Shadow and Bone

Zoë plays Baghra, a stern teacher, in this major new fantasy series based on Leigh Bardugo’s bestselling Grishaverse novels. Series one and two are streaming now on Netflix.

The Cleaner

Zoë guest stars in an episode in the second series of BBC One's black comedy about a crime scene cleaner, called 'The Statue', which is available on the BBC iPlayer.

Black Ops

Zoë guest stars in BBC One's six-part comedy thriller about two Police Community Support Officers working undercover. Begins 5 May, BBC One, 9:30pm.

Criminal Record

Zoë plays the mother of a young detective reinvestigating an old murder case in this crime drama series for Apple TV+. Filming began in summer 2022.

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Pictures from Home, Shadow and Bone, and The Cleaner give us so much to enjoy!

15 March 2023 16:37

Zoë is wowing audiences on Broadway, will soon be seen by millions on Netflix, and is one of Ben Barnes' favourite people.

As you can tell from the headline, this is an incredibly exciting time for Zoë Wanamaker fans around the world. In fact, it's brought me out of a lengthy website-related hibernation.

I don't like to talk about myself on here much; the site is about Zoë's wonderful work, not boring old me. But it's worth mentioning that the reason I took a step back is because I was experiencing quite a lot of pain (in mind and body) for various non-website-related reasons, plus there were some site-related technical problems. The fact I can’t travel to the US to watch Zoë give an amazing performance on Broadway is also painful.

But there's so much happening at the moment, and I'm full of enthusiasm and keen to bring you the latest news about it all. So let's dive in...

Pictures from Home dazzles on Broadway

In this lovely little video, Zoë offers insights into her role in Pictures from Home, the beautiful Broadway production delighting audiences at Studio 54 theatre in New York. I also love the videos below celebrating some of her previous career highlights.

Written by Sharr White and directed by Bartlett Sher, Pictures from Home is based on the 1992 photo memoir of the same name by Larry Sultan, an American photographer. During the 1980s and early 90s, Sultan photographed and interviewed his parents for the book. The New York Times points out that he did so 'in the belief, as he readily admitted, that by learning more about them, and especially his father, he would resolve unanswered questions about himself'.

At the time of writing, the Pictures from Home trailer has already been viewed a staggering 67,000 times on YouTube.

Zoë plays Sultan's mum, Jean; Nathan Lane plays his father, Irving; Danny Burstein takes on the role of Larry. So you have a three-hander; an intimate memory play set in the parents' California living room. It encompasses humour and drama and runs for 105 minutes straight without an interval.

Here's a (rather compelling) taster...

The show's glittering opening night took place on 9 February and looks like it was thoroughly enjoyable.

If you keep an eye on Pictures from Home's Instagram stories, you’ll see the cast regularly receiving standing ovations. The show clearly packs an emotional punch. In the words of one audience member, Lisa Goldenberg Corn, writing on Instagram: 'I had so many thoughts while watching this play last night I am going to have to post about it. Was reaching right inside me.' Reviewers are calling Zoë's performance 'superb' and 'heartfelt'.

Broadway World has some excellent Pictures from Home production photos, as well as photos of none other than Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi meeting the cast. The cast were photographed for the New York Times recently, and the artist John Knaus drew fantastic portraits of them in character.

Pictures from Home is booking until 30 April 2023, and the fab new video below has been produced to encourage theatregoers not to miss their chance to see this brilliant show. You can buy tickets via the show's website.

Huge thanks to Zoë for her help.

Shadow and Bone makes an epic return!

From 16 March on Netflix, you'll be able to journey back to the Grishaverse for season two of epic fantasy drama Shadow and Bone.

In the trailer, Zoë's Baghra gives her former pupil, Alina (played by Jessie Mei Li), crucial advice about how to defeat The Darkling (Ben Barnes). Everything is at stake.

And if you need a season one re-cap, Netflix has got you covered.

Barnes recently took part in a Shadow and Bone Q&A on Reddit. Asked about working with Zoë, he said very endearingly that he 'love[s] her to the moon'.

Guest role in The Cleaner season two

We also have a start date – and trailer! – for the second season of witty black comedy The Cleaner. Catch it on 24 March (9:30 pm, BBC One).

As reported last autumn, Zoë is part of a brilliant line-up of guest stars who each appear in one episode alongside crime scene cleaner Wicky (played by Greg Davies).

It's not clear yet how far into the run Zoë's episode will be, so we'll just have to pay attention to The Cleaner's TV schedule.

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Pictures from Home on Broadway

27 October 2022 02:30

Excellent news for US fans: Zoë will star in Pictures from Home, a new play, on Broadway in early 2023.

You know I normally take a lot of care and pride in writing in detail about Zoe's projects. Unfortunately, I'm currently just too depressed to do so.

Instead, you'll find links below to two websites where you'll find all the info you need.

Pictures from Home official website

Playbill news announcement about the play

Thank you for your understanding.

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Zoë's new TV projects: The Cleaner and Criminal Record

5 October 2022 21:42

Zoë is filming not one but two fantastic TV shows. They both share a theme - grisly crimes - but spin off in radically different directions from that starting point.

The Cleaner on BBC One

The Cleaner sees Zoë making a welcome return to comedy - black comedy, to be precise. She's the guest star in an episode from the BBC One show's second series, which is currently in production. The Cleaner revolves around Paul "Wicky" Wickstead, played by Greg Davies, who also co-writes the episodes.

Wicky has an unenviable job cleaning up crime scenes. His work brings him into contact with the people affected by murder and other grim events. In the best British tradition, the characters he meets are wonderfully eccentric; and somehow the straight-talking cleaner always manages to wind them up!

Each episode finds Wicky tasked with cleaning up a different crime scene and encountering a different guest star. The Daily Mail has photos of Zoë's episode being filmed in Buckinghamshire. Her character looks rather posh in a quilted jacket and kilt. And Zoë looks even more petite than usual standing beside Davies, who towers over most people at 6ft 8in tall.

The release date for The Cleaner series two hasn't been announced yet, but hopefully it won't be long before the show comes to our screens.

While we wait, why not catch up with another weird and wonderful comedy series starring Zoë? Originally broadcast in 1993, The Older Woman is currently being repeated on BBC Radio 4 Extra and available on BBC Sounds. Zoë plays a forthright English teacher, Miss Callaghan, who catches the eye of local journalist Roy Hitchcock (Martin Clunes). He's prone to flights of fancy - and just so happens to be one of her ex-pupils...

Criminal Record on Apple TV+

We can also look forward to watching Zoë work her acting magic in Criminal Record, a new eight-part drama series being produced for Apple TV+. The streaming service calls the show, which is written by Paul Rutman, a "powerful new London crime thriller". It adds that Criminal Record will tackle weighty subjects, including "issues of race, institutional failure, and the quest to find common ground in a polarised Britain". Filming for the show began in the city this summer.

Zoë's character, Maureen, is the mother of an up-and-coming detective, June Lenker (played by Cush Jumbo). Maureen is described in the Criminal Record press material as "anxious, loving and a constant voice in her daughter's ear" - so a kind-hearted character, perhaps with the potential to be a little interfering or clingy.

The show sees Maureen's daughter at loggerheads with a veteran detective, Daniel Hegarty, over an old murder case that led to a man named Errol Mathis being convicted of killing his partner. Mathis has since retracted his confession. Was the original investigation flawed?

I'm delighted to say there's a Constellations reunion on the cards here. Hegarty is played by Peter Capaldi, who acted opposite Zoë in Nick Payne's heart-warming, heart-breaking multiverse play seen in the West End last year. TV and film guide Looper says, "Wanamaker, in particular, is a fascinating name [in the cast], because she and Capaldi have acting history together."

No production photos or broadcast dates have been revealed yet, but the IMDB says Criminal Record is due for release in 2023.

Thanks to Janet and Sabrina for their help.

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20 years of zoewanamaker.com

29 July 2022 20:47

Can't quite believe I'm writing this, but on 30 July 2022 zoewanamaker.com, the official website for Zoë Wanamaker fans, turns 20. TWENTY! On the eve of that mind-bending milestone anniversary, I've come to sit in the same room where it all began all those years ago and do what I've been doing for more than half my life: update the site.

For a previous anniversary, I wrote about the history of this website; how it grew from a small project on Geocities (remember them?!) to a weightier endeavour with its very own domain name. Looking back, I'm surprised how much I found to say about the site's history - more than most people will have the patience to read, I'm sure! But feel free to dip in and out of the article if you're curious.

20 years of fans and friendships

My original plan for celebrating zoewanamaker.com's 20th anniversary was fairly light-hearted. I envisaged asking 20 fans what they most enjoyed about Zoë's work or what single word best summed it up. Sadly, I discovered that one of the fans whose opinions I was most keen to include here, and who wasn't much older than me (I'm in my 30s), had passed away in the spring. Suddenly, the idea of approaching 20 people didn't appeal anymore. I miss her - a kind, astonishingly talented soul - very much. I can feel the tears as I type.

Reflecting on her loss - the unfairness and sadness of it all - and the great impression she made on me, I realised what the website truly means. It's not simply a handy addition to my CV or a talking point in social situations. More than anything, it represents connection and friendship.

You see, the website was originally the product of not only my own work but also contributions here and there from several fans I knew in the early 2000s. Managing the site has brought me into contact with numerous other fans, some of which have become friends. I'm thinking of Janet, Karoline, Rachel, Harry, Bethan, Sally and Adam in particular (and apologies to anyone I've accidentally missed out). I'm also thinking, of course, of the friend I've lost.

Incredibly grateful to Zoë and her PA

The website is also the reason I've been fortunate enough to get to know Zoë's lovely PA, Vanessa, who has a really strong work ethic and is full of good sense. She is a fantastic friend and undoubtedly one of the best people to ask for advice about absolutely anything from the workings of the acting industry to how to stay positive in lockdown.

It's also thanks to the website that I've got to know Zoë and her husband, Gawn Grainger, a little. I won't claim to be their friend; I'm just a fan. But I think they're both witty, wonderful and wise - wise about the human soul and heart in a way that I believe only actors (who, of course, spend much of their time learning what makes people - and characters - tick) can be.

Huge thanks also to my mum, dad and brother for their support.

Keep on keeping on...

As the website embarks on its 20s, I find there's still so much I'd like to do with it (and so much that needs re-doing too!). So I'd better stop talking and get on with it!

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The Man Who Fell to Earth, Girlfriends, LFCC and more

29 July 2022 17:30

The Man Who Fell to Earth arrives in UK

Several weeks after The Man Who Fell to Earth premiered on Showtime in the US, it's been released in the UK. The incredible - and incredibly ambitious - sci-fi series, in which Zoë plays the enigmatic, quick-witted Watt, is available to stream on the new Paramount Plus service.

Revisit Love Hurts and Girlfriends

Talking of streaming, all three series of Love Hurts, the 90s BBC comedy-drama that made Zoë a household name, are now available on BritBox UK. All those photos on the streaming service's website bring back so many memories! She and co-star Adam Faith acted wonderfully together.

If you're a night owl, you can also revisit another fan favourite, ITV drama Girlfriends by the much-missed scriptwriter Kay Mellor, in which Zoe plays kind-hearted but put-upon Gail. It's being repeated in the wee small hours on Tuesdays (3 am, ITV1). If you're not up that late, you can catch up on the ITV Hub.

Pictured out and about in London

Zoë and her husband, Gawn Grainger, have been photographed enjoying some of the best entertainment London has to offer. They watched the tennis at Wimbledon on 28 June, then on 13 July were pictured arriving for the press night for musical Anything Goes, starring Kerry Ellis, Denis Lawson and Simon Callow, at the Barbican. The next day, Zoë was among the special guests at the press night for Jack Absolute Flies Again, a comedy starring Caroline Quentin at the National Theatre.

Meeting fans at LFCC

Countless more photos were taken of Zoë at the London Film and Comic Con on 9 July. Huge numbers of fans travelled to the vast Olympia events space, and I've been told the queues to meet her were particularly long.

You can see Zoë signing a Harry Potter poster on Instagram. My favourite autograph and photo of the day belong to Jenny Fassenfelt, an artist, photographer and Doctor Who fan who went to the trouble of drawing a portrait of Zoe as last human Lady Cassandra.

Thanks to Karoline for her help.

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