Imelda Staunton is back in the spotlight tonight as The Crown takes centre stage at this year’s BAFTA TV awards.


The actress played the late Queen Elizabeth in the Netflix drama’s final two seasons, adding another highly dignified figure to her catalogue of film and TV roles – a list which also includes Lady Maud Bagshaw from Downton Abbey.

Yet, while Staunton has played plenty of serious characters on screen, her stage appearances are a very different story.

“In the musicals I’ve done the women are all mad,” said Staunton at a press event for her upcoming musical Hello, Dolly!, “I mean they’re seriously possessed.”

It’s certainly hard to argue with her, considering her West End profile includes Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd and Mama Rose in Gypsy, both of which won her an Olivier Award for best lead actress.

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However, her new role in in Hello, Dolly! has “none of that anger and despair” in fact, Staunton continued: “It’s lovely to now be embracing something that is really joyful and really funny. It’s been quite a long time since I did something funny.”

Imelda Staunton, Olivia Colman and Claire Foy in The Crown
Imelda Staunton, Olivia Colman and Claire Foy in The Crown. Netflix/Justin Downing

The Jerry Herman musical is coming to the London Palladium this summer with the help of director Dominic Cooke and a 40-strong cast.

Cooke teased that the show would have a huge number of lavish sets and costumes, especially as the original '60s staging was “produced at the height of the Broadway musical” and was very extravagantly designed. “We can’t do it with two chairs and a polo-neck sweater!” joked Staunton.

Meanwhile, the Harry Potter actress spoke about her nervousness in bringing an “old musical to a new audience". She admitted that someone in the run-up had asked her, “are you playing Dolly Parton?”

“I was very flattered.”

Read more from Imelda Staunton on: "The Crown was sad but Hello, Dolly! is joyful and funny."

When and where can I see Hello, Dolly! at the West End?

Hello, Dolly will be running at The London Palladium for a limited 10 week run from Saturday 6th July to Saturday 14th September 2024.

Tickets are already on sale at LW Theatres and TodayTix from £20.

Check out our full guide for how to get Hello, Dolly! tickets for more.


We've got so much more theatre in the Going Out section. Try the best open air theatre shows and how to get tickets to Inside No.9 Stage/Fright. Plus our review of Two Strangers.