Imelda Staunton Discusses Umbridge and Social Distancing on “The Graham Norton Show”
Since lockdown started in the United Kingdom, popular presenter Graham Norton has been conducting his celebrity interviews in his studio via video calls.
In the latest episode of The Graham Norton Show, which aired on BBC One in the UK on Friday, May 1, Norton got a chance to speak to Dolores Umbridge actress Imelda Staunton about her latest role in Apple TV’s new dramedy Trying.
Firstly, Norton read out a couple of tweets that draw connections between the ongoing coronavirus outbreak and Dolores Umbridge.
One of the tweets Norton read aloud was “If we followed Dolores Umbridge’s proclamations, nobody would get #coronavirus.”
This led to Norton asking if her horrid character brought in social distancing, with Staunton saying, “Yes, absolutely, she did, and all for the better, I feel.”
Another tweet Norton read aloud stated that coronavirus is the Umbridge of the world right now, which Staunton was a little surprised about.
“Oh gosh, okay, okay, I’m going to keep a low profile on that,” the actress joked before being asked by Norton whether being known for playing Umbridge has helped with social distancing and keeping people away while at supermarkets. “[People] absolutely [scatter out of my way] anyway,” Staunton replied jokingly, “so I’ve never touched anyone in the street while I’ve been walking around.”
She then clarified that when people do recognize her for playing the role of Umbridge and ask her who she is, she says, “Step away, step away.”
Potter fans will know that Staunton appeared alongside Dame Maggie Smith (Professor McGonagall) last year when Downton Abbey hit the big screen. Norton jokingly asked Staunton whether or not her husband, Jim Carter (who was popular for his recurring role as the head butler in Downton Abbey), was serving her during the lockdown. Staunton made out this wasn’t the case when Carter appeared on-screen offering her a beverage.
Also during the interview, Norton asked Staunton about her role in new dramedy Trying, where she plays a social worker trying to help a couple adopt a child. Staunton describes her character as “quirky” while also commenting on how weird it was to act alongside Rafe Spall when she went to drama school with his father, Timothy Spall, whom Potter fans know as Peter Pettigrew.
You can watch Trying on Apple TV right now, and you can also expect to see Staunton on our screens a lot more when she takes over the role of the Queen in the final season of Netflix’s popular historical drama The Crown, which is expected to air next year.
Later in the episode, Norton spoke to popular British-American documentary maker Louis Theroux about his new podcast, Grounded with Louis Theroux, and their shared love of Helena Bonham Carter (Bellatrix Lestrange).
Revealing that he’d just wrapped up recording an episode of his podcast with Bonham Carter, Theroux relayed a question from her to Norton in which she wanted to know whether he was still singing. This led Norton to reveal that Bonham Carter had sent him a type of drink that helps with singing, mysteriously called “witches’ brew.” However, Norton jokingly revealed that he didn’t drink it because he doesn’t trust her. Theroux agreed after pointing out that Bonham Carter has wizarding powers because of her popular incarnation of Bellatrix in Harry Potter.
Currently, there is no air date for Theroux’s discussion with Bonham Carter on his podcast. You can keep an eye out for the episode on the podcast’s official website.
What would you do if you saw Umbridge out on the streets? Or received a package of “witches’ brew” from Bonham Carter? Let us know in the comments below.