Hannah Waddingham reveals how emotional Christmas special is a ‘love letter’ to her mum and daughter

Virgin Radio

24 Nov 2023, 12:42

(L-R) Chris Evans, Hannah Waddingham, Vassos Alexander

Credit: Getty / Virgin Radio

Hannah Waddingham’s new Christmas special for Apple TV+ is a rather personal one for the Ted Lasso star. 

The one-off special, called Hannah Waddingham: Home for Christmas, is out on Apple TV+ now and sees the multi-talented star perform with the English National Opera, the London Gay Men’s Chorus, an 18-piece band and The Fabulous Lounge Swingers. She also shares some Christmas anecdotes in the hour-long show.

The glistening special takes place at The Coliseum in London, and during a stop by The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with cinch, Hannah revealed why that venue in particular was the only choice for such a special show. 

“It’s my love letter to the English National Opera, and my mum and my daughter,” the Olivier Award-nominated actress explained. Hannah’s mother is Melodie Kelly, an opera singer who was part of the ENO and performed at the Coliseum when Hannah was only a child. Now, at the same age her mother was at the time, Hannah’s daughter got to experience the very same thing. 

“I used to just go and sit in this tiny little box,” the Game of Throne actress added. "That was like my little kind of nanny pen. I would stay in there all the time, like every conceivable holiday half term, some evenings because they couldn't afford childcare. I would just be sitting there not realising all this amazing music, these amazing artists of the time. 

“Apple TV said, ‘where do you want it?’, and I said it has to be there because that's my second home. I had my mum, bless her, she's heavily afflicted with Parkinson's, but she made it because she's a blooming Trojan. She made it in her wheelchair and sat at the back of the theatre and her ENO chorus came and sang with me.”

Ted Lasso fans are in for a real treat, as Hannah’s co-stars Phil Dunster (Jamie Tartt) Brendan Hunt (Coach Beard), James Lance (Trent Crimm), Nick Mohammed (Nate Shelley), Kola Bokinni (Isaac McAdoo) and Billy Harris (Colin Hughes) all manage to make it in for a wholesome rendition of The Man with the Bag. 

“I'm a total team player and pack animal,” Hannah continued. "I just had to have everybody that I love in that room celebrating this moment that they've got me to, as well. Also on stage, I needed to make sure that everyone that was there really had the chops live, there's not one note that's tweaked, added to, nothing, we recorded nothing.”

Being in the musical world from a young age clearly had an impact on the Eurovision host, who admitted that she “doesn’t remember ever wanting to do anything else.”

She elaborated: “I don't actually remember when I started singing at all. It might have been just like harmonising with my mum and my brother and he let it go by the wayside because he would just think it was not him. I suppose 1998, in a thing called Saucy Jack and the Space Vixens at the Queen's Theatre on Shaftesbury Avenue. I walked into that space and got to know the crew and I was like, this is my tribe.”

Hannah Waddingham: Home for Christmas is available to stream on Apple TV+ now. 

For more great interviews listen to  The Chris Evans Breakfast Show with cinch weekdays from 6:30am on Virgin Radio, or catch up on-demand here.