A morning shooting beauty tests with Emilia Fox. Enzo is doing the hair. He has been renamed the maestro. The pictures are great!
The RadioTimes have published a new interview with Emilia. You can read it right here:
How far have women come in the acting world? The Secrets stars discuss how the industry has changed
I often get asked if my family sits around the table talking about acting [Fox is the daughter of actors Joanna David and Edward Fox, her cousin is Lewis detective Lawrence Fox and her younger brother Freddie is also an actor]. Never! Yet it is like a family business where you know a language and you have seen the great highs – and also the great lows. My childhood was so far from glamorous. My parents really struggled to give me a great education at a certain cost to their own lives, so my rose-tinted spectacles were off. I didn’t want to act; I wanted to carve an independent path, to use my Oxford degree.
It was a coincidence of life. I normally waitressed in university holidays but I got asked to audition for Pride and Prejudice by a director who had worked with my mum and known me as a little girl. My next job was Rebecca – opposite Charles Dance, Diana Rigg and Faye Dunaway. My biggest worry was that people would say I got the part because mum had played Rebecca 20 years previously. In fact, they took my name off the audition so that I could never have accusations of nepotism thrown at me.
I look at my mum and I think she’s found it harder as an actress because there were fewer and fewer roles as women got older. Times have changed. Nor need women resign themselves to playing the ingénue or the love interest. I have been especially lucky because I’ve had Silent Witness, which has been such a strong female role.
Job description is not important to me; whatever anyone wants to call me as long as I’ve got work. It’s the same when people say, “Do you want to be called Millie or Emilia?” I don’t care!
My mum put her children before her career, which made things very difficult when she wanted to come back into the industry. I haven’t had to make that choice: I was able to work all the way through my pregnancy and I was back at work within three months doing Merlin and Silent Witness. I found it hard being away from Rose and so they encouraged me to bring her on set. She’s three now and very much part of the Silent Witness family.
Would I like Rose to follow in my footsteps? Judging by her performances at home, it’s almost inevitable! If she does want to, I will support her all the way, through the good times and the bad.
Below you can find a first photo from ‘Crackanory’ series 2 which starts on 24 September on the Uk channel Dave. Have a good weekend everyone!
Rik Mayall and David Mitchell are among the stars who feature in an exclusive picture from Crackanory series two.
The part live-action, part-animated Dave show sees celebrities narrating adult versions of bedtime stories in the style of the children’s classic Jackanory, which first came to TV screens in 1965.
Vic Reeves, Sue Perkins, Katherine Parkinson, Meera Syal, Warwick Davies, Ben Miller, Johnny Vegas, Ruby Wax, Emilia Fox and Simon Callow will also appear in the new series.
Late comic actor Mayall will appear reading The Weatherman by Tony Way, which will be screened on Wednesday, September 24 at 10pm.
Enjoy a first sneak peek from Emilia’s upcoming ‘The Secrets‘ episode:
Lexie visits her relationship counsellor in an attempt to uncover her partner’s secrets.
When Hollywood stars pop in for tea and your parents are always on the box, it’s no wonder the Silent Witness actress is not easily star-struck. So what DOES get her hot under the collar? Health and safety obsessives… and gardener Monty Don
What is your earliest memory?
I remember being given two canaries, Samson and Delilah, on my fourth birthday. Samson used to sing very loudly when the washing machine was on. Delilah used to lay eggs continuously and eventually died from overlaying. After her death, Samson never sang another note. That was my first introduction to true love.
What sort of child were you?
I was extremely quiet and shy. My godmother would always comment on how serious I looked as a baby. I just enjoyed observing other people and that habit intensified into adulthood when I became an actress. I didn’t think of it as an unusual childhood, but with my father [Edward Fox] and mother [Joanna David] both being actors, we’d often have famous people around for dinner. I distinctly remember Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston sitting in my living room when I was 11. Only later did I realise this wasn’t a normal family scenario.
What law would you change?
I’d introduce a law that would stop health and safety obsessives interfering with kids’ sports days. I’m sick of hearing that the egg and spoon race is too dangerous for children. What’s the worst that can happen? A kid might get a bit of eggshell in his eye. Big deal.
Who would your dream dinner date be?
The gardeners Monty Don and Andy Sturgeon. I’m mad about gardening. There are few things in life that make me as excited as growing sweet peas or watching my roses bloom. I could happily talk to these two men all night. My ambition is to be able to name every flower in England.
Which person do you most despise?
The person who burgled my parents’ home a few years ago. They took a lot of sentimental items that wouldn’t have meant much to them but meant the world to my mum and dad.
Who would you like to say sorry to?
Years ago I promised to open a donkey sanctuary in Derby but had to pull out at the last minute. I never even wrote a letter to apologise.
Who or what do you dream about?
My recurring dream involves following the white rabbit in Alice In Wonderland. I end up in a room where I’m looking for a jewel that turns out to be a bug, then I open the curtains where the white rabbit is hiding. At that point the room begins to spin and I run off to save a princess. It happens that way every time.
What’s your worst character trait?
I always insist on paying for everything. It comes from a simple urge to give pleasure to others.
Tell us a secret about yourself.
I’m incredibly superstitious. Seeing a single magpie can throw me into a panic as it is written that one’s for sorrow, two’s for joy. I’m constantly touching wood and trying to avoid walking under ladders. It can get very tiring inside my head.
What would you like to be better at?
I’m a hopeless cook. Until recently I could barely cope with an omelette.
What’s your most embarrassing moment?
Last Christmas I had to turn on the festive lights at a London hotel. I’d borrowed a beautiful, beaded dress for the occasion. As I was changing into the dress, the zip wouldn’t budge, which meant I could neither get into or out of it. My friend had to stand behind me all night to conceal the fact it was entirely open at the back.
What do you believe in?
In the 2011 film A Thousand Kisses Deep I played an alcoholic mother. My character was told by her doctor to enjoy what she had rather than have what she wants. That’s something to believe in.
Who do you most admire?
I’ve got a huge amount of admiration for my mum for overcoming all the difficulties she’s been through. After being diagnosed with Ménière’s disease, she suffered with anxiety and depression. She climbed a mountain to be in a position where she could return to the stage. She’s the bravest woman I know.
When were you last really happy?
Yesterday I went to a party for friends and family. We all ended up doing the hokey-cokey around the kitchen.
How would you like to be remembered?
If I was remembered as someone who was a good laugh to be around, I’d settle for that.
‘The Secrets’, with Emilia Fox, starts next Sunday at 10.40pm BBC1
Actress Emilia Fox on life after divorce, single motherhood, and why, at 40, she still hasn’t grown up
Emilia Fox is one of those actresses who everybody likes. You might like her because of her star turn as Dr Nikki Alexander in Silent Witness, or opposite Vic Reeves in Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased). Or she might appeal to you because she once tried to evict Hello! from her wedding. But she gets my vote because she turns up wearing 5in black patent peep-toe stripper shoes and with a scarlet pedicure. This is not just any bland blonde off the telly.
Fox has just turned 40 but has been in demand as an actress since she was a teenager. At first, there were the predictable gainsayers who said she was only cast because of who her parents were (actors Joanna David and Edward Fox) but you don’t carry on getting parts at 40 if you don’t know how to act. Ironic, then, that Fox isn’t sure that she can.
“Because I’ve been on Silent Witness people think I know what I’m doing,” she says, with her feet curled under her on a sofa at the BBC. “But I don’t feel like I know what I’m doing at all, ever. I never had the insurance policy of having been to drama school, so when I started working I watched all the other actors and learnt from them. People expect you to have total assurance and I’m, like, no, please, tell me what to do!” She never intended to become an actress. Instead, the way she tells it, she fell into acting because she was a rubbish waitress. Encouraged by her parents to work in her school holidays — she boarded at Bryanston, in Dorset, near where her parents still live — she had jobs everywhere from a health food shop to Hatchards bookshop and Café Rouge.
“I kept being demoted, from waitressing, to hostessing, then to being a glass-dryer, then to the loos and finally they asked me to leave. To this day I don’t know what I did wrong. How wrong can you go with waitressing? Apparently I talked to the customers too much. Then I went to The Engineer [a gastropub in Primrose Hill] and I was not great. I remember Tamsin Olivier, who owned it at the time, saying: ‘Do you think you should do something else in the holidays?’ That was when I got asked to audition for Pride and PreJudice.”
So in 1995, a washed-up waitress, Fox was cast opposite Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle in the iconic wet-shirt TV version of Jane Austen’s classic. She cringes now at how bad she imagines she was but at the time she contemplated dropping out of Oxford, where she was reading English, to act full time.
“Mum and dad said do not drop out of your degree, you will never get that time again. I was a bit tempted, yeah. I thought ‘Ooh, how exciting, acting.’ But then I got [a part in the TV miniseries] Rebecca when I was doing my finals, which meant I didn’t have to choose what career path to take, or worry about which area of journalism I wanted to go to. Instead, I was like ‘Woohoo, I’ve got a job!’ ” Fox grew up with her brother, Freddie, and an extended family of actors: cousin Laurence Fox, uncles Robert and James Fox. She was on Who Do You Think You Are? in 2011 and discovered that her family were artistic, theatrical types as far back as her great-great-grandfather, but is having none of the “actor gene” theory. “When people say, ‘Do you think it’s in your blood?’ I’m like: ‘Don’t be ridiculous.’ ” What did her parents make of her becoming an actress? “I think it can be every parent’s worst nightmare to have their child say they want to go into acting, particularly for my parents who had seen the ups and downs of it. They certainly weren’t celebrating but they didn’t deter me from doing it, and that’s what I would say to any young actor: if you’re really passionate about it, do it, but be aware of the fact that it’s a gamble with your life.”
It’s a gamble that, for Fox, has paid off.
She has had a regular job for a decade on Silent Witness, and slots in other projects — plays, films, other TV work — in between. She is about to be on our screens in The Secrets, one of five new works commissioned by first-time playwrights by the BBC. Fox was drawn to the role because she had worked with the director Dominic Savage before. She plays a relationship counsellor opposite Downton Abbey’s Joanne Froggatt and Ben Chaplin. It’s an intense half-hour, with terrific performances by all three. “It’s about family,” says Fox, “and what’s important to a family, and certainly to a woman with a child. I felt strongly that I could relate to that.”
The Secrets could also be proof that not all the best roles don’t go to younger women. “I hope we’re just coming into our own at 40. I really hope people write lots of roles for people of my age.”
While her career has been steady, her romantic life has been anything but. In 2005 she married fellow actor Jared Harris, but it ended after five years. It was at her wedding to him that, to her mortification, Hello! turned up, although she and her parents had turned down their offer of coverage. They let them take pictures anyway, because they feared that to throw them out would have caused more of a scene, and the magazine duly printed pictures with a disclaimer, saying the newlyweds had received no fee and did not endorse the feature or its photographs.
In 2010 she married Jeremy Gilley, a film-maker and peace activist. The marriage lasted a year and left her a single mothe r to Rose, now three. Since 2012 she has been in an on-off relationship with the chef Marco Pierre White. They were pictured in March with their arms wrapped round each other. Are they back together? She squirms.
“It’s my absolute sort of … area … that I … um … have a complete uncomfortability [sic] talking about. I never think anyone can be that interested.”
Is dating more difficult with a child? “Rose comes first and foremost in every area of life. Everything is considered around her.”
She lives alone with her daughter in Acton, west London, where she cultivates a cottage garden filled with roses, lavender and herbs and has conversations on Twitter about when to plant out her morning glories. It sounds idyllic, but life hasn’t panned out quite how she thought.
“Whose life does?” she counters. “Listen, I’m a die-hard romantic, I watch Disney films with Rose and I see what happens at a young age: you’re brainwashed into thinking this is what life should be, and I’m right there with it. I’m Disney all the way.”
So when she grows up she’s going to be a Disney princess? “Exactly. When I grow up. I’m still growing up.”
Rose sees her father regularly and Fox seems content.
“The ideal way is for a family to be together. I’ve tried to put a positive spin on the situation, which didn’t start off in an ideal way at all. Being together as parents is the ideal, but I’m lucky because Jeremy and I have found a good way of parenting together, one that that works for us and works for Rose. When Rose goes to her dad she has the best time and I try to tidy up my life. Nothing in my life has been either planned or achieved in a way I would expect, but I’m sort of happy to go along with it.”
Fox has always seemed to be a homebody, not the type pictured stumbling out of Mahiki at two o’clock in the morning. She says that lifestyle never appealed, mainly because she’s always had to get up and go to work in the morning.
“I have a work ethic and I wouldn’t want to jeopardise that. That lifestyle doesn’t jeopardise everyone’s work, but I’m sure it would have done mine. I wouldn’t have got away with it.” Acting is an unlikely profession for people who like to go to work every morning. She admits to feeling insecure and says that she would have loved a desk job. “I’m a grafter. I love routine.” And, refreshingly, while most actresses say they yearn to play Ophelia, or Lady Macbeth, Fox is having none of it.
“That is not my dream,” she says firmly.
“I remember doing Richard II and Coriolanus with Ralph [Fiennes]. He seemed to love it, and he was brilliant at it, but I just don’t think I’m very good at it. I would cast other people in Shakespeare before me. I’m better at other things.”
For the legions of fans of her work, it’s lucky that waitressing isn’t one of them. The Secrets starts on September 7 on BBC 1, 10.40pm
Emilia Fox’s perfect weekend
TV or theatre? One night of each
Taxi or Tube? Tube for punctuality, taxis for luxury
Late night or early riser? Early riser
Opera or soap opera? Both. If we’re doing a night shoot on Silent Witness we watch EastEnders. The acting is really, really good
Cooking or being cooked for? My cooking is limited. It sounds terribly spoilt, but cooked for
Sand or snow? Snow at home, sand abroad
Schubert or the Smiths? Both
Harrods or John Lewis? I have a three-year-old, so John Lewis
Telephone or Twitter? Telephone
Green tea or caramel frappuccino? Neither
I couldn’t get through the weekend without … roses of some form or another
Thanks Catherine for emailing me
Joanne Froggatt was interviewed on BBC’s ‘The Secrets‘ set recently. Below you can read what she said about how she felt about working with Emilia:
What was the atmosphere like on set?
It was great. It was so lovely working with Dominic, and Ben and Emilia were amazing. We had a really lovely time on that job. The first day of any job is a bit nerve-wracking, but when you’re working in an ever evolving way it’s more nerve-wracking, but it’s more rewarding. And I’m sure Ben and Emilia feel the same, that we all got a lot out of it, and I really enjoyed working with both of them. Ben and Emilia had worked together before quite a few times, and I’d worked with Emilia years ago so there was a connection between us anyway which was really nice.