ZoŽ stars as Gail, part of a trio of childhood friends rocked by tragedy, in ITV's six-part drama series shown in early 2018. You can watch it on Region 2 DVD, Amazon Prime Video (UK) or Acorn TV on Amazon (US).


ZoŽ stars as vengeful Queen Antedia in Sky's epic nine-part drama series, shown in early 2018, about the Romans invading ancient Britain. You can watch it on Sky Atlantic (UK), NOW TV (UK), Region B/2 Blu-ray, Region 2 DVD or Amazon Prime Video in the UK and US.

Inside No. 9

ZoŽ guest stars as waspish acting awards judge Paula in 'And the Winner Is...', an episode from the BBC's cult comedy-drama's fourth series shown on 30 January 2018. You can watch it on Region B/2 Blu-ray, Region 2/4 DVDAmazon Prime Video (UK), YouTube or via iTunes or Google Play.


The Birthday Party in rehearsals, Britannia release date, Girlfriends photos and much more!

5 December 2017 21:31

There's been an extraordinary, dizzying amount of news over the past few weeks or so (my head's still spinning!). Much of it suggests that 2018 will be a particularly exciting year for ZoŽ and her fans.

There's so much to look forward to; I've done my very best to bring together all the relevant details here, so you won't miss a thing...

ZoŽ sparkles at ES Theatre Awards

On 3 December, ZoŽ and her husband Gawn Grainger attended the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane. They were photographed looking fantastic on the red carpet for Getty Images and Zimbio. In fact, one of the shots made it onto Popsugar's list of must-see photos from the star-studded event.

The Birthday Party opens next month

Theatre is likely to be very much on ZoŽ's mind at the moment, as Sonia Friedman Productions' major West End revival of The Birthday Party, in which she'll appear as seaside boarding house owner Meg, begins in a matter of weeks. The prestigious, 60th anniversary production has been in rehearsals since late November.

This stunning publicity photo shows the darkly comic play's full cast. The show will be performed at the Harold Pinter Theatre, named after The Birthday Party's legendary writer, from 9 January to 14 April 2018. Tickets are on sale now Ė and going quickly.

Sky to release Britannia in January

On 18 January (the same date as The Birthday Party's press night, in fact) all ten episodes of Britannia, Jez Butterworth's epic historical drama series, will be made available as a boxset to viewers of Sky Atlantic and streaming service Now TV. The series, in which ZoŽ stars as the formidable Celtic Queen Antedia, was filmed in the Czech Republic and Wales back in 2016, and now the wait is almost over!

In this new publicity photo, Antedia comes face to face with invading Roman general Aulus Plautius (David Morrissey). As is clear from the photo, as well as the trailer, Britannia looks spectactular!

Zoe's character, in particular, is bound to be an unforgettable element of the show. 'I'm channelling Tina Turner in Mad Max!' she quipped when Empire Magazine went behind-the-scenesIn The Times' words, '[Antedia's] face is tattooed, she swears like a trooper and her hair deserves a Bafta to itself'!

Appropriately enough, BAFTA in London provided the setting for Britannia's press screening, held at the end of November. ZoŽ joined Morrissey and Butterworth for a panel discussion at the event.

Girlfriends is coming to ITV very soon

ZoŽ attended another press screening in early December Ė this time for ITV's brand new drama series Girlfriends. Also present were her co-stars Miranda Richardson and Phyllis Logan, as well as Girlfriends' creator Kay Mellor. They all took part in a panel discussion at the London event.

According to the Radio Times website, Girlfriends begins on 3 January (ITV, 9pm). No clips so far, but the newly released publicity photos give us a sense of the three very different, distinctive women at the heart of the series, including ZoŽ's Gail.

Filmed in Yorkshire over the summer, the series sees the trio of childhood friends reunited in the aftermath of a tragedy while tackling all sorts of problems in their lives. Gail certainly has a lot on her plate: she's helping her son Tom make a fresh start after his time in prison while also trying to rescue her marriage to Dave.

Actor Chris Fountain, who's also in Girlfriends' cast, is full of praise for ZoŽ and her co-stars. Interviewed by What's on TV magazine, he said, 'I'm totally in awe of them. Just watching them work is like doing an acting masterclass.'

If you've seen any other dramas by Mellor, you'll know that she's a brilliant storyteller. Expect punchy but warmhearted plots and dialogue. In fact, ZoŽ's talent for bringing tough yet vulnerable characters to life seems absolutely tailor-made for Girlfriends.

Death of a Salesman returns to Radio 3

BBC Radio 3 gave listeners another chance to hear the stunning 2015 production of Arthur Miller's masterpiece Death of a Salesman, which stars ZoŽ and David Suchet and was directed by the late Howard Davies, on 26 November.

As ZoŽ pointed out when it was originally broadcast, 'the drama is so brilliantly constructed, you donít realise the power of it until you perform it'.

You can listen to Death of a Salesman on the BBC iPlayer for the next few weeks.

ZoŽ helps Samaritans #GivetheGift of listening

The charity Samaritans, which offers emotional support to people going through tough times, is auctioning an elegant scarf kindly donated by ZoŽ. The item is one of a number of scarves and similar accessories from well-known individuals that you can bid for on eBay as part of Samaritans' #GivetheGift Christmas fundraising campaign.

You have until 10 December to bid for Zoe's scarf. Good luck!

With thanks to Janet, Karoline, @KellyReillyWeb and Ilona for their help.

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Celebrating the 20th anniversary of ZoŽ's 'towering performance' as Electra at the Donmar Warehouse

24 October 2017 02:11

It's now twenty years, almost to the day, since Sophocles' Electra, which featured ZoŽ's mesmerising portrayal of the grieving, vengeful title character, came to the Donmar Warehouse in London. It's hard to believe that so much time has passed, but Electra lives on in the minds of those who were lucky enough to see it. Their memories of this landmark production are surely as vivid now as they were in 1997.

Director David Leveaux's startling, stimulating and highly successful revival of the Ancient Greek tragedy, freshly adapted by Frank McGuinness, had already wowed audiences during its initial run in Chichester and on tour. 'Zoe Wanamaker as the heroine gives an immaculate, moving and physical performance of star quality in which her emotions are exposed to the bone and the audience is left breathless,' emphasised Michael Sell in The Stage. Now the Capital's theatregoers Ė and reviewers Ė were to be treated to this unforgettable performance and production.

Talking to The New York Times about their bold choice of play, Leveaux recalled, 'I said [to ZoŽ]: ''Don't you think it's time you had a really good scream? Why don't we do something we really want to do, something that is dangerous and a challenge?'' I wanted to see her go up and show what she's got.' ZoŽ rose to the challenge by tackling one of the most physically and emotionally demanding roles of her career.

Electra's heart, soul, mind and body are warped by her obsessive mourning for her father, Agamemnon. He'd sacrificed her sister, Iphigenia, during wartime and was then himself murdered by her mother, Clytemnestra, many years before the play begins. The impact of those traumatic early experiences is symbolised by Electra's spiky, unruly hair and the huge, threadbare coat that once belonged to Agamemnon and now engulfs her petite frame. She's dangerously unstable, a child-woman consumed by grief coupled with a bloodthirsty desire for revenge. Electra is desperate to be reunited with her brother, Orestes, and equally desperate for him to perpetuate the brutal cycle of familial violence by killing their mother. Johan Engels' set design called for earth to cover the stage, like an open grave, ensuring that death was never far from the characters' and audience's thoughts.

'To me, it's about a soul who is troubled, an avenging angel, a terrorist and yet a heroine of huge proportions,' ZoŽ explained in an insightful interview conducted by writer Mark Glubke to accompany the publication of McGuinness' text. Her remarks point to the complexity of both the role and our responses to it. Electra wants terrible things Ė but it's impossible to ignore the fact that she's suffered terribly too. 'David's vision of it is that the play is about love, families and the destruction of families,' ZoŽ added. 'For me, it raises the question of what becomes of the children of war. What will become of those kids when they become 20? What have we created?'

The production drew parallels between Electra's suffering and that of the children caught up in late twentieth-century conflicts, such as those affected by the Bosnian War. Leveaux writes persuasively in the Donmar's theatre programme that 'the arguments of the play are so fundamental, and so originally human, that they literally echo down through history' to reach our ears. As shown at the top of this article, one of the images designed to publicise the production features a photo of ZoŽ Ė or Electra Ė as a child with Electra as an adult just visible in her eyes. The image is a subtle reminder that Electra finds herself trapped in her past, unable to move on from the terrible events of her youth. She therefore brings the emotional instability of childhood to bear on her behaviour during adulthood.

The immediacy and 'physicality' of McGuinness' adaptation prompted ZoŽ to change her usual working methods. 'When I create a role, I usually do quite a bit of research. For this play, I did a little bit, but I didn't go any further than I thought would be necessary for the bare essentials of this play. I wanted it to be completely new and fresh,' she told Glubke. McGuinness' stripped-back retelling of Electra's heart-stopping, heart-breaking story brought Ancient Greek drama into the late 1990s and resonated powerfully with contemporary audiences. The Times' Peter Stothard called the production 'an Electra for today', its relevance making it all the more powerful.

'What I love about Frank's adaptation is he's pared Sophocles down to the fishbone,' ZoŽ also told Glubke. The language of McGuinness' version is fierce and urgent yet suffused with poetry, as exemplified by Electra describing her formidable determination: 'I have harmed myself by the harm done to me. I know the hardness of my heart. But as long as there is breath left in my body, I will not change direction no matter how harmful.' ZoŽ captured the mood of the intense production, which ran for an hour and a half without pausing for an interval, by describing it as 'startlingly modern'. The compelling text, staging and performances enabled theatregoers to look on an ancient story with fresh eyes. As ZoŽ concluded, '[Electra] became a new play'.

'This will be remembered as the production in which ZoŽ Wanamaker staked her claim to greatness,' Charles Spencer emphasised in the Telegraph. His praise was echoed by numerous other critics; in particular, the Financial Times' Ian Shuttleworth was hugely impressed by Zoe's 'towering performance' and the Guardian's Michael Billington drew attention to her 'genuine tragic power'. ZoŽ won the Olivier and Variety Club Best Actress awards for her portrayal of Electra Ė and caught the attention of Broadway.

Having triumphed in the UK, Electra repeated its success in the US in 1998-9. By the time the show was lighting up Broadway, Zoe's portrayal of Agamemnon's troubled daughter was being hailed as 'a miraculous achievement' (in the words of John Heilpern on She subsequently earned a Tony nomination.

Quoted in The New York Times, ZoŽ summed up Electra as 'a meteoric soul'. By thrilling theatregoers and the press on both sides of the Atlantic, Zoe's portrayal of this compelling character, ancient and modern by turns, undoubtedly became a meteoric success.

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ZoŽ photographed for The Birthday Party, Pinter's 'incredible' play

20 October 2017 16:45

Delighted to be able to share with you this striking photo of ZoŽ, which was taken by the talented Idil Sukan during a photoshoot for Sonia Friedman Productions' 60th anniversary West End revival of The Birthday Party. Click here or on the image to see a larger version.

ZoŽ recently explained what makes the play 'incredible'.

Compelling and unsettling, The Birthday Party stars ZoŽ alongside Stephen Mangan, Toby Jones and Pearl Mackie. It'll be staged at the venue named after its legendary playwright, the Harold Pinter Theatre, from 9 January to 14 April 2018. Tickets are on sale now Ė and proving very popular, so do try to book early, if possible.

Thanks to Vanessa for her help.

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Doctor Who's Pearl Mackie joins ZoŽ in 2018 revival of The Birthday Party

15 September 2017 17:02

Sonia Friedman Productions has revealed that Pearl Mackie, who rose to fame as the most recent Doctor Who companion, Bill Potts, will appear alongside ZoŽ in the 2018 West End revival of The Birthday Party. Mackie is set to play party guest Lulu, the role ZoŽ herself played in a 1972 production of Harold Pinter's classic, so they're bound to have plenty to chat about during rehearsals.

Speaking to the Radio Times about her 'phenomenal' castmates, who also include Stephen Mangan and Toby Jones, Mackie emphasised, 'I'm so excited to be in the room with them, let alone actually share a stage with them Ė I think it will be incredible.'

The Birthday Party will be staged at London's Harold Pinter Theatre from 9 January to 14 April 2018, with its opening night on 18 January. Tickets are available now Ė and selling fast.

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ZoŽ to star in 60th anniversary revival of Pinter's The Birthday Party

12 September 2017 22:56

ZoŽ's next theatre production has been announced Ė and it's very exciting! She's set to star in a 2018 West End revival of Harold Pinter's The Birthday Party, celebrating the classic play's 60th anniversary. Appropriately enough, the show will be staged at the theatre named after the renowned playwright. ZoŽ's co-stars are Toby Jones and Stephen Mangan (you'll find great cast photos on Facebook).

As the production's official website makes clear, The Birthday Party's plot is dark and intriguing: 'Stanley Webber (Toby Jones) is the only lodger at Meg (ZoŽ Wanamaker) and Petey Boles' sleepy seaside boarding house. The unsettling arrival of enigmatic strangers Goldberg (Stephen Mangan) and McCann disrupts the humdrum lives of the inhabitants and their friend Lulu, and mundanity soon becomes menace when a seemingly innocent birthday party turns into a disturbing nightmare.'

Produced by Sonia Friedman and directed by Ian Rickson (who've been behind a number of critically acclaimed productions of Pinter's work), the revival will mark the second time ZoŽ has performed The Birthday Party. She originally appeared in the play as Lulu during a British Council Far East Tour early in her career, in 1972.

The news of what the Guardian calls '[a] star-studded new West End production' has attracted plenty of attention in the theatre press, with articles by The Stage,,, and more. In addition, BBC Radio 4's Today programme has aired an interview with Toby Jones and Pinter's widow, Lady Antonia Fraser, about the play's enduring appeal.

The Birthday Party runs at the Harold Pinter Theatre from 9 January to 14 April 2018, with its opening night on 18 January. Tickets are available now and being snapped up, so it's a good idea to book early if possible.

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