Caitlin Moran on Dustin Hoffman in drag and why Christmas means endless episodes of Game of Thrones

The Raised by Wolves writer discusses her childhood in Wolverhampton and why she decided to start writing for television

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Caitlin Moran on Dustin Hoffman in drag and why Christmas means endless episodes of Game of Thrones
Written By
Claire Webb

This is a tricky time of year. What’s your golden rule for enjoying Christmas?

All the rules are suspended. Random outbreaks of drinking, staying up late, huge quantities of meat, rampant children who’ve been given toy guns or – even more evilly – harmonicas. It’s anarchy for baby Jesus. I’m totally pro.

What – no downside at all?

The adverts make me cry: here comes another Christmas! I will cry at anything.

Do you have any festive traditions?

All seven of my siblings come over and we watch either all of the Lord of the Rings trilogy or all of the Game of Thrones box set, back to back, no breaks. We sit it all out, drinking cheap sherry and making amusing comments. There’s a running joke that I fancy Gimli the dwarf, but I much prefer Sam Gamgee. Good, reliable man.

Your sitcom, Raised by Wolves, is based on your childhood in Wolverhampton – how close is it to the truth?

The relationship between the two main characters is almost 100 per cent my sister Caz and 15-year-old me: an angry ginger introvert and a gobby, overly sexual brunette extrovert in too-close confinement. And the general chaos of being in a big family and having no money is true.

Why did you decide to write for TV?

From the Second World War until the 1960s, there was this idea of the progressive working classes. It didn’t matter if you were poor or had a labouring job, you would still be going to libraries and listening to the new Beatles record or avant-garde jazz, and you were an informed and intelligent member of society. All the working-class characters you see now are feral. Those people do exist, but on those same council estates there are fat girls reading Sylvia Plath – and I wanted to represent them.

What was Christmas like for you when you were a teenager?

We were very poor – I slept on a mattress on the floor – and I also fetishised the idea of having my own bedside lamp. I was pretty sure I’d get either a bed frame or a lamp for Christmas. Instead I got a gold-plated calligraphy set, an acoustic guitar, a bonsai tree made of semi-precious jewels, and a pink dressing gown. I would angrily write “DIDN’T GET A BED. AGAIN” in my diary, using the calligraphy pen. It took ages.

Your memoir How to Be a Woman is being made into a film. Who should play you?

Dustin Hoffman. I think 21st-century women have had to become drag queens, and Dustin was brilliant in Tootsie.

Raised by Wolves is on Monday 23 December at 10:50pm on Channel 4

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