Tracey Ullman: Dame Judi stood up at an awards and said 'Hello, I'm Tracey Ullman'

Tracey Ullman is back with a second series of her hit BBC1 sketch show, and she's introducing some new famous faces to mix with familiar favourites, like her hooligan version of Dame Judi Dench...

It’s the turn of Clare Balding, Jerry Hall and Nicola Sturgeon to fall under Tracey Ullman’s comedic gaze for the second series of her satirical sketch show (premieres BBC1, Friday, February 3, 9.30pm). These famous ladies will be added to previous favourites, such as German leader Angela Merkel and Dame Judi, as Tracey told us when we caught up with her for a chat...

Which celebrities are you taking off this time? "Dame Judi Dench and Angela Merkel worked really well last series, so they’re back. But I’ve also done a Nicola Sturgeon and she’s got wee MP Mhairi Black as her sidekick. It’s great because she’s like a Bond villain who wants to take over the world! I’ve also done Clare Balding as someone who’s unable to stop presenting and will even walk into a shop and do a broadcast into the security camera!"

Horsey, horsey... Tracey's Clare Balding is addicted to presenting


Which guest stars are doing sketches with you this year? "Ben Miller is Rupert Murdoch, with me as Jerry Hall! Ben’s quite brilliant and I just loved working with him. It wasn’t easy being Jerry Hall because she’s a very beautiful woman and I’m not 6ft with incredible features, but Ben Miller more than made up for it as Murdoch!"

What do you have to do to learn the voices and get into character? "Well, to do Nicola Sturgeon, I got my friend in Glasgow to make tapes for me. Of course having YouTube is great, too, because you can instantly access the voice, not like in the old days. It’s very absorbing though and I have to concentrate hard because if I get tired then sometimes I end up doing the wrong voice and you get Angela Merkel’s voice coming out of Clare Balding’s head!"

Nicola Sturgeon gets the Tracey treatment this time


Are there any impressions you wouldn’t attempt? "Yes because some celebrities have been done by other people so brilliantly. I can’t see myself doing Donald Trump because Alec Baldwin is doing such a great job in the US at the moment. I also have a rule that if it takes more than 90 minutes to transform into someone in make up, then we just can’t do it on our schedule. We’re not doing Star Wars!"

Have you ever had any feedback from the celebrities you’ve done impressions of? "Only Dame Judi Dench and she was very nice about it. She accepted an award shortly after the show went out last time and stood up and said, ‘Hello I’m Tracey Ullman’, so she’s very cool about it! It’s funny because when we were filming in Richmond last year I got recognised as Judi Dench. These people walked past and said, ‘Are they doing another Bond movie?’ It’s weird how they didn’t see the seams of rubber on my face!"

Do you ever get recognised for just being yourself? "Someone recently said to me on a train, ‘Are you Tracey Ullman?’ And I said, ‘Don’t be silly, why would she be on this train?’ But I do get recognised a bit more these days – the doorman at the BBC doesn’t think I’m Julie Walters any more, put it that way!"

Tracey Ullman’s Show is on Friday, February 3, 9.30pm on BBC1


Nicholas Cannon
TV Content Director on TV Times, What's On TV and TV & Satellite Week

I'm a huge fan of television so I really have found the perfect job, as I've been writing about TV shows, films and interviewing major television, film and sports stars for over 25 years. I'm currently TV Content Director on What's On TV, TV Times, TV and Satellite Week magazines plus I previously worked on Woman and Woman's Own in the 1990s. Outside of work I swim every morning, support Charlton Athletic football club and get nostalgic about TV shows Cagney & Lacey, I Claudius, Dallas and Tenko. I'm totally on top of everything good coming up too.