Britannia

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

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 aired just after Christmas. It's available via the BBC iPlayer.

Shadow and Bone

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

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First look at Two Ladies in performance

19 September 2019 19:09

London’s Bridge Theatre has released fantastic first-look photos of Zoë, Zrinka Cvitešic and the rest of the cast in Two Ladies. The play, which explores the role of world leaders’ wives, is currently in previews.

Meanwhile, Zoë’s character, Helen (originally called Hélčne), has some wise words for us.

Interviewed by The Times, Zrinka Cvitešic, who plays Helen's opposite number in the US, emphasised that Two Ladies is an important play for female audience members in particular. 'I think this play will speak to so many women on so many levels.'

Theatregoers are continuing to respond enthusiastically to the ‘brilliant, thought provoking and very pertinent’ production. As the (fictional) First Lady of France, ‘Zoe Wanamaker gives a masterclass performance.’

For more details or to book tickets for Two Ladies, head to the theatre’s website. The play runs until 26 October.

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Zoë to appear in BBC’s ‘charming and inventive’ Worzel Gummidge revival

19 September 2019 18:44

Last month, I mentioned on Twitter that Zoë has been cast in a TV show aimed at a family audience. I can now confirm that show is Worzel Gummidge, BBC One’s new adaptation of Barbara Euphan Todd’s classic children’s stories. The adventures of Scatterbrook Farm’s walking, talking scarecrow are billed by the BBC as ‘the TV event of the season’ with ‘a host of both accomplished and brilliant actors’.

Having filmed Worzel Gummidge earlier this summer, Zoë will appear in the second of its two magical, hour-long programmes, ‘The Green Man’. We can look forward to her portrayal of the eccentric aristocrat Lady Bloomsbury Barton, whose country fete features a scarecrow competition that Worzel (played by Mackenzie Crook, who also wrote and directed the show) sets his sights on winning.

‘The whole thing is so charming and inventive,’ remarks Zoë. ‘It’s the sort of thing I’d watch. I’m sure it will be a huge success. I know it will – it’s divine.’

The distinguished cast also includes Michael Palin and Steve Pemberton.

Worzel Gummidge airs in the UK later this year; the exact dates haven’t yet been announced, though there’s a suggestion it could be a Christmas TV treat.

Brilliant Britannia is back – on 7 November

There's more exciting TV news...

Sky recently revealed the broadcast date for Britannia II, in which Zoë will also be seen alongside Mackenzie Crook. Queen Antedia, Zoe’s fabulous, fierce clan leader, returns in the historical epic on 7 November (the exact time has not yet been confirmed).

All ten episodes of Britannia’s hotly anticipated second series will be released on that date via Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW TV.

Thanks to Janet for her help.

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Praise for Two Ladies’ ‘extraordinary’ first preview

15 September 2019 19:26

Yesterday evening, Zoë and the rest of the Two Ladies cast wowed the audience during the production's sold-out first preview at London’s Bridge Theatre. It was the first time Nancy Harris’ political-meets-personal play had been staged.

Theatregoers have praised the ‘extraordinary performance’ given by Zoë and her co-star, Zrinka Cvitešic. In short, the two leads were ‘on fire’. They’re ‘powerful women in a powerful play’ exploring the role of First Ladies, the wives of world leaders, on the international stage.

Here’s a peek at the Two Ladies set – it suggests a play grounded in reality.

Dressed head to toe in polka dots, Zoë posed for photos with cast and crew, as well as lucky theatregoers, after the performance. The sweet pic shared by Raghad Chaar (who plays Fatima) is my favourite – two very happy ladies!

The next milestone is the press night: 25 September.

If you’d like to see the show for yourself, head to the theatre’s website for Two Ladies tickets. Performances are taking place until 26 October.

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Two Ladies' sold-out first performance is tonight!

14 September 2019 17:16

Zoë makes her Bridge Theatre debut tonight, starring in the sold-out, world premiere performance of Two Ladies, alongside Zrinka Cvitešic. The political and personal collide when Zoë's Hélčne and Zrinka's Sophia, who are both married to world leaders, meet in the midst of an international crisis.

Two Ladies features prominently in the Guardian's pick of this week's UK cultural events. As the newspaper emphasises, '[director] Nicholas Hytner’s production boasts two powerhouse performers in Zoë Wanamaker and Zrinka Cvitešic'.

To find out what drew Zoë to the play, check out her recent Telegraph interview. 'They never have a say. What are they supposed to do? Just go to dinners? Look glamorous? They appear as trophy wives, essentially outsiders,' she remarks about the role of First Ladies. On the Bridge Theatre stage, at least, they will find a voice. And with the G7 summit having taken place just last month, the play's run is particularly timely. 'Two Ladies couldn't be more apposite,' says Zoë. 'It's all playing out.'

For insights into what inspired Two Ladies and how it's been brought to life in rehearsals, head to the theatre's YouTube channel. There you'll find a series of bitesized video interviews with the playwright, Nancy Harris.

Let's wish everyone involved with Two Ladies all the best - break a leg! If you're attending tonight's first preview, enjoy! If not, there's still time to book tickets for later performances.

Two Ladies will run until 26 October and is bound to be a thought-provoking theatrical experience.

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Two Ladies: rehearsal photos and playwright insights

6 September 2019 07:15

The world premiere of Two Ladies at London’s Bridge Theatre, starring Zoë and Zrinka Cvitešic, is now just over a week away. The play, which explores the relationship between the political and personal, will have its first preview on 14 September, with the opening night around a week and a half later, on the 25th.

As these new photos show, the cast (which also includes Lorna Brown, Raghad Chaar and Yoli Fuller) are well into rehearsals, which began in mid-August.

The Bridge has also given us a peek at Anna Fleischle’s model of her set design.

‘Keep your enemies close, and your wives closer’: that’s Two Ladies’ compelling tagline. Zoë and Zrinka Cvitešic portray Hélčne and Sophia, respectively. They’re the (fictional) First Ladies of France and the US, and they’re in the middle of an international crisis. Who can they trust? Can their husbands trust them?

Two Ladies’ writer, Nancy Harris, discusses her inspiration for the play in an insightful article published by the Guardian. Watching the real French and American First Ladies at the 2017 Bastille Day celebrations in Paris, Harris wondered, ‘what’s it like to be in such close proximity to power but not – in the direct sense at least – to have power yourself?’ As she points out, ‘the balance of world power is overwhelmingly in the hands of men’. Where does that leave the wives of world leaders? What’s their role? How much influence do they exert? Is there a personal price to pay for supporting their husbands’ political ambitions?

‘The play presents an alternative reality involving a heightened global crisis,’ Harris explains. She adds: ‘The two ladies in question are fictional characters, but admittedly share similarities with certain real-life ones. Wanamaker plays the English wife of a fictional French president, while Cvitešic plays the Croatian wife of a fictional American one. Both bring their considerable theatrical abilities and cultural backgrounds to roles that present two first ladies in a high-stakes situation.’

Two Ladies sounds fascinating, doesn’t it? In fact, it’s been named by both the Evening Standard and Tatler (which praises ‘the renowned Zoë Wanamaker’) as one of the best shows to see in London.

Zoë will make her Bridge Theatre debut in this production. She’s worked with its director, Nicholas Hytner, very successfully before, perhaps most notably for the National Theatre’s revival of Much Ado About Nothing in 2007-8.

You can get your tickets for Two Ladies from The Bridge Theatre’s website. Performances are scheduled until 26 October, and the play runs for just under two hours. As there’s no interval, Two Ladies will probably be a pretty intense show.

Enjoy! And if you get the chance, please drop me a line or send me a tweet about what you think of it.

With thanks to Karoline for the link to the Guardian article.

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