Who is Hannah Waddingham? Ted Lasso actress to host Eurovision

Hannah Waddingham will host the Eurovision Song Contest in May alongside Graham Norton,  Alesha Dixon, and Ukrainian singer Julia Sanina  (Getty Images)
Hannah Waddingham will host the Eurovision Song Contest in May alongside Graham Norton, Alesha Dixon, and Ukrainian singer Julia Sanina (Getty Images)

Eurovision bosses have announced that the hosts of the 2023 song contest in Liverpool will be actress Hannah Waddingham, presenter Graham Norton, British singer Alesha Dixon, and Ukrainian singer Julia Sanina.

Norton has been the UK television commentator since 2009, so it’s no surprise that he’s set to lead the show.

As for Waddingham, TV fans will recognise her from hit shows such as Ted Lasso and Game of Thrones.

She, Dixon and Sanina will front the two semi-finals on and May 9 and 11, with Norton joining them for the grand final on Saturday, May 13.

The UK is hosting on behalf of 2022 winner Ukraine, which cannot stage the annual contest due to Russia’s ongoing invasion.

Waddingham shared the news of her hosting duties on Twitter, saying: “Couldn’t be more thrilled to be joining the Eurovision family this year of all years. #IStandWithUkraine.”

She added in a separate statement: “It’s one of the world’s greatest music festivals. But this year, perhaps more than ever, it is such a great honour to be standing shoulder to shoulder with Ukraine, a country which has carried itself with such strength and unity.”

But with those unfamiliar with the actress, who exactly is Hannah Waddingham?

Who is Hannah Waddingham?

Waddingham, 48, is an award-winning English actress from London. Her mother was an opera singer and, as a result, the actress grew up in the British theatre scene. She also attended a performing arts school.

She has starred in a number of hit comedy TV shows, for which she has won Emmy and Screen Actors Guild (SAG) awards. Waddingham has also appeared on stage, for which she received several Olivier awards nominations.

She has reportedly been in a relationship with food and drink guru Gianluca Cugnetto for over a decade. The couple share a daughter called Kitty, who was born in 2016.

What has Hannah Waddingham been in?

Waddingham is most recently known for her portrayal of Rebecca Welton in the Apple TV comedy-drama Ted Lasso (2020-2023).

The hit show, starring Jason Sudeikis, sees Waddingham play the new owner of AFC Richmond, who hires Lasso to sabotage the team.

Waddingham has won several awards for her role in Ted Lasso, including an Emmy for supporting actress and a SAG award for ensemble in a comedy series. Her portrayal also won her a nomination for a Golden Globe award.

TV fans may also recognise Waddingham for playing Jackson’s mum Sofia Marchetti in Netflix series Sex Education (2020-2021).

Marchetti is one of Jackson’s mums and pushes him to compete in swimming because she herself used to be a competitive swimmer.

However, the pressure on Jackson proves to be too much and causes a strain on their relationship.

Before Ted Lasso and Sex Education, Waddingham had a major part in Game of Thrones. She played Septa Unella in eight episodes across seasons five and six, from 2015 until 2016.

Hannah Waddingham stars in comedy Ted Lasso (Getty Images)
Hannah Waddingham stars in comedy Ted Lasso (Getty Images)

She famously played the nun who marched Cersei through the streets of King’s Landing, shouting “shame”.

Cersei gets her revenge by locking Unella in a cell with Ser Gregor Clegane, and taunts her by chanting “shame”.

Shortly before Game of Thrones, Waddingam played Tonya in ITV comedy Benidorm (2014) and has also appeared in My Family, Bad Education, Doctors, and Midsomer Murders.

She appeared in Hocus Pocus 2 as The Witch Mother last year.

Waddingham is also an accomplished musical theatre actress aside from her TV and film work. She has appeared in The Wizard of Oz and Monty Python’s Spamalot on London’s West End.

She received Olivier award nominations for best actress for her work in Spamalot, A Little Night Music, and Kiss Me, Kate.

What will Hannah Waddingham do next?

As well as hosting Eurovision this year, we can expect to see the actress play Lady Bellaston in the upcoming TV series Tom Jones. Waddingham will also voice Deliria in the animated series Krapopolis.

According to IMDB, the actress will also appear in The Fall Guy and Garfield, both of which are set to be released in 2024.

She will also host the Olivier Awards on April 2.