■ Voiceover work, cocktails and filming from home are keeping the actor occupied
ACTRESS Tracy Ann Oberman, 53, has worked with the Royal Shakespeare Company and appeared in TV shows including EastEnders, Toast Of London and Friday Night Dinner. She can now be seen in YouTube drama Dun Breedin’.
What’s your daily lockdown routine like?
My other half wakes up at 6.30am to do his yoga practice so I go back to sleep, then wake up, make some breakfast, walk the dog, then do voiceover work from my new home studio. I’ve turned into a master chef, so I’ll do some cooking and on Thursdays we clapped for carers.
How has your working week changed?
It used to be eclectic but busy, going from voiceover work to filming, to theatre rehearsals, to writing. All of that is now taking place from my house. I’m a complete luddite but Matt Berry told me what equipment to buy so I could do voiceovers from home, so now I have a nice recording system in my office. I narrated a documentary the other day. And I’ve written a play for Radio 4 about the making of Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, set against the backdrop of the 1967 Los Angeles race riots.
Have you ever acted from home before, as you do in Dun Breedin’?
No. It’s bizarre. My bedroom now looks like a Warner Brothers studio. It was going to be a conventional TV series, but we’re now doing it on YouTube. The production company delivered lights, a camera, tripods and I’ve had to learn how to set a camera up and light the shot. It’s been a real learning curve. I’m doing my make-up, hair, continuity, which I haven’t been great at, sound, and costumes. I feel like Orson Welles. I cannot wait to go back to work.
Have you been doing any exercise in lockdown?
We have a Peloton bicycle, given to us by a friend, which has been a lifesaver. I’ve also been walking the dog in the park, tutting at joggers and picnickers.
Did you panic-buy anything?
I once saw Jamie Oliver talking about the nutritional value of frozen vegetables. So I bought a few bags of frozen vegetables. They are still in the freezer.
Have you turned to baking, or other trends during lockdown?
I do a regular Friday cocktail hour with friends, including Amanda Holden and Lisa Faulkner. Angela Griffin is organising a bingo night, which I’m looking forward to. I’ve discovered a skill for cooking I didn’t know I had.
What have you cooked?
Soups, broths, cakes, chocolate torte, plum tarte tatin, chicken korma, pesto. I find it very therapeutic. I did Celebrity Masterchef and only got to the quarter final, but if they’d do a rematch, I’d have another go.
Has lockdown caused you any personality changes?
I miss seeing my friends and family, but I’ve never felt so relaxed. With the world coming to a standstill, this need to be ‘out there’ achieving things has fallen away. We can’t really go anywhere, so we don’t need to be doing anything. It’s caused inner calm. We can’t do anything to fight where we are, so taking things on a day-by-day basis is the only way to go. I was never very good at that before. I’ve learned how to stay in the moment because no one knows what the outcome of this will be.
Which non-essential activity do you miss the most?
Going to restaurants, cinema, theatre, the gym and, above all, the hairdresser. My hair is massive and the colour is interesting.
Who have you met now restrictions have eased slightly in England?
The first thing I did was visit my mum in her garden. No hugging, but we had tea and cake: my sister, her boys and my daughter having an old-fashioned tea party. I also met my friend Paul Kaye in the park. He was recognised by a very cool female vicar due to his role in After Life, so we had an interesting socially distanced chat with a stranger about sweet-natured actors finding the darkness in really unpleasant characters. The easing of lockdown has felt exciting and also a bit trepidatious. No one clearly knows anything, so how safe is it? What about a second peak? Are we able to hug? How real is the danger now of catching it? It’s all been a free for all really. People are following their own conscience and instinct.
■ Tracy Ann Oberman stars in Dun Breedin’ on YouTube, every Thursday, 3pm