The Handmaid’s Tale kept a major Hollywood cameo secret from viewers

This article contains spoilers for episode 11 of The Handmaid’s Tale

Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid's Tale (C4, EH)

**WARNING: CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE HANDMAID’S TALE SERIES 2 EPISODE 11**

The Handmaid’s Tale has called upon Oprah Winfrey, one of America’s most loved and inspirational figures, to supply a pivotal voice cameo that galvanises June into action.

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In the 11th episode, entitled Holly, which aired in the US on Wednesday, June (Elisabeth Moss) is in search of a car so she can flee Gilead once and for all.

When she finds one, and debates whether or not to drive away, the car radio crackles into life and Winfrey’s unmistakable voice comes through the airwaves, sharing news about economic sanctions against Gilead and increased refugee admissions for people escaping the regime.

If anyone was able to flee the repressive Gilead, escape to Canada and help the resistance effort, of course it was going to be Winfrey.

Bruce Springsteen’s Hungry Heart then begins to play, symbolising June’s need for love and affection in a cruel world, as Winfrey continues: “Now a tune to remind everyone who’s listening – American patriot or Gilead traitor – that we are still here. Stars and stripes forever, baby.”

This slice of hope spurs June on to try to escape, and so becomes a crucial moment in the episode.

Winfrey has been a vocal fan of the series since it began last year, and presented The Handmaid’s Tale with an Emmy for best drama series in 2017.

“We’d heard Oprah was a fan of the show, and had a story idea, and thought, wouldn’t it be wonderful if … So we asked and she said yes, and it was a lovely, easy process,” The Handmaid’s Tale showrunner Bruce Miller told The Hollywood Reporter.

“The radio segment she recorded was inspired by the free radio of the Allies from World War II. It was an absolute honor to have Oprah featured on the show, and especially thrilling as she was the one who presented us with the Emmy last year.”

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The Handmaid’s Tale airs at 9pm on Sundays on Channel 4