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

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 will air later this year.


Look At You Now exhibition, Children and the Arts event and The Humansí opening night

8 September 2018 02:35

ZoŽ featured in National Theatre exhibition

Look out for ZoŽ and her husband, Gawn Grainger, recreating their childhood snapshots in a new video from Londonís National Theatre.

The video accompanies a free exhibition, Look At You Now, which features photos of actors and other theatre-makers connected to the NT. ĎThe exhibition celebrates where people start and what they go on to achieve,í in the theatreís words.

All of the contemporary portraits were taken by young people under the guidance of professional photographers, in the spirit of nurturing tomorrowís creative talents.

Look At You Now runs seven days a week at the NT until 13 October.

ZoŽís views on the role of the arts in education

Nurturing creativity among young people was also the theme of a charity event ZoŽ attended on 5 September. She joined around 200 other leading figures from the arts at Londonís Royal Albert Hall for the high-profile gathering, which was organised by Prince Charlesí Children & the Arts charity and aimed to promote Ė and protect Ė the arts in UK schools.

ZoŽ, who is a Children & the Arts ambassador, spoke to the Press Association about the importance of artistic expression for pupils and her concerns that arts subjects are being sidelined in the current education system. She believes that Ďa rounded education is needed for the next generation to ''think outside the box''í.

Todayís exam culture can lead to artistic expression being neglected in schools, and thatís detrimental to pupilsí personal development, she suggested. ĎYou have got to run, youíve got to play, youíve got to have fun and then the brain will engage,í ZoŽ emphasised.

Attending The Humansí UK press night

The day after the Children & the Arts event, ZoŽ was pictured in an eye-catching outfit at the UK opening night of Stephen Karamís family drama, The Humans.

The play has already won multiple Tony awards on Broadway and is now being staged at Hampstead Theatre, where ZoŽ was most recently seen in the London transfer of Stevie (2015).

With thanks to Janet for her help

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Whatís next for ZoŽ, plus news of Britannia, Love Hurts, 28 Tales for 28 Days and more

30 August 2018 01:08

Exciting projects in the pipeline

As if 2018 hasnít been exciting enough already for fans, thanks to ZoŽís major roles in The Birthday Party, Britannia and Girlfriends, several new projects are on the horizon.

First and foremost, ZoŽ has been cast in a major TV show Ė I should be able to speak more openly about it after an official announcement has been made by the broadcaster or production company. In addition, her schedule this autumn and winter is sprinkled with several significant charity projects (again, more details when everything is confirmed).

Britannia broadcast around the world

Skyís epic historical drama, starring ZoŽ as vengeful Queen Antedia, can justifiably be called a global phenomenon. As TV Wise points out, ĎSky Vision has now sold Britannia into more than 209 international territories.í

The highly anticipated second series will be broadcast next year.

Tessa and Frankís story continues in the US...

A reminder that the second season of ZoŽís classic comedy-drama Love Hurts, which also stars Adam Faith, has just been released in the US by Acorn TV.

To whet your appetite, hereís a trailer from 1993, when the season was originally shown. Tessa may be determined to steer clear of Ďproblem plumberí Frank, but fate seems equally determined to keep drawing her back into his path...

Love Hurts being broadcast in the US has even caught the attention of The New York Times. Its recent summary of the show includes an amusing nod to 90s fashion. ĎIf you like human-scale dramas, sweet love stories and pleated pants, try this,í the newspaper suggests!

The third Ė and final Ė series will be available to stream on Acorn TV from 24 September onwards.

Catch up with My Family and the Galapagos

Thereís still time (just!) for UK fans to catch up with Channel 4ís wonderful wildlife series, for which ZoŽ provides the voiceover. My Family and the Galapagos follows marine biologist Monty Halls, his wife Tamsyn and their two children as they explore this incredible group of islands and the challenges posed by environmental issues.

ĎItís all winningly narrated by ZoŽ Wanamaker, with a catch in her heart,í emphasised the Observer in its review.

The newspaperís praise for Zoe is echoed by Tamsyn Halls herself.

Another chance to see Ode to Joy

ZoŽ also lends her vocal talents to a brief but fascinating film, Ode to Joy (2014), about the life and career of talented, Watford-born animator Joy Batchelor.

If you missed its broadcast at Watford Film Festival earlier this month, youíll be pleased to hear that you can watch the film in its entirety online.

28 Tales is coming soon

28 Tales for 28 Days, the series of videos produced to call for a 28-day time limit on UK immigration detention, will be launched on YouTube on 11 September.

As recently reported here, ZoŽ will be seen reading one of the tales to highlight detaineesí experiences. 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.

This direct appeal from Zoe, filmed at the same time as 28 Tales, sheds more light on the projectís aims.

Supporting the Roar for Jess campaign

ZoŽ has joined numerous well-known figures in getting involved with the Roar for Jess campaign, which has been created to support a ten-year-old girl whoís been bravely battling neuroblastoma for much of her life.

Bid for ZoŽís artwork

Could you spot a drawing by ZoŽ among hundreds of others? Sheís submitted a postcard-sized artwork to Heart Research UKís charity fundraising auction, the Anonymous heART Project.

All of the artworks will be sold on eBay from 2-11 November. Good luck if you try to track down Zoeís and bid on it!

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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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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.
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