Hannah Waddingham is getting in the Christmas spirit. To celebrate the festive season, the actress leads Hannah Waddingham – Home for Christmas, an epic holiday special in which she sings with a big band and special guests, including many of her Ted Lasso co-stars.
While a lot of the famous guests were announced prior to the special’s release, fans got a surprise when Jason Sudeikis popped up at the end of the show, after Waddingham pitched him an idea.
“I went to Jason and said, ‘Is there a world in which we can do a thing where you are doffing your cap at the end and I can say thank you to you for affording me this glorious platform?'” Waddingham, who ended up doing just that, told ET.
Many fans were first made aware of Waddingham’s musical talents when her character, Rebecca Welton, performed Frozen‘s “Let It Go” on the Apple TV+ series.
“They were lovely and so was Jason in the first place to get me singing on the show,” she recalled. “I was the one at the time that was like, ‘Why is a football club owner singing?’ And Jason was like, ‘You’re singing.'”
After the episode’s success, Waddingham and her manager pitched Apple a Christmas special, which they envisioned would be shot at the London Coliseum, the venue at which her mom often performed opera.
“I used to sit there listening to all the opera singers, watching my mum… that moved me without doubt and without question into musical theater,” Waddingham told ET. “Then to arrive into Ted Lasso and to meet people like Jason Sudeikis, Brendan Hunt, Brett Goldstein — people that love musical theater — to then be ask to bring out that part of me for Ted Lasso was insane. It was a no brainer then to go to Apple and say, ‘Look, let’s do this and let’s have as many of the AFC Richmond Greyhounds with us as possible.'”
They managed to do just that, enlisting Ted Lasso stars including Phil Dunster, Juno Temple, Brett Goldstein, Brendan Hunt and more, all of whom, Waddingham said, were “in the show for a reason.”
“They had to be there, really… because they are so much a part of what I’ve become,” she said. “They know that I would be there with them in a heartbeat, without doubt.”
At the end of the day, Waddingham said she aimed to “make something timeless and beautiful that everyone can sit down and watch.”
She added, “I think in a sea of discourse and unhappiness if people get 45 minutes of making them smile, making them cry, making them think of a lost loved one, that’s what I want to do.”
Hannah Waddingham – Home for Christmas is now streaming on Apple TV+.