‘I couldn’t decide which I wanted,’ she says, embracing the experience, as she’s apt to do with just about everything in her life.‘So I ordered both.’Apart from her increasingly successful career as an actress – and she’s about to appear in the most hotly anticipated TV drama of the decade – she’s also the joint proprietor of Charlie Foxtrot Vintage, a shop in Southeast London that specialises in stunning period clothing.‘We all ate lunch together and sat around when we weren’t filming, playing an ancient Tudor board game – a bit like chess – that Mark Rylance introduced us to.‘On one occasion we were filming at a beautiful castle with a moat.Damian Lewis jumped in at the end of filming and he called us all in to join him.Claire is fantastic and funny and a ball of energy. She’s not like Anne Boleyn at all, which makes her performance all the more amazing.’During filming the two discovered that they had both studied acting at the Oxford School of Drama.
‘My mum called me Charity because the name came to her in a dream when she was pregnant with me,’ she laughs.
Charity Wakefield is early for our morning interview at London’s trendy Shoreditch House – a media and showbiz club that boasts a roster of famous members, the actress herself included.
She’s making the most of it, ensconced in a squishy leather chair in the lounge – a pot of tea to the right of her, a freshly made lemonade to the left.
Her previous roles have included some other corkers – she was the passionate yet vulnerable Marianne Dashwood in the BBC’s Sense and Sensibility, and she played the intelligent, independent Land Fothergill, the protagonist’s first big love in Channel 4’s adaptation of William Boyd’s brilliant novel Any Human Heart.‘There was a lot riding on those roles because – just as with Hilary’s work – there are a lot of fans of those books, too.
But, yes, there was something so special about Wolf Hall, and I think we were all aware of it.’Certainly, the £7 million project, which was filmed throughout last summer in cathedrals, country homes and castles all over the South of England and Wales, is TV drama-making on a grand scale.