Filed in Gallery Interviews

Why W1A’s Ophelia Lovibond and Hugh Skinner are fronting the next generation of British talent

Ophelia Lovibond and Hugh Skinner are back playing lowly cogs in BBC mockumentary W1A; in the meantime their high-flying Hollywood and stage careers are just getting going. They tell Samuel Fishwick about partying with Russell Crowe and dinners with Jim Carrey

Ophelia Lovibond

With her glossy good looks and private school diction, Ophelia Lovibond makes an unlikely tea lady. Yet the doe-eyed actress is so con-vincing as PA Izzy Gould in W1A, the BBC send-up of itself, that she is often asked to make coffee runs by unsuspecting staff while filming at Broadcasting House. ‘They all think I work there,’ she sniggers. ‘One lady even offered to show me where the nice milk was kept in the fridge.’

The line between art and reality is often wafer thin in the satire, a follow-up to Twenty Twelve, the BAFTA-winning fly-on-the-wall mockumentary that followed the trials of the fictional Olympic Deliverance Commission in the run-up to London 2012. By way of example Lovibond says: ‘We got stuck when we were filming in the Broadcasting House foyer this series because our passes didn’t actually work and the guard refused to wave us through.’

The first series of W1A had widespread appeal, despite its BBC in-jokes, as it parodied the jargon of modern management. Leading the cast is Hugh Bonneville’s Head of Values Ian Fletcher, who offers up lines such as: ‘[we are] about resetting the dial for the BBC and perhaps shining a new light on that dial, or at least shining the old light but with a new bulb.’ Another favourite is Jessica Hynes’ PR Siobhan Sharpe, who says: ‘OK, you wanna upsize your footprint, then you gotta get different shoes.’

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