Vardy v Rooney star Michael Sheen says the ‘Wagatha Christie’ libel case ‘put us all on trial’
Posted by  badge Boss on Dec 09, 2022 - 06:44AM
Michael Sheen plays Coleen Rooney’s barrister in Vardy v Rooney: A Courtroom Drama (Picture:

The actor, 53, on the Rebekah Vardy/Coleen Rooney/’Wagatha Christie’ libel trial, inspiring Welsh footballers and why he’s spending this Christmas Down Under.

Commiserations for the Welsh exit from the World Cup. What went wrong?

Well, nothing went wrong – we were the smallest nation at the [except ], so just getting there was an amazing achievement. That makes it something that seems more attainable to the next generation of Welsh players, so it’s brilliant.

Your rousing speech from A League Of Their Own sports show went viral…

All I did was a thing on a game show, so I was surprised when it went crazy. But I got asked to go and talk to the Welsh team, which was amazing.

You’re in Australia at the moment – how come?

I’m doing a production of Amadeus, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the Sydney Opera House with an orchestra, opera singers – this crazy big production.

I did the play 23 years ago as Mozart, and now I’m returning as [Italian composer and Mozart’s rival] Salieri, which seemed like a good part. I thought, when I’m old, I’ll do that. I guess that means I’m old.

Between you and David Tennant, who is Mozart and who is Salieri?

Unfortunately, that template doesn’t work in every circumstance…

You’re both back for series three of Staged. What persuaded you to give it another go?

We needed a really good idea to do it again, especially because the second series had a meta jump where we went, ‘Oh no, the first series wasn’t real, that was acting. This is real.’

So we can’t just do that again but I really liked the way we’ve gone here. This relies more on the structure because it’s quite complicated at times – that was slightly worrying because we knew we wouldn’t be able to get away with me and David just making fun of each other. But I doubt there’ll be another one.

Michael, who stars alongside David Tennant in Staged, says the third series is likely to be the last (Picture: BBC)

Which of you is closest to your screen persona?

I lose track of what we’re like in it because our personas change each time. We bring a lot of ourselves into it, although more exaggerated versions.

Famous people have cameos. Has anyone asked to appear?

I can’t say that has happened. We still find it hard to get everyone free at the same time. It was easier when everyone was in their houses because of lockdown, but everyone’s working again now. Maybe I’ve been wilfully blind and not picking up cues from people.

Who do you think would make a good cameo appearance in Staged?Comment Now

You’re very rude about Russell T Davies in the new series. Is this reverse psychology to get him to give you a part?

Russell T Davies (left) with Michael’s Staged co-star David Tennant at the Baftas in 2006 (Picture: Ken McKay/Shutterstock)

We were in youth theatre together so I’ve known him since I was 13 or 14. David knows him very well, of course, so we felt we could get away with that.

David is in Tokyo, doing an advert for cream cheese. What’s the strangest job you’ve ever done for money?

I’ve never done an acting job just for money, fortunately. But when I was at drama school, in the holidays I joined a crew cleaning out asbestos from a chimney. I felt like Gollum in The Lord Of The Rings.

A natural, small pool had accrued at the bottom of this chimney I was inside and I was thinking, ‘I’m sure this isn’t safe.’ There were these two twins in their 50s, who were the only people small enough to fit into the ducts, who went round this whole factory.

A holiday job had Michael feeling like Gollum from The Lord Of The Rings (Picture: Shutterstock)

At a certain time you’d hear this noise getting get closer and closer – it was them arguing with each other – it would pass over my head then disappear. It was a very peculiar job.

You’re appearing as Coleen Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne in Vardy v Rooney: A Courtroom Drama on Channel 4 this month. What appealed?

We only say what was said in court – that was really compelling. As an event, it seemed to say so much about us as a culture. Rather than just being about those people, it puts all of us on trial.

Essentially there are two working-class young women being shouted at by posh men and everyone really enjoyed it: entertainment meets class war. Football and tabloids… I found it fascinating.

Michael plays Coleen Rooney’s barrister David Sherborne (right), pictured leaving the High Court with his client and her husband Wayne in May (Picture: Shutterstock)

What do you have coming up?

I’ve got Best Interests with Sharon Horgan for the BBC coming up in the spring and the second series of Good Omens next summer.

I’m directing a series for the BBC – the first time I’ve directed anything to do with the camera. I’ve been developing it for a long time – we were ready to do it earlier, but the pandemic shut things down.

What are your Christmas plans?

I will be in a very odd state for Christmas this year. We’ll be tech-ing on Amadeus up until Christmas Eve, we’ll have Christmas Day and Boxing Day off, then it’s our first performance on the 27th, so it’ll depend on how the play is going really. It’ll be peculiar because it’ll be blazing hot sunshine.

Staged series three is available now, first on BritBox

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