MY CLUB • September 2019
At stage school by the time she was 13 and with a TV career under her belt less than three years later, Golden Globe winner Joanne Froggatt is the poster girl for British grit and determination. This month, as the Downton Abbey film hits cinemas across the UK, we chat to the theatre and big screen star about her travel memories
What has been your favourite travel experience?
Backpacking around Australia in my mid-twenties, I took a catamaran boat ride around the Whitsunday Islands. We’d have barbeques on the back of the boat and there was a little hot tub on the front. During the day, we’d drop the anchor to dive, and it was some of the most amazing diving I’ve ever done – like something from a movie. There was also this heaven-on-earth beach, called Whitehaven, with unspoilt sands and all these little reef sharks that would come and swim in between your legs.
Joanne's work with charity Plan International UK has seen her travel the world in pursuit of children’s rights and equality
Which country most sticks out in your memory?
I went to Tanzania on a trip with a charity I work with, Plan International, and had the most incredible experience. A local girl called Edna took me to Makimi National Park on a five-hour journey on a local bus, when suddenly everyone on one side of it got up and starting shouting ‘Simba, Simba!’ because they’d seen a lion.
Where is your favourite London hangout?
I love being by the river. There’s a mix of buildings stretching down the length of the Thames that brilliantly blends history and modernity. You can find me sitting outside on the riverbank, watching the world go by and having a coffee.
Where is on your bucket list and why?
Maldives is very much at top of my list – I’m obsessed with the thought of that kind of tropical paradise. My idea of heaven is white sandy beaches, being able to dive and observing colourful sea life (pictured below). I love all things quiet and unspoilt.
What does it feel like to be part of BA’s 100 modern Britons?
It’s an incredible honour to be in the mix with people who’ve done so many amazing things – Ellie Simmonds; the first British female astronaut, Helen Sharman; all these wonderful people. It’s flattering to be among such high achievers.
What’s your favourite memory of travelling with BA?
We were flying to Nice from Heathrow – myself, my husband and two of my colleagues from Downton, Sophie McShera and Lesley Nicol and their partners. Our flight was a bit delayed, only by an hour or something, so we sat in the lounge and had some glasses of wine. We had such a giggle, that we didn’t care about the delay at all.
Where are your favourite places in the UK?
Whitby (pictured top of page), where I’m from, has a special place in my heart. It’s very beautiful with lots of history: Captain Cook sailed from Whitby and Bram Stoker wrote Dracula there. I find the drive over the Yorkshire Moors to be very romantic. City wise, I love Manchester (pictured below) – it’s such a cool place.
What is the best bit of British theatre you have seen recently?
Recently I saw Avalanche at The Barbican starring my friend Maxine Peak: it was a one-woman show and I thought the writing was so beautiful and so well performed. I’ve never experienced an audience being quite so moved. I also just saw Dame Maggie Smith do her one-woman show at The Bridge – that was incredible. She was on-stage for 90 minutes, totally on her own. It was pretty mind blowing.
Where has been your favourite place to film?
It would have to be LA. I did an independent movie there called A Crooked Somebody, which we filmed all around the city. You hear about Hollywood when you’re a kid and so to end up making a film there was a bit of a dream-come-true moment.
Who are your biggest idols in the entertainment industry?
I grew up watching British television, so anyone who was on television in the 1980s basically. My family were obsessed, as I was, with Victoria Wood. I got to work with her when I was 21 and my family came along to sit in the audience. Also, David Jason, Julie Walters, Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, the list goes on. I remember watching Educating Rita and thinking that Michael Caine and Julie Walters were amazing. I used to watch that movie at least once a week.