HE’S broken our hearts as Victoria’s doomed-in-love Lord Alfred and is playing upper-class suffering again as Randolph Churchill, troubled son to Gary Oldman’s iconic statesman in Darkest Hour — but actor Jordan Waller has a very different project up his sleeve.
‘It’s a comedy called Son Of Dyke… working title,’ laughs the 25-year-old Bristolian, whose cheery quips and banter are a world away from the stiff upper-class reserve he’s made his own. ‘It’s about me being a sperm-donor baby growing up in a lesbian household. It was a riot!’
Hang on a minute, run that by me again… Far from being the posho public schoolboy he’s played so convincingly, and that has seen him rapidly rise up the acting ranks, Waller hails from a less conventional household than you’d imagine.
‘I was born by anonymous sperm donor,’ he says. ‘All I know about my biological father is that he was tall, had dark hair and green eyes. And I don’t need to know any more. My [biological] mother, Miranda, really wanted a baby, she was in a relationship, so she went for it.’
He makes it sound simple but such a set-up in the UK of the early 1990s was a far cry from what it is now. So why expose your background to comic scrutiny?
‘I want to show there’s no such thing as a normal family,’ says Waller, ‘that it’s OK not to have a father — you can still be a complete individual without a heterosexual role model. A lot of people don’t know about the kind of upbringing I had. It’s brilliantly comic — but a dark comedy.’
By dark, Waller is referring to the fact that, though he’s entertaining and light-hearted on the subject now, growing up as ‘an honorary lesbian’ in suburban Bristol wasn’t all plain sailing.
‘I was quite seriously bullied at school, I got called “gay” in the way kids do, I had to move schools,’ he says. ‘I would say to my mother: “Why have you done this to me?” But then, when I got into teenage years, suddenly having lesbian mothers was cool!’
And not just two lesbian mothers. When it comes to charting the comings and goings in the Waller household, Son Of Dyke has plenty of material to work with. Miranda broke up with her original partner and Jordan got mother number three. He’s stayed close to all his mums, though one thing still itches away at him.
‘Not having a father might have made it difficult to relate to other men,’ he says. ‘I didn’t have any of that kicking footballs about and fishing you’re supposed to do. Would that have made a difference to me?’
It certainly doesn’t seem to have done him any harm. Bright-eyed and amusing, his role as Randolph Churchill, the alcoholic son of Winston, which he says is his most difficult to date, has now set his stock high.
And, just in case you’re fretting, Waller is not pining too much about the demise of his dear Drummond, the other half of the gay love that dared to whisper its name in Victoria. ‘At least I get to play Alfred for at least the next series,’ he smiles. ‘When you’re a young actor, you need the work.’
Not that work will be an issue if Son Of Dyke, starring Mr Waller in the title role, gets the green light. TV commissioners, what are you waiting for? We’re seeing Miranda Hart as Miranda. Has to happen, doesn’t it?
Darkest Hour is in cinemas now. Victoria’s Christmas episode is on ITV Hub