On my radar: Patsy Ferran's cultural highlights
Actor Patsy Ferran was born in Valencia in 1989 and studied drama and theatre arts at Birmingham University before going to Rada. She graduated in 2014 and made her West End debut in that same year playing Edith, in Blithe Spirit and Jim in Treasure Island at the National Theatre. She recently played Honey in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? on Broadway, and has also appeared in various TV shows and films including God’s Own Country. Last year she won best actress at the Olivier and the Critics’ Circle theatre awards. She was in A Christmas Carol at the Bridge theatre until it was forced to close last week. Ferran plays Sister Blanche in Black Narcissus, which begins on BBC One on 27 December.
Lockdown was an interesting experience because it reignited my love of reading in full force. This is one that still sticks in the brain. Loads of local bookshops were celebrating it. It’s the kind of book that has its own table. It follows this woman who is a librarian, and due to her occupation, she is very much an observer of life. The main theme is the state of the planet, dealing with climate change, living in a divisive world, potentially exhausting subjects, but she does it with a sense of humour. I tend to annotate parts of books that I like, and my copy is full of sticky tabs.
Scrooge (Brian Desmond Hurst, 1951)
I watched it out of duty, as prep for this job I’m doing at the moment. I was so pleasantly moved and surprised. It’s just gorgeous. It’s so well shot and so well told. The actor who plays Scrooge, Alastair Sim, is wonderful in it. I felt like a kid again watching it. I prejudged, and thought it was going to feel dated, but it works and his performance is joyous and so good. My boyfriend was away on another job, and I kept filming scenes on my laptop and sending them to him. It made me want to look into other films from that era I might have overlooked.
3. YouTube channel
YouTube is my weakness. I absolutely adore Terrell Grice. He hosts a show in his house and has a signature blue wall which he and his guests talk in front of. He loves music, soul, R&B, gospel. He invites a singer on, nine times out of 10 with an extraordinary voice, and they play a game called song association. He gives them a word, and they have to sing a song with the word in. The two episodes I love are with Cynthia Erivo and Stout. Grice is so gorgeous and charming. You just have to watch him react. Lots of positivity and talent.
It’s hosted by two lovely men called John Mitchinson and Andy Miller. They are both ex-booksellers. One of them is now an author and the other is the publisher of Unbound. They invite a mate on who has a favourite book that has either been overlooked in the past, or is from a famous author but less known. I heard about it during the first lockdown and it saved my soul a little bit. With all of this uncertainty, there can be a lot of negativity. It was such a change. I found it alien to hear three or four people generously talk about something. They trained their brains into reading something that might not be their cup of tea, but always find something good to say about it
Selling Sunset (Netflix)
British TV is very wholesome, like The Great British Bake Off or Strictly Come Dancing, but that doesn’t do it for me. I need American and shiny, and Selling Sunset ticked all the boxes. It’s about estate agents in Hollywood selling the gazillion-dollar mansions to rich people. They wear the most ridiculously high heels, tight skirts and have the most insane cars. It’s also about the dynamic between these six women in the office who love to hate each other. I’m half out the closet when it comes to my love of reality TV shows.
Le Relais de Venise l’Entrecôte in Marylebone, London
I live about a 20-minute walk away from this famous French steak restaurant. There’s always a queue, even pre-lockdown. The one thing you can order on the menu for delivery is La Baguette. It’s a gorgeous big piece of baguette, stuffed with steak that’s been chopped up, french fries and a sauce. I’ve been living nearby for 10 years and I always thought I should go. I had a birthday recently, and decided to order it. It was sensational. My boyfriend and I shared it. Every mouthful was an eye-roll of pleasure. It’s not cheap, but if there’s a special occasion…