phone mail2 facebook twitter play whatsapp
An Interview with Miranda Richardson

An Interview with Miranda Richardson

5 August 2017 |

She’s an Academy Award-nominee whose CV bears the names of some of Britain’s best loved shows, but for Miranda Richardson it all started at Bristol’s Old Vic Theatre School, as Culture Calling investigates.

With a career that spans over three decades on stage and screen, there could be a whole number of roles for which Miranda Richardson is recognised on the street. But one character in particular has clearly left a lasting impression on the British public – and not least because it came about in one of the most well-loved comedy series in the nation’s history, the brilliant Rowan Atkinson-fronted Blackadder.
 
“Easily Queenie over all else, which is a fascinating exercise in its own way,” laughs the 59-year-old when recounting her most famous on-screen creation. “It's 30 years since we first worked on that and still, the legacy ever remains. It taught me that television offers a personal ownership, far more extending than film for the individual. We own these characters so much more, and you're sort of seen that way by that audience, no matter what else you do, I find it extraordinary.”
 
While Richardson may be recognised for her riotous interpretation of Queen Elizabeth, she’s no stranger to the silver screen either. Academy Award-nominated turns in 1992’s Damage and 1994’s Tom & Viv add a certain sheen to her packed CV, and a recurring role as the capricious Rita Skeeter in two Harry Potter films showcase her franchise potential. In spite of such a varied résumé, Richardson is never one to rest on her laurels.
 
“I'm probably in a state of panic about it, always gently there,” she smiles. “Apparently we're all meant to be planners in this job. Rubbish! You can't. You can try but you'll fail. Maybe you can, I certainly never saw it that way. I like doing different things, I like keeping it exciting and new.”


 
This artistic adaptability, Richardson says, is a lasting impression of her dramatic education at Bristol’s Old Vic Theatre School, where her fellow classmates included Judge John Deed’s Jenny Seagrove and recently retired Hollywood legend Daniel Day-Lewis.
 
“Much of that has to do with my rather workmanlike training at Bristol, sort of this instilled 'where do you want me, what do you want me to do? I can do it all.'” Richardson agrees. “Rather than, 'this is what I want to do and what I should be doing.' I never possessed that mind set. Yes, it's important to work on things that capture my interest but paying the bills and the mortgage, that's a priority too.”
 
Yet another important part of Richardson’s career is the veritable pantheon of acting greats – from a young Christian Bale to Sam Neill and Brian Cox – with whom the star has taken to the screen alongside.
 
“My remit has always been the people involved,” she agrees. “Good people who I can surround myself with and learn from. I like to be frightened by the work. I like to approach with trepidation, it fuels me. Once you're in it, it's the process that propels you, you leave behind those fears.


 
“My favourite line when asked about my career, is a great quote by a friend of mine who used to be a casting agent. She said, 'I don't believe there's any such thing as a career now - not now, not today. We're all trying everything, we're all doing everything and anything we can. Which makes it all far more, it grants a freedom that's liberating and panicking at the same time.”
 
The gradual erosion of traditional cinematic careers and the containing rise of ambitious TV to rival its silver screen counterparts – including Richardson’s latest project Churchill – is no bad thing. As a veteran of the industry, Richardson is very much a member of the cinematic cadre that prides performance over profit.
 
“Things are changing rapidly, there seems to be far more moving parts than before,” she agrees. “Hollywood is no longer the epicentre of the industry like it was and that can only be a good thing, it breeds diversity and it breeds a move away from the ludicrous trend of spending $700million on a film. Just that amount, my god, it's shocking.”
 
But what of a certain wizarding franchise that broke contemporary records with a series of increasingly blockbuster budgets?
 
Potter was different,” Richardson staunchly remarks. “Potter was a wonderful anomaly, in that there was pots of cash thrown at it, obscene amounts, but it always felt like an intimate production and you were always part of this small, caring family.”
 

Tell us what you think

You may also like

An Interview with Madeleine Peyroux

An Interview with Madeleine Peyroux

Now the proud curator of eight studio albums, singer Madeleine Peyroux has never forgotten her formative years busking on a Paris street corner. As she…

Best Summer Book Releases 2017

Best Summer Book Releases 2017

Summer holidays are when many of us catch up on our reading, but why not ditch the airport lounge lit this year and wade into…

An Interview with Jessica Ennis-Hill

An Interview with Jessica Ennis-Hill

After calling time on her career as one of Great Britain’s most successful Olympians, Jessica Ennis-Hill has turned her hand to the world of children’s fiction. As…

A Weekend Away in ... Manchester

A Weekend Away in ... Manchester

Your calendar is bare and there’s a whole weekend with nothing pencilled in – what to do? Why not travel up to Manchester? England’s northern capital is…

A Guide to the Dutch Season at the Brighton Fringe

A Guide to the Dutch Season at the Brighton Fringe

The very best of the Netherlands’ comedy, theatre and dance join the Brighton Fringe this year for the new ‘Dutch Season’. Fifteen of the most unique acts…

Top 5: Bristol Food Festivals

Top 5: Bristol Food Festivals

If you’re a foodie who wants to spend your summer celebrating all things scrumptious, Bristol is your go-to capital of cuisine. From burger bonanzas to Thai…

Top 5: Underground Clubs in Bristol

Top 5: Underground Clubs in Bristol

Bristol is renowned for its vibrant underground music scene with party-goers from far and wide flocking to the city to experience the high-calibre uniqueness of…

Barely Methodical Troupe Circus: An Interview with Director Ben Duke

Barely Methodical Troupe Circus: An Interview with Director Ben Duke

The Barely Methodical Troupe took the circus world by storm with their genre-defying debut Bromance, which took a fresh, freewheeling look at friendship and masculinity.…

A Journey of Self-Discovery: An Interview with Filmmaker Arshad Khan

A Journey of Self-Discovery: An Interview with Filmmaker Arshad Khan

A deeply personal documentary, ‘ABU’ traces filmmaker Arshad Khan’s journey as a gay man, an unwelcome immigrant and a Pakistani Muslim. 'ABU' - father in Urdu – is…

What to Do in Brighton on a Sunday

What to Do in Brighton on a Sunday

It’s Sunday, which means you have a whole day ahead of you before Monday rears its ugly head once again. Although we are all for kicking…

{ad_alt}

Most popular

Exhibitions to Look Forward to in 2017

Exhibitions to Look Forward to in 2017

We take a look at what will be gracing galleries in 2017.
Theatre to Look Forward to in 2017

Theatre to Look Forward to in 2017

We look forward to the best theatre, opera and ballet on offer this year.
On Record: An Interview with Sophie Willan

On Record: An Interview with Sophie Willan

We talk to Sophie Willan about her experiences of social care and mental health, and her sell out comedy show.
The Best Healthy-Eating Restaurants in Bristol

The Best Healthy-Eating Restaurants in Bristol

Keep to your new year's resolutions of healthy-eating while still enjoying eating out.
 How to Survive Blue Monday in Edinburgh

How to Survive Blue Monday in Edinburgh

Blue Monday, the most depressing day of the year, falls on 15 January this year. To cheer your day up try out one of these pick me ups.
Top 5 Roasts in Dover

Top 5 Roasts in Dover

It’s nearly that time of the week again! If you’re embarking on a little trip to Dover soon, make sure you visit one of these for a delicious Sunday roast.
Awards Season Films to see in 2018

Awards Season Films to see in 2018

You get the drinks, we'll get the popcorn.
Albums to Look Forward to in Early 2018

Albums to Look Forward to in Early 2018

Be up to date with the best music in 2018.
24 Hours in Birmingham

24 Hours in Birmingham

If you're headed to Birmingham, check out one of these hot spots for food, drink and culture.

Your inbox deserves a little culture!