Barbra Streisand: “I believe in the power of the self to transcend matter.”

Barbra Streisand has been writing her autobiography for eight years now – a bit of a chore, it turns out, when the last thing you want to think about is your own past. “I bore myself,” says the 79-year-old, cheerfully, those trademark Brooklyn vowels as reassuringly strong as ever. “That’s why I have a researcher,Continue reading “Barbra Streisand: “I believe in the power of the self to transcend matter.””

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.””

Isa Guha: “I feel a responsibility to the game that’s given so much to me.”

When Isa Guha made her England cricket debut aged 17, she had no idea she was also making history. “It never crossed my mind,” says the celebrated pace bowler of becoming the first British Asian woman to represent her country in any sport. “It’s only later I actually discovered why it was a big deal.Continue reading “Isa Guha: “I feel a responsibility to the game that’s given so much to me.””

Lily Cole: “It’s very hard to have ideals and fully live up to them. But that doesn’t mean ideals aren’t important.”

In 2010, Lily Cole received two invitations in the space of a week. One was to take part in a fashion show – the sort of high-profile catwalk parade that had helped make the then 22-year-old one of the most famous models in the world, with a multi-million pound fortune to match. The other wasContinue reading “Lily Cole: “It’s very hard to have ideals and fully live up to them. But that doesn’t mean ideals aren’t important.””