Georgia Tennant: ‘Staged Feels Like A Bit Of A Once In A Lifetime Thing’ – Interview
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Georgia Tennant: ‘Staged Feels Like A Bit Of A Once In A Lifetime Thing’ – Interview

Catch up with Staged on BBC iPlayer

British actor Georgia Tennant is ironically perhaps best known for playing herself. Initially filmed during the pandemic using video conferencing technology, Georgia stars in the BBC’s Staged opposite her husband, David Tennant, along with Michael Sheen and his partner Anna Lundberg, all playing fictionalised versions of themselves. Returning for a third series, for which Georgia also joins the producing team, we caught up with Georgia to chat all things Staged series three, and finding balance in an acting family.

Interview: Georgia Tennant On Staged Series 3

Georgia Tennant

Photography: Joseph Sinclair. Styling: Sarah Harrison. Hair: Chad Maxwell @ Stella Creative Artists. Makeup: Andriani Vasilou @ Stella Creative Artists.

Hi Georgia, how’s life going at the moment?

Good, thank you. Chaos, but good chaos.

Series three of Staged is about to come out – can you give us an elevator pitch for the show, and a bit of the backstory?

We’re out of lockdown. David and Michael still speak daily, but what was a comfort in the past is a chore in the present. When Simon sucks them into the chaos of a half-baked Christmas project, things cannonball out of control quickly; but Georgia is on hand to record the resultant mayhem from more behind-the-scenes than ever.

You’re also a producer on the show now – what has that been like?

Glorious. Phin Glynn and I have produced together before and have known each other since we were 12, so it comes easily and is such fun. The whole creative group is very small and therefore the experience has been intimate which is easier to handle. Too many cooks often spoil the…comedy?

What was filming like?

This time, we were allowed outside our boxes, so experiencing Staged in 3D was really special. Odd to have real people in front of you at times but, much like the whole pandemic experience, it felt like the next natural step in returning to our new normal. 

Any standout moments or funny stories from filming?

At one point, I had to work the sound which, in our Staged world, means holding an iPhone close to whomever is speaking but keep it out of shot. The scene involved David and Michael popping their heads up at a window, so the only place to hide with the ‘mic’ was on the floor below them both. They had to start out of shot so, before each take, I would be lying on the ground in a David and Michael pile on. I did take photos, obviously!

You’ve appeared in so many different shows on British TV (I remember you best from Merlin!) – what has been your favourite project to date?

I think to be honest, Staged has been the most important thing I’ve been involved in. Certainly the thing I’ve been most involved in. I have a screenshot on my phone of the message from Phin on day three of lockdown asking if he could call as he had an idea. From there, the whole thing happened very fast and with a very small group at its core. To go from that text to promoting the third season of a show on the BBC feels like a bit of a once in a lifetime thing. I’m hugely proud of it.

Any roles in the pipeline that you’re excited about? (If you’re allowed to tell us!)

Yes, hugely. But I have just had a text from my agent saying I am not allowed to talk about it!

Which character that you have played in the past do you relate to the most in your own life?

Georgia in Staged, unsurprisingly. Aside from that, probably Abigail Nixon from The Bill. I sort of grew up playing her, so it was hard to not let myself seep into that. She was much edgier than me though. I’ve yet to be arrested!

Who has been your favourite actor to work with in the past?

I think I have had the most fun with an actor called Jason Thorpe. We did a play together in the West End called What the Butler Saw by Joe Orton and I think I laughed more than I ever have before. He’s also a terrific actor and a thoroughly nice human. 

Which co-star did you learn the most from?

I did a play with Daniel Evans called Total Eclipse, and I remember being totally transfixed watching him every night. He has a stillness which is magic. I also learned a lot from working with Pippa Haywood on Fear, Stress and Anger. In terms of comedy, there are few that do it better.

What’s your dream role?

A kooky detective. I don’t care how she does it or who with or where, but she needs a long, sweeping mac, a funny sidekick and an unrelenting knack at solving all the crimes.

What’s something you’d like to do more of?

Pottery and travel.

Do you get to spend much time at home?

Yes, lots. When I am not acting, I work from home. I should probably get out more. 

Do you live in the town or the country? Which do you prefer?

Town but prefer the country.

What’s your interior design style?

Ever evolving. I love mid-century modern/deco at the moment. I live for wallpaper. 

What’s your relationship with social media like? 

I think it’s measured now. At the beginning, I didn’t know what I or anyone wanted from me and it. I feel like I gave a lot initially, and now I give what I want and when I want. I am really dedicated to making it a safe space for people who follow me, so I am not afraid to block, but I also make sure I follow or at least dip in on accounts of people who I know aren’t in my echo chamber. You learn nothing when you don’t listen, so I try to make an effort to do that. I prefer Instagram to Twitter which feels much more un-patrolled and less creative in its content. I will also always try to keep it funny!

How do you find balance in your personal and work lives, especially with David and Ty also in the industry?

I have been in the industry as long as I have been a mother, so the two work quite naturally for me. Or rather I’ve gotten used to balancing it. It is of course never easy. There is no right way of doing it and, just when you think you’ve mastered it, something happens to throw it all up in the air again. I think I just try my best on the understanding that I will mess it up eventually and then try something else.

Georgia Tennant

Photography: Joseph Sinclair (cropped). Styling: Sarah Harrison. Hair: Chad Maxwell @ Stella Creative Artists. Makeup: Andriani Vasilou @ Stella Creative Artists.

How do you motivate each other?

Talk about anything else other than work! And always be there to help with a self-tape.

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

An undercover forensic scientist. Which isn’t a job. I was just so bored of people assuming I would be an actor that I needed to say anything but. I was also a massive X-Files fan.

If you could give advice to your 15-year-old self, what would it be? 

Eat the bread. Break up with him. Don’t pierce your belly button because you’ll be pregnant in 12 months and end up with a funny scar. You are so pretty. But you are more clever. You are right: Take That aren’t cool. Make your bed – you’ll be grateful tonight.

How can we all live a little bit better?

Stop being so scared about the things we don’t understand. Learn about them instead. 

Anything fun in the pipeline – professionally or personally?

Totally! But I just got another text; I am not allowed to talk about it.

Quick Fire

I’m tuning into… Colin from Accounts on BBC iPlayer. I love it so much. I met them recently and had I think my first ever fangirl moment. 

What I’m reading… A preview copy of Laura Lexx’s new book, Pivot. She and it are glorious. 

The last thing I watched was… Barbie’s Dreamhouse. You wanted honesty, right? 

What I’m most looking forward to seeing… ‘Groundhog Day’ the musical by Tim Minchin. He’s beyond cool. 

Favourite film of all time… Never Been Kissed

Band/singer I always have on repeat… I don’t like music really but I do love Taylor Swift. 

My ultimate cultural recommendation… The Southbank

Cultural guilty pleasure… Location, Location, Location. Not sure I feel guilty about it, though… 

What’s next for me is… School run!

Catch up with Staged on BBC iPlayer.