Deborah Ramsay, an actor whom I’d not ‘met’ before until I spotted her in ‘Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance’ on Lifetime TV in May this year. As the title suggests, the film is a ‘take’ on the romance of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex on the lead up to their wedding on 19th May. I didn’t expect it to be my cup of tea, I’m a royalist and I was excited about the impending nuptials of Prince Harry and Meghan – but a television movie depicting it? The idea wasn’t floating my boat!
How wrong could I be? Not only did I love the film and I admit I’ve watched it more than once, I was delighted to find an extraordinary actor playing the role of Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall. Deborah Ramsay shone in the role, although her screen time was limited in comparison to other members of the cast. She had perfect chemistry with the wonderful Steve Coulter as Prince Charles and was spot on in all aspects of the portrayal of one of my favourite members of the royal family.
I was delighted that Deborah agreed to an interview with Entertainment Views, so without further ado, let’s here from the lady herself…
Thanks for talking to Entertainment Views, you recently appeared on our radar when you played the role of Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall in the TV movie Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance. How did you prepare to audition to play such a prolific figure?
Thank you for this wonderful opportunity to be interviewed by Entertainment Views!
Preparing for the role of Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall was a delightful experience because I have admired her courage to follow her passion even in the face of adversity. Being British and Canadian was helpful in understanding Camilla’s essence and the importance of her role in Britain and the Commonwealth countries.
I watched numerous videos and read articles about Camilla who supports many causes and charities – domestic violence toward women, care and rehabilitation of working animals post war and celebrating Britain burgeoning wine industry to name a few. I explored our common ground – I’ve always been drawn to the British Royals ever since I found Queen Elizabeth II ‘s Official Coronation Commemorative books at home (my father brought them back after her coronation). I spent what seemed like hours, as a kid, savouring their splendour! Also, like Camilla, I have a passion for animals and their protection – I rode horses, ran a stable and understand the horsey set! Camilla’s sense of humour and ability to put others at ease are qualities that inspire me. She spoke so kindly when Meghan Markle became engaged to Prince Harry.
Can you share what life was like on set? What was the highlight for you personally while filming the movie?
Being on set was especially exciting for me in part because the Director was Menaj Huda who directed 39 episodes of Coronation Street – I’m a Corrie fan through and through! Also, working with the highly talented Parisa Fitz-Henley, Murray Fraser and Stephen Coulter was so much fun! We shared jokes between takes which made the 15+ hour days go so fast!
The highlight of this experience for me was the dedication of cast and crew to make the product spectacular!
I thought you were spot on as the Duchess of Cornwall. What’s your opinion of Camilla? Would you play her again if asked?
I would love to play Camilla again! Maybe she could visit Coronation Street?
Did you watch the Royal wedding? What did you think?
Of course, I watched the Royal wedding (I’ve watched all of them!) – loved every moment of it! It was moving to see how happy Prince Harry was and what a unique royal wedding it was!
Has acting always been one of your first loves?
I came late to acting and I’m glad that I can bring my life experience to the roles I play. I am excited there are more interesting and complex roles for women of a certain age now.
What are the key elements a script must have to pique your interest?
I love scripts which have well-developed characters showing the full spectrum of human emotion.
Finally, if you could offer one tip to budding up and coming actors, what would it be?
The only acting advice I have at this stage is to be very kind to yourself when you are creating – learn as much as you can about yourself so you can nurture your art.
I’m honoured that Deborah gave up her time for this interview and very excited to see what the future holds for her, I’ll definitely be keeping an eye out for her next projects. If you haven’t seen ‘Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance‘, try and catch it (it may be repeated on Lifetime TV channel) and see for yourself what a marvellous job Deborah does!
As an entertainment and lifestyle blogger I’m always asked about my favourites, especially when I interview performers and creatives, I put the spotlight on them and more often than not the cheeky devils turn the tables on me! What’s my favourite musical, favourite play, who do I aspire to be? So, in the same way that every good website has a FAQs section, I thought I’d let you all in on my favourite things!
I’ve named this blogpost A Few of my Favourite Things, not because The Sound of Music is top of the list in the musical theatre stakes – although I do have a place in my heart for the show and I loved the incarnation which toured fairly recently and starred the superb Pippa Winslow and Zoe Ann Bown.
I digress, Blood Brothers is my all-time favourite musical. I can watch it over and over, I could watch it back to back and never get bored. I jump at the gunshot every time, I cry at different scenes but I do always cry. My favourite songs from the show have never changed, ‘My Child’ and ‘Show Upon The Table’. Musical theatre numbers at their best, give them a listen!
Narrowly missing the number one spot are:
Phantom of the Opera (favourite Phantom is the mighty Ramin Karimloo!)
The Girls (‘Silent Night’ sung by Claire Machin is quite a moment…)
Mamma Mia (the ultimate feel-good musical and the current West End cast are insanely good)
Opera is a recent addition to my list of happy places and it’s all thanks to a chance viewing of The Mikado on Sky Arts. I saw opera star Yvonne Howard playing the role of Katisha and she blew me away. From there I was checking out her credits and finding myself gripped by classical opera in a way I never could have imagined.
My current favourite opera is Falstaff, I saw it at Garsington Opera very recently and it’s continued to resonate. I have a long-standing love affair with Gilbert & Sullivan operettas, they’ve been on my radar since I was a kid, however, Verdi’s Falstaff is something else. Comedy, poignancy and Italian language – it’s a treat for the eyes and the ears.
Farce is my bag, when it comes to non-musical theatre I gravitate towards a laugh out loud comedy. Ray Cooney is one of my best-loved playwrights and recently I had the great pleasure of reviewing his production of Move Over Mrs Markham. It’s the king of farce and with the perfect cast, which the version I watched this year undoubtedly possessed – makes for a perfect night at the theatre for yours truly!
I’m a Disney fan and a Harry Potter geek, so choosing a favourite film is nigh on impossible. All the Harry Potter films would be one answer, all the Disney films would be another answer.
If I move away from those particular passions and opportunities for geekery, I’d have to go with the hilarious American Pie movies. I can’t choose between them because the cast stays almost consistent throughout all four of the main films from the franchise. If there were major alterations to the line-up I think that would affect my judgement, however the proverbial dream team appear in them all (barring the lack of Chris Klein as Oz in the third film – which I might never get over!). I have met Thomas Ian Nicholas too, at a comic con – something else I may never get over. Truly.
An addition to my list of films which I can re-watch with alarming regularity is a surprise entry. I didn’t expect to love Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance anywhere near as much as I did. The royal family are portrayed by a cast of exceptionally talented actors and I can’t recommend it highly enough. You can read my review here: Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance Review
Favourite Television Programme
So tricky to narrow this one down so I’m going to pick one (or more!) from each genre. If we’re talking about Soap Operas then it has to be Coronation Street (closely followed by Hollyoaks). The Street is a continuing drama that never loses momentum and some of the old favourites still reside there.
One of my all-time favourite television dramas was Home Fires on ITV. The fact that it didn’t get a third series was bewildering and it still has a place in my heart. Unforgotten recently trumped it for Sunday night TV but I also love Call The Midwife, I can’t wait for the Christmas special. These dramas all have excellent casts who gel and make the show thoroughly watchable.
No modern day sitcom comes close to the classics I grew up watching. Hi De Hi!, You Rang M’Lord, Keeping Up Appearances. There’s nothing there to beat them, the opportunity to watch them on Gold is a god-send. Some Mothers Do ‘Ave ‘Em is equally up there with the best comedies in my humble opinion. They are all on my must-watch list and half an hour of any of these shows can turn my frown upside down.
The name Stephen Beckett is one that immediately springs to mind, the admiration dates back to The Bill, Coronation Street and now last year’s Prospero in The Tempest at Stafford Castle and most definitely Mamma Mia at the Novello Theatre – Bill Austin is a part that was surely made for him. I didn’t know he could sing either so he’s most definitely an all-rounder de force.
I also need to add the incomparable Daniel Taylor to the mix, not only is he my favourite Sammy in my favourite musical, Blood Brothers – he’s also the best Tommy Cooper impersonator ever. He looks good in a dress, I can attest to that as I saw him as an Ugly Sister in Cinderella last year… just to clear that up! Seriously though, I don’t think there’s anything he can’t do.
As for screen actors, I hand the accolade to Seann William Scott, he is also better known as Stifler from the American Pie films and I think he’s got one of the most wonderful faces! Even when he’s voicing the role of Crash in Ice Age, I can picture him recording the voice of the character. I think his forte is comedy, although when he’s in a more dramatic role he still holds my attention – what an actor!
The actor I first admired when I was a telly addict child is Jeffrey Holland, Hi De Hi! was a must-watch in our house and I was smitten with Spike. Jeff is a chameleon when it comes to acting, there’s much more to him that meets the eye.
If we’re talking on stage then Sarah Jane Buckley without hesitation. In musical theatre she is exceptional, in pantomime she’s perfection and I first discovered her when she played the role of the unstable and, let’s face it, quite scary Kathy Barnes in Hollyoaks. I’ve always felt that the sky’s the limit for this super-talented lady. Sarah Jane is my best-loved actress on stage and on screen, without hesitation.
Through watching Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance I discovered two actresses who were previously unknown to me and whom I now intend to keep my eyes peeled for in future. Deborah Ramsay portrayed Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall and Parisa Fitz-Henley played Meghan. I’m a royalist and their performances in particular resonated upon first viewing of what is now one of my favourite films and I am eager to see their faces on screen again soon.
A cheeky mention must go to the wonderful Judy Buxton too, she was one of my favourite actresses when I was growing up with watching some of the best sit coms on television and she is a power-house on stage, the epitome of versatility.
Too many to mention, however with my newly discovered love of opera the first names out of my mouth are those of Yvonne Howard and Marcus Farnsworth. The latter grabbed my attention and never let it go when he starred in the ENO production of Iolanthe at the Coliseum earlier this year. The former wowed me in The Mikado, Iolanthe and Falstaff, I’ve also heard her sing ‘You’ll Never Walk Alone’ in Carousel thanks to YouTube. Glorious!
I can’t finish the favourites post without a mention going to Ramin Karimloo, he was my first Phantom and he’ll always be my Phantom. Vocal ability that pushes boundaries, he’s a force of nature.
Photo Credits: Blood Brothers (Bill Kenwright Website), Falstaff (Clive Barda), Cast of Move Over Mrs Markham (Ray Cooney), Stephen Beckett in The Tempest (Stafford Shakespeare Festival), Sarah Jane Buckley as Mrs Lyons in Blood Brothers (with permission from Sarah Jane Buckley), Deborah Ramsay as Camilla in Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance (Lifetime TV), ENO’s Iolanthe (Clive Barda), Ramin Karimloo (Sourced from Broadway World)
I’m a self-confessed royalist and I’ve always been interested in the Royal Family. The recent wedding was naturally exciting from my point of view, although I admit I haven’t taken much notice of the engagement and the build-up. However, what did grab my attention was a part fictional/part factual movie about the pair’s courtship and the pathway to matrimony.
My fascination with the Royal Family is such that I was unsure about watching actors portray them. Surprisingly, it was a joy to watch though and I was drawn to the nuances of Harry and Meghan’s relationship. There was an overall vibe of positivity throughout, even when cracks in the courtship appeared and the ‘roles’ were cast brilliantly.
We are led beautifully through the couple’s first date and follow them to Africa (a glorious setting) and through the inevitable ups and downs of their ultimately blissful relationship. There’s a wonderful contrast towards the close of the film, too where we see the real Harry and Meghan during one of their walk-abouts.
Parisa Fitz-Henley plays Meghan and she’s certainly a ringer for the newest Royal, the on-screen chemistry she shares with Harry (Murray Fraser) oozes and replicates the chemistry I feel we see in the real life pairing. Equally there’s great casting where Prince William (Burgess Abernethy) and Kate (Laura Mitchell) are concerned and there’s some fantastic scenes with them both, also concentrating on Kate’s relationship with Harry as her brother-in-law. Charles and Camilla are also played fantastically by Steve Coulter and Deborah Ramsay – not only are they excellent look-a-likes, their personas are accurate too. There’s a stunning moment where Harry tells them they ought to have been allowed to marry in the first place and Camilla replies that this would have meant that he didn’t exist and the world would have been a far less wonderful place. We are led to believe that Harry has a good relationship with Camilla and I would like to hope that this fictional instance is not beyond the realms of possibility and that a conversation of this description might well have taken place in reality.
Pippa Middelton’s wedding is the pinnacle moment of the dramatization which is quite an ideal mid-point. The happy ending we all know is coming arrives perfectly without force. I have been inspired by this movie and certainly won’t feel dubious about watching more of them in the future. If you’re undecided about tuning in, my advice would be to watch it with an open mind and enjoy!