Hannah Waddingham recalls reason teacher told her she would ‘never work on screen’ | Ents & Arts News

Jan 17, 2024 | Uncategorized


Hannah Waddingham has said a drama teacher at her school told her she would “never work on screen because she looks like one side of her face has had a stroke”.

The British actress, who played Rebecca Welton in comedy series Ted Lasso, said the teacher’s comment gave her “a complex for years”.

Speaking on BBC Radio 2 podcast, Michelle Visage’s Rule Breakers, the 49-year-old theatre and TV actress said: “I had one drama teacher that said to the whole class ‘Oh Hannah will never work on screen because she looks like one side of her face has had a stroke’.

“And I thought, ‘I will do, I will do. Come hell or high water, I will work on screen’… and it gave me a complex for years”.

Waddingham won an Emmy in 2021 for her role in Ted Lasso, and included a shout-out to professional musical theatre performers in her acceptance speech.

“And this is why, in my Emmys speech, I made a point,” Waddingham said on the podcast.

“The one thing I said to myself, ‘If this weird moment comes and I get this award, and I get my foot in this door, I’m going to rip it off its hinges for musical theatre people or theatre people to follow’.”

Waddingham also opened up on some of her other issues at school, including how her headteacher discouraged her from pursuing a career in the arts and refused to give her a reference.

Britain's Prince William, second from right, Australian actress Cate Blanchett, right, British actress Hannah Waddingham, left, and U.S. actor Sterling K. Brown, second from left, pose on the green carpet for the 2023 Earthshot Prize Awards in in Singapore, Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2023. (AP Photo/Vincent Thian)
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Waddingham with Sterling K Brown, Prince William and Cate Blanchet at the 2023 Earthshot Prize Awards in Singapore

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“I remember saying to my headmistress… she said, ‘Oh, you’re bright enough to read drama’, and I said, ‘I don’t want to read drama I want to do drama,” Waddingham said.

“She refused to give me a reference.

“So I managed, thank God, to get a scholarship for the drama school I went to and I walked back in, put it on her desk and left the room without shutting the door.

“She [the headteacher] was always dismissive of me, because it wasn’t that I wasn’t academic, I knew what I wanted to do.

“So it annoyed her that I turned my back on my academia.

“So she would purposely put everyone else in the school plays and have me understudy just to punish me.”

Hannah Waddingham
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Waddingham hosted her own Christmas TV special last year

Waddingham has gone on to have an extensive career on stage and screen and is also a presenter, having co-hosted the Eurovision Song Contest in 2023.

The Emmy award winner also received the entertainer gong at the Glamour Women of the Year awards 2023 and fronted her own holiday special and musical event last year.

Waddingham also won the best supporting actress in a comedy series award at the Critics’ Choice Awards in 2022 for her performance in Ted Lasso.



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