Sarah Hadland on her quirky new whodunnit series and why Miranda The Movie is in demand

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Judging by the number of friends Sarah Hadland has picked up on during her 30-year career on stage and on screen, it’s clear she’s well-loved in the industry.

When she auditioned to play Stevie on Miranda Hart’s radio show, which later became the hit TV series, she thought she would have nothing in common with the star because Miranda was ‘chic’, but they are now so close that she go on vacation together. Russell Tovey, with whom Sarah collaborated in her first starring role on sitcom The Job Lot, has become one of her ‘best friends’.

And on her last show, filmed during the depths of lockdown, she made a new boyfriend again. In Murder, They Hope – a series of three self-contained comic murder mysteries following the hits Murder On The Blackpool Express, Death On The Tyne and Dial M For Middlesbrough – Sarah plays the sister of Sian Gibson’s character Gemma, a tour guide who is a amateur sleuth partnerships with the tough bus driver Terry (Johnny Vegas).

Sarah had wanted to work with Sian for years, who made her name on Peter Kay’s Car Share, and playing sisters couldn’t have been more perfect. ‘People sometimes come up to me and say,’ I love you in Car Share, ‘and Sian said when Miranda first came out, someone said she was just like the actress who plays Stevie,’ says Sarah.

Sarah Hadland, who plays Stevie on the hit TV series Miranda, said she didn’t think she’d have anything in common with Miranda Hart when she first auditioned for her radio show, but the pair are now so close that they are on vacation. to go. together

So playing her sister Monica was an absolute no-brainer. When I was asked to do it, I couldn’t believe I was finally getting started with her. We messaged each other before we got on set.

And, ironically, filming in lockdown actually gets you a lot closer through the process. You all really support because everyone is concerned and wants to make sure everything is going well. ‘

The series begins with Gemma and Terry packing up their doomed bus tour company to try and solve crimes full-time. But they are not inundated with business and have to move in with Monica until they start making some money.

However, things get going, and throughout the three hour-long episodes, our go heroes get involved in cases where an obsessive collector of figures, a confectioner poison mixer, and a serial killer can only capture Terry.

MY VICTORIA WOODEN MOMENT

Sarah was inspired to perform after a two-week summer school at the age of 14, funded in part by her idol Victoria Wood. So her meeting at the BAFTAs in 2011 – and Victoria recognized her – was a moment she will cherish forever.

“I was obsessed with her,” admits Sarah. ‘I had all her books and went to see her at Albert Hall when I was a student.

She did everything – stand-up, writing, sketch shows, straight drama – she was just incredible and we lost her way too soon. She made me feel like I could too.

Then Victoria sat at the next table with the BAFTAs in 2011. I said hello and she said, “Hello Sarah.”

‘I was extremely excited because she knew my name! I have a picture of me, Patricia Hodge and Miranda with her.

“It was a special moment and if you had told the 14-year-old that it was going to happen, I would never have believed it.”

Playing redhead Gemma’s flamboyant sister, Sarah had to dye her hair – and wear some pretty outrageous outfits. ‘I always think that if a job makes you do something different with your appearance, it’s a great opportunity to try it out.

“I love to be involved in what a character looks like and when they described Monica as” very over the top “I was thrilled. We did have one outfit that the director said was a bit too much, but otherwise everything else fell in. ‘

Sarah believes the fact is that the shows are bigger than life, along the lines of the Carry On movies, which has drawn names like Griff Rhys Jones, Nigel Havers and Una Stubbs in the past. Paul Whitehouse, Jason Manford, Lee Mack and Shobna Gulati all appear in the new series.

“It has that very elevated feel that is really fun to play,” Sarah says. ‘You can go for it a little more. It was a dream job and everyone just wants some light relief after everything we’ve been through.

‘There was a scene where I, Sian, Johnny, Jason and Shobna were sitting around a dinner table. Johnny kept getting the wrong text and we couldn’t stop giggling. The director had to say, “Guys, please, we’re trying to film something here,” as if we were naughty school kids. ‘

Sarah had appeared in musicals like Cats and Grease in the West End from the age of nineteen before taking to TV with roles in The Bill, Bad Girls and Horrible Histories. But it was playing Miranda’s boyfriend Stevie that made her famous at the age of 38. “I consistently worked on TV,” she says.

But when you’re on a show that the audience is engaged in in such a huge way, it changes things. I still get people to say something about the show most days, which is wonderful, but I’m lucky I don’t have the level of recognition that Miranda does.

When Sarah went to Shrek The Musical in the West End with Miranda, they had to be moved during recess because they were harassed

When Sarah went to Shrek The Musical in the West End with Miranda, they had to be moved during recess because they were harassed

There was a time when the cast was out together, people would eat bananas. Miranda and I went to Shrek in the West End and had to be moved in the meantime as we were hassled! They put us in a room to the side. It was really insane. ‘

People went bananas, it was really insane.

Like most actors, Sarah’s had several projects halted by Covid-19, but luckily for Miranda fans, the special My Such Fun Celebration to mark the sitcom’s tenth anniversary was filmed at the London Palladium before the pandemic hit and aired on New Years Day 2020. .

“Doing something like this with guest stars like McFly would be impossible right now,” she says. ‘I did Noises Off in the West End and I got the night off to do it. It was amazing. It’s crazy it’s still so popular. ‘

There is talk of a Miranda movie, could that be on the cards? “Every successful show goes around the rumor mill,” she says. “But I suppose it depends on whether Miranda wants to write it. It certainly seems like there is still a craving for it.

Sarah's new show Murder, They Hope, a series of three standalone comedic murder mysteries, was filmed in the depths of lockdown.  She plays Monica, the sister of Gemma, the character of Sian Gibson

Sarah’s new show Murder, They Hope, a series of three standalone comedic murder mysteries, was filmed in the depths of lockdown. She plays Monica, the sister of Gemma, the character of Sian Gibson

There’s an American version of Miranda, and the actor who plays Stevie is a little South American guy named Leslie Jordan. I am obsessed with him on Instagram, he is hilarious.

At one point, people said if there ever was a movie, Kylie Minogue would play Stevie. And then the reality is that in America it is this little older man who made me laugh. But he is so funny and cute, if there is a movie he has to be in it. ‘

Sarah, meanwhile, is looking forward to her 50th birthday later this month. “I’m going to have a big party, because then you can just get 30 people out,” she says.

And she’s not worried about finding work as she gets older, due to the plethora of female writers now working on TV. ‘You have people like Aisling Bea, Daisy Haggard, Sharon Horgan, Sara Pascoe, Katherine Ryan, Michaela Coel, Phoebe Waller-Bridge … the list goes on. We have so many brilliant women writing amazing roles for women that you hope it will keep growing.

‘There is an endless list of people with whom I would also like to work. Sarah Lancashire is one, but I think she’s on most people’s dream list. ‘

No doubt they would soon be fast friends too.

  • Murder, They Hope kicks off Saturday, May 8 on Gold.

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