A Bit Of A Madame
Gaiman’s TV adaptation of his and Terry Pratchett’s Good Omens is coming to UK terrestrial TV this January and here’s one of its stars Miranda Richardson who plays Madam Tracy talking about it…
Has it been enjoyable to shoot Good Omens?
Yes, it’s been tremendous fun. We were on a brutal, windswept airbase yesterday. The wind was reaching places you didn’t know exist. Even though I had no lines, it was still a really enjoyable experience. I love the fact that this is on such a huge scale. More is more – that phrase could be on the poster! It’s a great production to be involved with.
Talk us through your character…
It’s a lovely part. Madame Tracy works as a medium and a sex worker from the same apartment, which means flipping the pictures around and changing her costumes. She has to be very organised about who’s doing what when. I haven’t got the words to describe her job as a sex worker – that’s probably for the best!
Tell us about her relationship with her neighbour, Shadwell.
Madame Tracy is able to allay his fears. He can relax a lot with her. He is a very tense man, firing off all over the place – if I may use that phrase! It’s been delightful working with Michael McKean, who plays Shadwell. He is lovely company, a dear.
What are the inspirations behind your character?
She is a compilation of lots of British character actors from yesteryear, including Irene Handel. It feels rooted in that era. There are a lot of Ealing Comedies and Carry On films in there.
But the characters still have to be credible, don’t they?
Definitely. In Good Omens, the characters are in a very heightened reality. But the characters still have to be believable, or viewers won’t go with it. You have to be able to believe in their inner life.
What attracts you to playing out-there characters?
It’s appealing to play them and still find their humanity. If you spend any time on the streets in London, you will see many out-there characters. They make you think: “What’s your life about?” They have made a choice. These days people are feeling more comfortable about expressing themselves in their look, their sexuality, and their piercings. They’re out on the street saying: “This is me.”
How have you found it working with David Tennant and Michael Sheen?
They’re both phenomenal. I am in awe of their work on this monster project. I’m so admiring of the fact that David and Michael can even say the words in the right order – that’s more than I can manage at times! They are playing proper characters, and they look great. The fact that David and Michael have done as much theatre as they have is very useful for this project. You have to be very resilient because it’s so demanding. If you have done a lot of theatre, that will stand you in good stead. This is also quite theatrical in its look and feel.
There are a lot of special effects in Good Omens, but they never overwhelm the story, do they?
No, the show still allows for your personal imagination. It is not given to you on a plate. I can’t bear it when something is too special effects-heavy. It’s very tiring watching special effect after special effect, if it’s not as good as The Lord Of The Rings.
It seems as if you had fun on Good Omens.
I have got very lucky with this production. What’s not to like?