Our top culture interviews of the year for 2022, from Jodie Comer to Sanditon star Rose Williams

Rafe Spall (2022 The English © Drama Republic/BBC/Amazon Studios)
Rafe Spall (2022 The English © Drama Republic/BBC/Amazon Studios)

Sanditon star Rose Williams: ‘It’s the fans who saved the show’

When in 2019 ITV cancelled the racy show based on Jane Austen’s final, unfinished novel after one season, they didn’t reckon with the outpouring of love and outrage around the world. Sanditon’s leading actress talked to Nick Clark about the overwhelming support that brought her character, Charlotte Heywood, back to our screens in 2022.

Rafe Spall on his blistering role in BBC’s The English: ‘I wanted audiences to be repulsed but also enjoy him’

Starring alongside Emily Blunt and Chaske Spencer in this fantastic new TV Western was a joy for the London-born actor, who chatted to Nick Clark about the fun of “playing someone who’s a cold-hearted psychopath”, and why in a 20-year career, he’s most proud of that moustache.

Sopé Dìrísù on his new film Mr Malcolm’s List, Gangs of London and why he’s furious with George R. R. Martin

The star of Gangs of London took on a very different challenge this year, in his first leading role for a period drama, opposite Freida Pinto and Zawe Ashton in Mr Malcolm’s List. He told Elizabeth Aubrey how, starting out as a short film with a colourblind cast, it paved the way for Bridgerton to change the landscape.

BackRoad Gee: “I’ve got PTSD from the police. I’ve been pepper sprayed, beat up by them – it was just wild”


The Congolese-British rapper BackRoad Gee still pinches himself that he got to work on a track with Jay-Z (King Kong Riddim) – but it was only the start of a journey that this year took him to Wireless and beyond. It wasn’t easy though; he told Elizabeth Aubrey about lack of support for struggling families and his way back to music after a crisis.

Charlie Josephine: why making Joan of Arc non-binary in a new Shakespeare’s Globe play is a joyful act

It was subject to endless, spluttery comment pieces before anyone had even seen it, but then Charlie Josephine’s new play I, Joan, at the Globe Theatre, turned out to be a triumph. The writer and actor, who identifies as non-binary, told Alice Saville about being inspired by popstar Billie Eilish, and the power of art in changing minds.

Venice Biennale artist Sonia Boyce on her British Pavilion hailing black British female musicians

Days after this interview with Nancy Durrant, the artist Sonia Boyce was named the winner of the Golden Lion at the Venice Biennale – despite years working away without any gallery representation. They ordered martinis and chatted about seeing sexualised images in art galleries, the pressure of ‘representing’ as a black artist, and how the next generation of artists is going to live.

Jodie Comer, Evening Standard Theatre Awards Best Actress 2022: ‘This play is what I’m most proud of’

 (Hollie Fernando / Guardian / eyevine)
(Hollie Fernando / Guardian / eyevine)

Jodie Comer has been everywhere in recent years: Killing Eve, blockbuster comedy Free Guy, the excoriating Help with her friend and mentor Stephen Graham. It was Graham who presented her with this year’s Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actresss for her performance in the one woman West End show Prima Facie. She told Nick Curtis why it’s the thing she’s most proud of in her career so far.

James McAvoy, Best Actor at ES Theatre Awards 2022: ‘Theatre is changing for the better’

His performance as the self-loathing Cyrano de Bergerac in Jamie Lloyd’s incredible contemporary update of the play blew away audiences and critics alike – and this year it won James McAvoy the Evening Standard Theatre Award for Best Actor. He talked to Nick Curtis about opportunities for working class actors and why he’d originally thought about becoming a priest. No, really.

Tim Minchin on Upright season two, Matilda the Musical and fame: ‘I’m deeply anti-pop culture’

The Australian writer, comedian, musician and actor was probably not expecting to be upstaged by his teenage co-star in season two of Upright, but he’s delighted for Millie Alcock, who plays Princess Rhaenyra Targaryen in House of the Dragon. In any case, he told Nick Clark, fame and celebrity are not his favourite aspects of his brilliant job.

Nova Twins: the London band of the moment on changing the face of rock


It took a while for the industry to get its head around the concept of a pair of mixed-heritage young woman blasting out the headiest of genre-defying rock music, but eventually it seems to have caught up, and Nova Twins (Amy Love and Georgia South) are on a roll. They chatted to Elizabeth Aubrey about smashing sexist taboos left, right and centre.

Lynette Linton: ‘We’re shifting the canon - the West End needs to catch up’

She was handed the keys to the Bush Theatre aged just 28, now after rising above the horrors of the pandemic, Artistic Director Lynette Linton’s theatre is smashing it out of the park. She told Nancy Durrant about the theatre’s 50th anniversary season and why she’s commissioning black British stories on an epic scale.

Daniel Brühl on All Quiet on the Western Front, his Marvel dancing and why he wants to do more comedies

When the MCU star read Erich Maria Remarque’s 1929 novel, which was publicly burnt and banned by the Nazis, as a teenager, it made a huge impact on him. He talked to Hamish MacBain about his role in Netflix’s hard-hitting remake of All Quiet on the Western Front, and why at a time of war in Ukraine, it’s tough to see how relevant it still is.