Hannah Waddingham — things you didn't know about the TV star (2024)

Hannah Waddingham — things you didn't know about the TV star (1)

In recent years, Hannah Waddingham has become a household name thanks to playing AFC Richmond boss Rebecca Welton in Ted Lasso, Tonya Dyke in Benidorm, Sofia Marchetti in Sex Education, and Septa Unella—aka the "SHAME!" nun—from Game of Thrones. Most recently, she has been seen stealing scenes as Lady Ballaston in Tom Jones, the ITVX period drama, and for her show-stopping 2023 Apple TV festive extravaganza, Hannah Waddingham: Home for Christmas.

Along with her recent TV roles, Waddingham is also a celebrated stage performer and singer, and she's also been a big hit on the hosting circuit. In 2023, she led proceedings at the 2023 Olivier Awards, and she was a big hit with Eurovision Song Contest 2023 viewers, too!

Here are a few more facts about Hannah Waddingham that you might not have known...

Hannah Waddingham comes from a long line of performers

Hannah Waddingham — things you didn't know about the TV star (2)

Hannah Waddingham has impressed many in recent months by showing off her singing voice. It's easy to see where that talent came from, as she's not the first performer in her family.

Her mother, Melodie Kelly, joined the English National Opera when Hannah was just a young girl, and her maternal grandparents were both opera singers, too. Having grown up around the theatre and watching her own mother perform, Waddingham studied at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts in South London.

In her introductory speech to the Olivier Awards 2023, she made it just how clear how much she loved the theatre. "I really could not be prouder to be presenting these Awards tonight. This is such a great honor and a joy for me, so really, thank you very much for having me... from the bottom of my heart, the privilege is all mine, thank you so much for letting me be here," she said.

She played Satan in a Rod Stewart jukebox musical

Hannah Waddingham — things you didn't know about the TV star (3)

Before being snapped up for TV, Hannah spent plenty of time on stage in London's West End and Broadway, having appeared in everything from The Wizard of Oz, Into the Woods, The Beautiful Game, Kiss Me Kate and Spamalot, among others.

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But when she appeared on Jimmy Kimmel Live last year, guest host RuPaul picked up one of her more unconventional roles from 2003's Tonight's the Night, a musical comprised of Rod Stewart music.

In the show, she played none other than the Devil herself, Satan. Ru wanted to know more about the show, and Hannah shared a bizarre backstage story about how she'd got advice about handling acid reflux and what you can take to settle your stomach from Rod Stewart!

She REALLY wants to work with Viola Davis

Back in 2021, Hannah sat down with IMDB and was asked which star she would most like to work with that she hadn't worked with before, and she jumped to Emmy and Oscar-winning actress, Viola Davis (whose recent credits include roles in The Woman King, Air, The First Lady and Ma Rainey's Black Bottom).

"Oh, lordy... Viola Davis. I mean, I don't think I'd be able to speak. She'd think I was some embarrassing mess", Waddingham joked, before imitating what she'd be like if they ever crossed paths.

She kept the bell from Game of Thrones

As we've already mentioned, one of Waddingham's most iconic on-screen roles was that of the tyrannical nun who plagued Cersei Lannister whilst she was arrested by the High Sparrow in some of the later seasons of Game of Thrones.

Many fans will no doubt recall the scene in which Cersei was paraded through the streets of King's Landing naked, whilst Unella followed her chanting "Shame!" and ringing a bell.

You might not know that Hannah kept the bell that she rang in this scene, though. She's discussed this on several talk shows, including The Drew Barrymore Show where she said: "That's when you know that you're dead on the show. Cause they're like, 'Here you are, here is your hero prop'."

Hannah Waddingham — things you didn't know about the TV star (4)

She wants to star in a musical film

Hannah's wowed viewers both on and off stage, so it's perhaps no surprise that, when asked what she would most like to do that she hasn't done yet, she said she wanted to star in a musical film.

She told Rose and Ivy: "I want to do musical film; I am so ready I am literally like a greyhound waiting to get out on that track."

2024 sees Wicked The Color Purple and Mean Girls hitting the silver screen, and Steven Spielberg turned his hand to West Side Story not long ago, so there's got to be a way for Waddingham to realize this dream soon, surely!

She's dueted with Michael Bublé

Michael Bublémight be the king of Christmas music, but Hannah Waddingham stole the show when she arrived as a guest performer on his NBC special, Michael Bublé's Christmas in the City in 2021.

Bublé's clearly a big fan, too, going off his introduction for her: "Ladies and gentlemen, my next guest is the kindest, most talented, beautiful, wonderful human being in the whole wide world. She's living proof that when you put good things out into the universe, well they come back to you."

Hannah Waddingham fact file...

Answers to some of the most frequently asked questions about the star...

How old is Hannah Waddingham?

Hannah Waddingham is 49. She was born on July 28, 1974.

Is Hannah Waddingham married?

Hannah Waddingham is currently single. In the past, she was in a long-term relationship with Italian businessman, Gianluca Cugnetto.

Does Hannah Waddingham have any children?

Hannah and Gianluca have one child together, a nine-year-old daughter called Kitty.

Where was Hannah Waddingham born?

How tall is Hannah Waddingham?

Hannah Waddingham is five foot eleven.

Instagram: @hannah_waddingham

We work hard to ensure that all information is correct. Facts that change over time, such as age, will be correct, to the best of our knowledge, at the time of the last article update.

Hannah Waddingham — things you didn't know about the TV star (5)

Martin Shore

Staff Writer at WhatToWatch.com

Martin was a Staff Writer with WhatToWatch.com, where he produced a variety of articles focused on the latest and greatest films and TV shows.Now he works for our sister site Tom's Guide in the same role.

Some of his favorite shows are What We Do In The Shadows, Bridgerton, Gangs of London, The Witcher, Doctor Who, and Ghosts. When he’s not watching TV or at the movies, Martin’s probably still in front of a screen playing the latest video games, reading, or watching the NFL.

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