary
This website celebrated its fourteenth anniversary on 30 July. To mark the occasion, I discussed the website's history, as well as the reasons why being a fan is such a joy, in the most personal article I've ever published here.
Exciting new projects
During the latter half of 2016, Zoe was particularly busy with two major TV projects, and we'll be able to see the results of her incredibly hard work later in 2017.
The first project to be announced was Britannia, a ten-part historical drama series from Sky and Amazon US. Britannia focuses on the Roman Imperial Army's invasion of Celtic Britain in 43AD. ZoŽ will appear as Antedia, a key figure in the Celtic resistance movement. Filming for this epic series took place in Prague and Wales.
We can also look forward to watching ZoŽ in Babs, a one-off BBC One drama about the life of national treasure and EastEnders star Barbara Windsor. Zoe has been cast as radical director Joan Littlewood, whose Stratford theatre group Windsor joined as a young actress.
Broadcast dates have yet to be announced, but I'll look out for news.
ZoŽ's New Year message
ZoŽ's New Year tweet, posted today, no doubt strikes a chord with many people, as 2016 was a tumultuous period worldwide.
I hope that 2017 will be a happy, healthy year for everyone who admires her work.
Your own favourites
24 December 2016 02:13
ZoŽ's lovely seasonal message to fans, which was recently published on her official Twitter profile, is full of festive spirit. It's surely the recipe for happiness this Christmas and New Year Ė and beyond.
I'd like to echo ZoŽ's sentiments and sincerely hope that everyone who visits this website enjoys a magical festive period.
Why not watch a few My Family Christmas specials? (I plan to wear an Xmas jumper almost as loud as the one Ben's sporting below!)
Happy Christmas to you all!