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Entertainment Exclusive: Sian Clifford On Fleabag, That BAFTAs Moment And Life After Lockdown

18:05  09 september  2020
18:05  09 september  2020 Source:   graziadaily.co.uk

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Fleabag star Sian Clifford on the coronavirus pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, and Sian Clifford has admitted she felt ‘powerless’ during lockdown in the midst of the coronavirus However, when Baftas technical support showed up, they informed the two pals they would not be

Clifford won a Bafta for her portrayal of Claire on the hit comedy. Clifford – who earlier this year earned plaudits for her role in ITV drama Quiz – met Waller-Bridge at drama school and the pair are She credits their friendship with helping her through the pressures of finding sudden fame on Fleabag .

a person wearing a blue shirt: Sian Clifford © Credits: Sophia Spring Sian Clifford

Despite the strangeness of its circumstances – broadcast remotely to no live audience – there was at least one aspect that seemed oddly familiar to Sian Clifford the night she won her first Best Actress BAFTA. ‘The whole thing was so Fleabag,’ she says, laughing down the phone from the new home in south London she’s sharing with her quarantine companion, a freshly acquired, breed-indeterminate rescue pup. ‘When Phoebe and I are together, things like this often happen.’

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The actress won a Bafta for her part in the show, playing Claire, sister of Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s Clifford – who earlier this year earned plaudits for her role in ITV drama Quiz – met Waller-Bridge at She credits their friendship with helping her through the pressures of finding sudden fame on Fleabag .

Actress Sian Clifford – who will soon be seen as Diana Ingram in ITV's Quiz – has admitted to Digital Spy that the scene was actually a "nightmare" to film. Sian also recalled some of her slightly better memories from filming Fleabag , revealing: "One of my favourite moments was actually on my first day.

The screen sisters and real-life BFFs planned to enjoy the evening in a happy place: Waller-Bridge’s back garden. ‘Dappled sunlight, gorgeous lighting, everything planned,’ she recalls. Sian had chosen a Vampire’s Wife dress to wear only the day before. ‘Really contemporary, beautifully made, fit me like a glove, I was very happy.’

Vegan burgers were bought to enjoy after the ceremony. Suspecting that he was about to have a crowning moment of his own, Sian and Phoebe FaceTimed Jamie Demetriou, one of Fleabag’s earliest boyfriends and creator/star of Stath Lets Flats, to bid well wishes. ‘He’s Fleabag alumnus,’ says Sian. When you break down the British TV landscape of the last 12 months, the Fleabag influence – those doors Phoebe Waller-Bridge has inched open for audacious, funny, irreverent and true storytelling on TV – are everywhere.

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Actress Sian Clifford – who will soon be seen as Diana Ingram in ITV's Quiz – has admitted to Digital Spy that the scene was actually a "nightmare" to film. Sian also recalled some of her slightly better memories from filming Fleabag , revealing: "One of my favourite moments was actually on my first day.

From gaining fans like Brad Pitt and Barack Obama to her big new role in Quiz, Sian Clifford reveals how Fleabag changed her life forever.

Sian Clifford: 'Fleabag Is Magical. There's Not A Wasted Line In It'

It was only when BAFTA’s technical support turned up, informing the two friends their proximity to one another would cause feedback, that a perfect last evening together, intended to honour the generationally defining and dysfunctional sisters, was interrupted. ‘So, we tried it – to try and disprove them,’ says Sian, ‘and of course they were right. Then we tried with me sitting inside and Phoebe outside and the lighting was just terrible. Then she remembered our friend Josh from down the road was on holiday and she said, “I’ve got his key!”’

They hotfooted it to the new location. ‘We had to try and get his WiFi password, while he’s up a mountain in Skye. It was absolute chaos – and this was five minutes before it began. Phoebe wasn’t dressed and I said, “You know it starts in, like, a minute?” I’d showed up ready and she was like, “Whaaaat?”

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Fleabag star Sian Clifford has confirmed that the cult comedy will not return for a third series. Phoebe previously spoke to the Guardian about the contradictions women face in modern life and how she 'I felt really strongly while writing Fleabag that there was no such thing as a s**t, and I was just

Fleabag wrapped up with its second series, with Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Sian Clifford having stated multiple But now, Clifford , who played Fleabag 's sister Claire, has revealed that a second series almost didn't happen at all! Clifford was speaking at a BAFTA Q&A event, where she stated that

a woman posing for the camera: Sian Clifford © Provided by Grazia Sian Clifford a woman posing for a picture: Sian Clifford © Provided by Grazia Sian Clifford

The BAFTAs were a happy occasion, not just for glorious overachiever and serial neurotic Claire, but for the fabulous show itself and for Phoebe’s gorgeous counterweight. Sian’s Best Actress trophy brought to an end a year-long TV awards cycle that Fleabag season two – a masterpiece work of free and wild television storytelling – kicked off by picking up Best Show at the Television Critics Association. In the intervening 12 months, it accrued a clean run of Emmys and Golden Globes. Now, the BAFTAs were recognising Sian, too. ‘I mean, amazing,’ she says. ‘I am still reverberating, honestly.’

a person posing for the camera © Sophia Spring

Last Night’s TV BAFTAs Reminded Us How Much We Love Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Sian Clifford’s Friendship

The success of Fleabag has had a noticeably positive effect on Sian’s professional life, the fruits of which began to appear during lockdown. First up was her incredible, tender and blunt suburban domestic performance as Diana Ingram, wife of the couple at the centre of the Who Wants To Be A Millionaire? scandal, in Quiz. Currently, she’s playing Tina, the loner mother of Maisie Williams’ erratic, escaped hermit in the purposefully original comedy cat-and-mouse thriller Two Weeks To Live. ‘The show is about freedom,’ Sian notes, ‘and I think that’s very pertinent to what’s going on now. For me, everything has come into such sharp focus about what really matters. And who and what we value has been grossly exposed in our cultures because of Covid.’

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Fleabag 's Sian Clifford reveals Phoebe Waller-Bridge 'fought hard' to get her the role of Claire after the best friends made a pact to 'back each other' at drama Sian also spoke about her other co-star, Andrew Scott, who plays the handsome Irish Catholic priest and Fleabag 's love interest in series two.

The Killing Eve creator, 33, joined her on-screen sister Sian Clifford at the Amazon Prime Video event, with the streaming services set to release the show in Phoebe Waller-Bridge looks chic in a patterned jumpsuit as she joins on-screen sister Sian Clifford for Fleabag series 2 event in NYC after selling

Again, the Fleabag footprint can be felt gently trodden over both. James Graham, Quiz’s writer, was one of the success stories nurtured through Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s early theatre company, Dry Write, which Sian had often acted for. Maisie Williams’ Kim in Two Weeks To Live doffs a knowing cap to Villanelle, the anti-hero assassin of another Phoebe masterwork, Killing Eve. ‘The TV landscape right now is extraordinary,’ says Sian. ‘Part of that is to do with streaming platforms. It’s given permission to channels to start taking bigger risks; to make things that are more provocative and challenging.

I think what audiences are craving and what creatives are burning to give them are more complex human stories that don’t fit neatly into genres. Fleabag was definitely a part of that. It was genre-busting.’

The four shows that have kept Sian glued to the box during lockdown are the brilliant Michael Jordan documentary, The Last Dance (‘I’d no interest, knowledge or any connection to basketball before it. Now I’m obsessed’); the stinging verité story of sexual consent, I May Destroy You (‘This is Michaela Coel revolutionising television, as far as I’m concerned. She is visionary’); the comic-book adaptation Watchmen (‘what they have done with that story in order to speak to a narrative of our times is so necessary and absolutely mind-blowing’); and, inevitably, the TV adaptation of Sally Rooney’s Normal People.

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‘It absolutely contorted me in every direction. I felt so deeply for them,’ she says of this year’s star-crossed lovers. ‘I resonated with that story deeply. I was someone who had a really tough time at high school. It shattered me. I’ve never been in more pain with something than watching that show. Paul Mescal, Daisy Edgar-Jones, their performances are extraordinary.’ Like every sentient human being, she’s been gently pinched by the Mescal bug. ‘I met Paul recently and he is absolutely dreamy. Superstars, both of them.’

Sian says that the Fleabag effect on her own life isn’t about framing her work with new confidence, despite her knockout successes in both Quiz and Two Weeks To Live. ‘Confidence comes from working a lot, from flexing your muscles more and more. So that’s the gift I’ve been granted. It’s sort of reminded me of the actor I was before I left drama school. I was a huge risk-taker. That was all I knew.’

The reality of work only heightened TV limitations. ‘I came into the industry and was inevitably stifled by it, put into various pigeon holes. That changes you. I’d sort of forgotten my confidence, the boldness I had. That was the gift of Claire. You stay the same but people’s perception of you changes. People treat me very differently.’ Sian is an engaging conversationalist and even-minded philosopher. ‘I’ll always remember who was kind to me,’ she says. ‘And who wasn’t.’

Her own special gift as an actor is to bring her innate feelings for the human condition straight on to screen. Playing Diana Ingram, she says, was not about whether she liked her or not. ‘I don’t think as an actor it’s your job to comment on a human you’re embodying,’ she says. ‘You have to accept them, rather than like or dislike them. If you’re playing a powerful person, you can’t play power. You have to embody power. That’s why, if you see people in positions of power and there is something deeply inauthentic about it, it’s because they are playing a role as opposed to actually being a powerful human being.’

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Is she thinking of Boris Johnson when she makes this observation?

‘No comment,’ she says wryly.

The Covid crisis has clearly given British comedy’s current reigning Best Actress pause for thought. She isolated alone for its duration. No major work projects were interrupted by the pandemic. ‘That initial period, when this was so completely new and alien to us, was the most arresting moment I’ve ever experienced in my life,’ she says.

‘It was completely beyond our control. I’ve never felt more connected to every being on this planet than I did right at the beginning of this. It’s not just Covid, it’s the Black Lives Matter movement gathering momentum, too. Everything seems to be imploding. It’s very easy to feel quite powerless right now.’

In the time spent alone, smiling at neighbours in ways she hadn’t before, connecting and disconnecting under a new reality, lessons can start to be learned. ‘I don’t know how we resolve this. But I do think it means dismantling existing systems in a very dramatic way. We are being called to quit our judgement of one another. It’s time to examine ourselves.’

‘Two Weeks To Live’ is on Sky One on Wednesdays at 10pm

Photographs: Sophia Spring

Hair: Charley McEwen at Frank Agency using IGK Hair

Make-up: Justine Jenkins using Drunk Elephant

Stylist: Frederica Lovell-Pank

Main image: full look, Givenchy; Earrings, 1980s Vintage Givenchy earrings @ Susan Caplan

Black and white outfit: full look, Loewe; Earrings, Begum Khan


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