Johanna Konta: “Some people are British by chance – I’m British by choice.”

“I’ve never felt like I’ve had to carry a nation’s hopes on my shoulders,” says Johanna Konta, of going into this year’s Wimbledon tournament as Britain’s top seed. “I’ve always said I play because I love to play, and to entertain people. I look on it as more of an honour. I feel very privilegedContinue reading “Johanna Konta: “Some people are British by chance – I’m British by choice.””

Stephen Mangan: “What is comedy? It’s laughing at someone else’s pain.”

As an actor, and now as a writer, Stephen Mangan instinctively finds himself drawn to projects that dig deep into human pain – and the more jokes, the merrier. “I’ve always believed that comedy is a fantastic way to deal with the most profound and difficult of emotions,” Stephen tells Weekend over Zoom. “That’s sort of whatContinue reading “Stephen Mangan: “What is comedy? It’s laughing at someone else’s pain.””

Tom Jones: “Last year was a bloody wake-up call. Without an audience, I can’t do anything.”

Five years ago, Sir Tom Jones wondered if he would ever sing again. His wife Linda – the childhood sweetheart he’d married when they were both 16 – was dying of lung cancer, and wanted to know what her husband was going to do next. “I said, ‘I don’t think I can sing – theContinue reading “Tom Jones: “Last year was a bloody wake-up call. Without an audience, I can’t do anything.””

Don’t leave me this way: the Reverend Richard Coles on the madness of grief

“The thing about grief,” says the Reverend Richard Coles, “is that we think there are ways of doing it, and there aren’t. You don’t do grief, it does you. You just have to let it work its way through you.” In 2020, Richard had plenty of time to let grief work its way through him,Continue reading “Don’t leave me this way: the Reverend Richard Coles on the madness of grief”

Jed Mercurio: “Our cast know that no-one in Line of Duty is safe…”

In the course of his eclectic and intimidatingly high-achieving career, Jed Mercurio has gone from being a doctor and an RAF pilot to arguably the most successful and powerful writer-producer in British television. And he owes it all to an episode of Blockbusters. “When I was in the lower sixth, there was a kid onContinue reading “Jed Mercurio: “Our cast know that no-one in Line of Duty is safe…””

Anna Friel: “I had to learn to be a tough cookie. I don’t take any nonsense.”

Anna Friel is wearing a jumper with the word HAPPY emblazoned across it in large, bright letters. Which feels like a bold statement from an actress whose recent successes have largely come from mining the depths of human misery. “I don’t know why I seem to be attracted to those parts, or those parts areContinue reading “Anna Friel: “I had to learn to be a tough cookie. I don’t take any nonsense.””

Russell T Davies: “The way I write is like life – sad one minute and sunny the next, and not a hair’s breadth between the two.”

When Russell T Davies wrote It’s A Sin – his new Channel 4/HBO drama about the 1980s AIDS crisis, which might just be the best work he’s ever done – he didn’t expect to be premiering it during a global pandemic. “We shot this before lockdown,” Russell tells Weekend over a Zoom call. “This drama in whichContinue reading “Russell T Davies: “The way I write is like life – sad one minute and sunny the next, and not a hair’s breadth between the two.””

Away

Netflix With planet Earth not exactly enjoying a vintage year, Away – in which Hilary Swank’s NASA astronaut blasts off on a three-year mission to Mars – ought to feel like a timely proposition. So it’s a shame that Netflix’s big-budget drama struggles to achieve escape velocity. Swank plays Emma Green, an ex-Navy pilot tasked with commandingContinue reading “Away”

All Creatures Great & Small

Channel 5 / My5 Channel 5 may seem an unlikely home for a reboot of one of the BBC’s most beloved dramas but, having recently given us The Yorkshire Steam Railway, Our Yorkshire Farm, Made in Yorkshire and, tellingly, The Yorkshire Vet, it was probably only a matter of time until James Herriot popped up over a dry-stone wall. OfContinue reading “All Creatures Great & Small”