Interview: Olivia Colman talks Flowers, Bond and more | Virgin Media
Interview: Olivia Colman talks Flowers, Bond and more

Interview: Olivia Colman talks Flowers, Bond and more



Any list of the finest actresses plying their trade in British film and television would undoubtedly feature Olivia Colman. She’s as adept at making us roar with laughter as weep endless, salty tears. Happily, for those of us who can’t get enough of her, she’s also just about the hardest-working woman in showbiz, and her regular appearances in films and TV series are almost always a sign of genuine quality.

She’s back in Channel 4’s new sitcom Flowers, playing Deborah, music teacher and matriarch of the deeply dysfunctional and wildly eccentric Flowers family. Husband Maurice (Julian Barratt, The Mighty Boosh) is a children’s author consumed by inner demons and dark secrets, there’s also the couple’s maladjusted 25-year-old twins, Donald (Daniel Rigby, Eric & Ernie) and Amy (Sophia Di Martino).

As you might expect, Colman is magnificent. We caught up with her ahead of the series launch, and more than ever, we *heart* the OC (as absolutely nobody calls her). Here’s why…

She’s seriously (and comically) versatile

Not many people win BAFTAs. Almost no one wins a BAFTA for both comedy and dramatic roles. But Olivia Colman achieved that in the same year – 2013 – winning BAFTAs for her roles in The Accused and Twenty Twelve. Whether she’s ruling the roost in The Night Manager, rolling around in a children’s ball pit for Peep Show, or expelling vast quantities of tears and snot in Broadchurch, she is gloriously game, and never afraid to place art over vanity.

And she made us want to give up beach holidays forever.

And she made us want to give up beach holidays forever.

She’s one of us!

She’s not immune to the odd moment of self-doubt. “Making Flowers, I hadn’t done comedy for a while, so I felt quite out of my comfort zone. I felt like I was doing an awful job, really hamming it up. I told [creator and director] Will Sharpe ‘If I’m doing a rubbish job, you’ve got to say’.”

She can’t quite be bothered to be 007

Thanks to her recent stint on BBC One’s The Night Manager, the whole world now wants her to be the next James Bond. Reckon she’d be up for it? “I’m very flattered, but I’d be a rubbish Bond! I wouldn’t be able to catch anybody if I had to chase them, and I don’t much fancy standing on top of a train, having a fight.” What about M? “M I’d happily take, but I think that role’s quite respectably filled by the wonderful Ralph Fiennes, so I think I’ve got a long wait.”

She’s got great taste

Because she’s so modest, her response to us calling her a national treasure was both immediate and immaculate: “Sarah Lancashire’s a national treasure. When I first saw her in Coronation Street, she was completely different from how she seems now. And that’s the whole point of acting. You’re meant to play different people. But watching her in Happy Valley, she’s just extraordinary. She is brilliant.”

From spies and murder to unrequited love and paperwork in Twenty Twelve.

From spies and murder to unrequited love and paperwork in Twenty Twelve.

She’s respected by even the loftiest of her peers

In her BAFTA acceptance speech for The Iron Lady, Meryl Streep singled out her “divinely gifted” co-star, Colman, who had played Carol Thatcher (complete with fake nose). The Meryl Streep. If Streep says you’re divinely gifted, you’re doing something right.

She will not bow to the pressures of Hollywood

“I eat a bit too much; my teeth aren’t perfect; I’ve got eye bags. I look like a normal woman – but in England no one minds that.”

Flowers is on daily from Monday 25th April at 10pm on Channel 4 (CH 104) and Channel 4 HD (CH 142). It’s also available after broadcast in All 4 in Catch Up TV

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