Brum’s very own Annette Badland is the no-nonsense landlady, Mae, in Apple TV’s Ted Lasso, the brilliant Emmy-winning comedy that has earned a cult following on both sides of the Pond
If you’re a fan of Apple TV’s brilliant Emmy award-winning comedy series Ted Lasso, (we are!) you’ll already know that one of the show’s best-loved characters is Mae, the no-nonsense landlady at the local pub at Richmond Football Club.
Played by Brum’s very own Annette Badland, Mae has captured the hearts of fans of the show which since launching in 2020 has become a bit of a comedy cult classic. Featuring American comedian Jason Sudeikis in the title role, it tells the story of an American football coach as he struggles with managing fictional Premier League soccer team, AFC Richmond. The show has proved to be a hit in the US and over here, with the much-anticipated third series due to be screened in 2023.
In more than half-a-century of acting in theatre, TV, film and radio, it’s safe to say that Annette is more than a little pleasantly surprised that she has become one of Apple TV’s shiny ‘new things’ as he calls it. We’ve interviewed Annette before, back in November 2019. At that time, no one in the wider world knew of Ted Lasso. Obviously, Annette did as she was working on the launch show and first series – but she was keeping ‘mum’, which is par for the course with actors sworn to secrecy on their new forthcoming projects. She would only say that she was working on an ‘exciting new project’. She explains now: “I got invited to audition and went to a casting director and went on tape – and they liked me, so I very luckily got invited to join the cast, and it has been just wonderful.”
Annette’s character, Mae, runs the Crown & Anchor pub in the direct style you’d expect from a landlady at your local. “She owns the place and she owns the space,” explains Annette, who is thrilled at the success of Ted Lasso. “The pub is a great environment for storytelling and for showing how people interact and can connect with one another. And the show has just grown with people telling each other about it and anticipating the next episode and series. It’s a thrill to be involved with it.”
Pubs are no stranger to Annette – but in a good way! Despite having a career that really does qualify her for ‘national treasure’ status and which has seen her perform in a Who’s Who of our greatest theatres, Annette is probably best known to millions as the evil aunt Babe of the Queen Vic in TV soap EastEnders. Other top TV roles have included Dr Who, Midsomer Murders, and Bad Girls.
Despite becoming such a well-known face, Annette has stayed true to her roots in Brum, which was highlighted when she was appointed a patron of the Old Rep – the theatre where she first fell in love with acting as a child in the audience. She is also a big supporter of local charities, having abseiled off the Dunlop building for Birmingham Children’s Hospital and completed a 22-mile charity swim for Diabetes UK. “I was happier in the water than suspended from a high wire,” she admits with a chuckle.
She is also a supporter of Midlands Air Ambulance and explains: “I lived on a road overlooking Edgbaston Cricket Ground when I was young. Coming home from school at the age of 12, I was badly run over. I remember the car approaching me and trying to jump backwards then getting into the ambulance with my mother beside me, I had flown over the top of the car, landing behind it, breaking the windscreen on the way.”
The left side of Annette’s face was badly damaged, with her nose split open and a gaping hole pouring blood near her mouth. The handle of a basket she had been carrying had penetrated her leg and she had serious breaks to both legs. Annette remembers: “When we got to Birmingham Accident Hospital, which no longer exists, they thought my mother was also injured because she was covered in so much of my blood.
“The ambulance men and hospital did crucial and complicated work on me and I have enormous gratitude and allegiance to them. As I say, the hospital no longer exists but we do have Midlands Air Ambulance. Thank goodness for all their skill, devotion and endeavour – helping people in extreme physical and emotional distress to survive and their loved ones to have them for longer.”
Incredibly, 50 years after the accident, Annette says a piece of the car’s windscreen emerged from her knee while she was on holidaying in Majorca. Now, that’s a story to tell the locals down at the Crown & Anchor…