‘Ted Lasso’ star Hannah Waddingham doesn’t miss her character’s ‘hard edges’

A woman in the houndstooth coat looks out a car window
Hannah Waddingham is nominated for an Emmy for her performance as the initially duplicitous soccer team owner Rebecca Welton in “Ted Lasso.”
(Apple TV+)

“Ted Lasso’s” premise almost feels like science fiction against the backdrop of today’s world: an earnest, folksy, super-duper-nice American football coach, played by Jason Sudeikis, moves to England, where he’s been poached to lead a flailing soccer team— imparting his feel good-isms whether they’re welcomed or not and slowly making a difference in the lives of those in his orbit. But none of it would have registered were it not for stellar performances from the show’s supporting cast. And the latest crossover between “The Envelope” and “The Times” podcasts brings a conversation with one of the show’s standouts: Hannah Waddingham.

Hosted by Gustavo Arellano, “The Times” brings you the world through the eyes of the West Coast via audio awesomeness across all subjects: sports, food, politics, culture and more. From conversations with victims of China’s police state, Sen. Katie Porter and car chase pioneers to coverage of Hollywood, drought, disasters and kink, it’s a must-follow delivered with a diversity of voices and a bunch of drama and desmadre.

In today’s episode, “The Envelope” co-host Yvonne Villarreal speaks with Waddingham about her turn as the hero’s initially vindictive and cynical boss, Rebecca. Since the show’s launch last year, the love has been pouring in for her steely, yet vulnerable, performance — enough to earn her an Emmy nomination for supporting actress in a comedy.


Rebecca spends almost the entirety of the show’s debut season trying to bring down the football team she newly owns as a way of getting back at her ex-husband. In Season 2, she shows a softer side — embracing her love of the sport and her team, dating, and re-connecting with her goddaughter.

“I wouldn’t say I miss her hard edges,” says Waddingham, who’s known for playing imposing roles (i.e., the “shame nun” Septa Unella in “Game of Thrones”). “I certainly had to find a new ground without her having any attrition with anyone as far as anyone has seen at the moment. But I felt very softly and dearly about her and held her very precious to my heart from day one, even though she was doing all those things she was doing, because I knew why she was doing them. And it was a kind of rite of passage for her to gain catharsis through this person she never realized would come into her life and make everything different and better in the form of Ted.”

In addition to our conversation with Waddingham, be sure to check out our past episodes with Steven Canals for “Pose,” Kate Winslet for “Mare of Easttown,” Elizabeth Olsen for “WandaVision” and Josh O’Connor for “TheCrown.” And don’t miss last week’s conversation with TV editor Matt Brennan and awards columnist Glenn Whipp about some of this year’s underdog nominees who are worth a closer look.

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