Girlfriends

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).

Britannia

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.

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Great insights into ZoŽ's character in ITV drama Girlfriends

14 May 2017 03:09

Writer Kay Mellor's production company, Rollem, which is set to film Girlfriends, her new ITV drama, has shared some great insights into ZoŽ's character in the series on its website:

'Gail [...] has received her decree nisi from second husband Dave. She has six weeks and a day to win him back before the divorce becomes absolute, but can Gail switch focus from wayward son Tom and grandson Ben to concentrate on saving her marriage? Particularly as Tom is newly released from prison, tagged, and needs her help getting his life back on track.'

Will Gail succeed in rescuing her marriage or find herself putting her troubled family's needs before her own?

It'll be fantastic to see ZoŽ tackling this emotive storyline when Girlfriends is broadcast next year.

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Wishing ZoŽ a wonderful birthday

13 May 2017 01:21

Wishing this very special actress a very special happy birthday and many happy returns!

If you have a birthday message for ZoŽ, feel free to email it to me at liz@zoewanamaker.com, and I'll ensure it's passed on.

With Britannia, Inside Number 9 and the newly announced Girlfriends coming to TV, plus a theatre production on the horizon, the next twelve months look set to be a particularly exciting time for ZoŽ and everyone who enjoys her work.

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ZoŽ to star in Kay Mellor's 'exciting new series' Girlfriends for ITV

11 May 2017 16:47

Details of the new drama mentioned in ZoŽ's recent interview with the Sunday Telegraph have now been revealed. According to the ITV Press Centre, ZoŽ will star in six-part series Girlfriends alongside Miranda Richardson and Phyllis Logan.

Written by the hugely successful Kay Mellor, Girlfriends will see ZoŽ play Gail, one of a trio of childhood friends dealing with a tragic death while 'struggl[ing] with the responsibilities that come with being a modern woman of a certain age'.

Speaking about Girlfriends, ZoŽ says, 'I'm looking forward to working on this exciting new series with such a stellar cast. I have long been a fan of Kay's work and am relishing the opportunity to work alongside Miranda and Phyllis.'

As Mellor emphasises, the programme aims to give 'women of a certain age who feel like they are invisible and unheard [...] a voice' while treating viewers to 'a big, bold, dark story [...] shot through with humour'.

It sounds fantastic, and I'm thrilled that ZoŽ will be working again with Richardson after their brilliant performances in the quirky campsite comedy-drama Ball Trap on the CŰte Sauvage (1989).

Girlfriends will begin filming in June and air on TV in 2018.

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ZoŽ's 'lovely' portrayal of Joan Littlewood is among Babs' highlights

8 May 2017 20:25

ZoŽ's portrayal of visionary director Joan Littlewood in Babs, which was broadcast last night on BBC One, is being praised in the press and by TV viewers. She gave 'a lovely chain-smoking performance,' writes the Guardian enthusiastically in a review describing the Barbara Windsor biopic as a 'heartwarming' 90-minute drama.

Despite mistaking Littlewood for a cleaner when arriving at a theatre in late 1950s London, the young Windsor dazzles the director with her raw talent. 'Where have you been all my life?' Littlewood wonders during the particularly memorable audition scene. Babs made clear that although Windsor didn't always see eye to eye with her mentor, who favoured an unusual, experimental approach to rehearsing and staging plays, the director's mixture of encouragement and tough love helped the starlet to shine.

'No line in [Tony] Jordan's beautifully constructed script had more resonance than Littlewood's harsh advice [to Windsor] concerning the Carry On films: ''If you do it, all you'll ever be is the sexy little blonde,''' the Telegraph points out in its favourable review.

Littlewood is described by Windsor's agent in Babs as 'the most innovative theatre director this country's ever seen'. Appropriately enough, the programme itself is also highly original. It plays with our sense of time and place, as if an elaborate dream is unfolding. While that theatrical style wasn't to everyone's taste, I thought it worked wonderfully well. Babs' originality, as well as ZoŽ's delightful, nuanced performance, impressed many other viewers too, perhaps most notably the actor Larry Lamb (Windsor's former EastEnders co-star) and charity Tree Aid, of which ZoŽ has long been a patron.

Entertaining and moving, Babs is currently available to pre-order on Region 2 DVD before being released on 15 May. For roughly the next four weeks, you can also watch the programme online via the BBC iPlayer.

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ZoŽ discusses playing 'phenomenal' Joan Littlewood and is praised by her co-stars in the BBC's Babs

7 May 2017 18:57

Ahead of the TV broadcast of Babs tonight, the Sunday Telegraph has published a fascinating interview with ZoŽ in which she discusses pioneering director Joan Littlewood, the 'phenomenal creature' she portrays in the BBC's Barbara Windsor biopic. 'She had energy, a strength of passion and a social commitment which, I don't think, exists much in theatre anymore,' ZoŽ emphasises.

Littlewood's commitment to showcasing the talents of performers from working-class backgrounds 'gave people like Barbara Windsor a voice,' she adds, 'and of course that changed film and television forever', as Babs will demonstrate.

ZoŽ points out that her father, Sam Wanamaker, was a great admirer of Littlewood's work. She calls Shakespeare's Globe 'a people's palace' in the spirit of the arts venue Littlewood and her Theatre Workshop revitalised, Theatre Royal Stratford East.

ZoŽ's enthusiasm for Littlewood is clear, and she's received plenty of praise herself from her co-stars in Babs. Jaime Winstone, who plays Windsor as a young woman on the cusp of stardom, told the BBC how much she enjoyed working with her. 'ZoŽ is just the real deal. You know when you're working with a great, and she was so lovely and just stepped into the shoes of Joan Littlewood, who she was playing. As a lot of it was shot in a theatre on stage, we sort of slipped into this method acting. It was brilliant. She is really powerful, ZoŽ. She has a real presence and you just end up staring at her and, really interestingly, I do believe that she just became Joan.'

In addition, Daniel Ben Zenou, who appears in Babs as composer Lionel Bart, posted these kind words on Twitter with a great photo taken during filming.

Babs will be shown on BBC One tonight at 8pm. And excitingly, ZoŽ has more new projects for us to look forward to, as the Telegraph interview reveals. One is a drama for ITV and the other is, in ZoŽ's words, a 'dangerous and challenging' play.

Many thanks to Janet for her help

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