Doon Mackichan writing acting memoir

Tuesday 15th June 2021, 9:46am by Jay Richardson

  • Smack The Pony star Doon Mackichan is to publish a politically-informed career retrospective
  • The as-yet-untitled book will reflect her life and activism through her acting roles
  • She says: "I'm very much about campaigning against violence against women in the stories we tell"
Plebs. Flavia (Doon Mackichan). Copyright: RISE Films.

Doon Mackichan is writing a memoir, through the prism of her acting roles.

The Smack The Pony star, who is currently shooting the fifth series of BBC sitcom Two Doors Down, and whose further screen credits include Toast Of London, The Day Today, Brass Eye and Plebs, has also revealed that she will be returning as egotistical actor Steven Toast's agent Jane Plough when Toast Of Tinseltown begins filming this summer, the Channel 4 sitcom having transferred to the BBC and a US setting.

Details of the publisher of Mackichan's memoir, which she envisions being at least partly a feminist critique of prevailing television narratives, have yet to emerge. But the writer, actor and comedian claims that they've so far rejected several prospective titles she thinks are "hilarious", including Armageddoon, The Doonsday Book and Primadoona, which was also the name of her 2010 Edinburgh Fringe show.

"I'm working on a book at the moment and the chapters are going down with the roles that I've played" Mackichan told journalist Dan Worth on the My Best Teacher podcast. "So you've got the desperate prostitute or the cougar or the German air hostess ... the nice mum, whatever."

Mackichan, who recently appeared in Katherine Ryan's Netflix sitcom The Duchess, as well as several Alan Partridge series, Psychobitches, Pure, The Comic Strip Presents and Harry Enfield's Television Programme, is also writing about beginning her performing career as a stand-up in the 1980s and making some "terrible" light entertainment shows for television before she became established as an actor.

"I had some pretty bad experiences in light entertainment" she told Worth. "I never wanted to do the autobiography, celebrity thing. I wanted to make it a bit more political and have a bit more activism in it. I'm very much about campaigning against violence against women in the stories we tell.

"I make conscious decisions not to be in what I call 'crime porn', you're not going to find me running through a forest. I won't be in a story that has violent storylines. I just think we need to tell better stories... I'm keen to keep that but I'm not sure I want to do the whole book about that. I don't want it to be too niche, I still want it to be very funny.

"There's got to be your most embarrassing stories. The thing that we all share, the public humiliation, embarrassments about being alive and the things that we've done that we wouldn't dare tell anyone ... life's journey."

Smack The Pony won two Emmy Awards. But as recounted in her 2010 Fringe show, Mackichan subsequently experienced divorce, her father dying and her son's diagnosis with leukaemia in rapid succession.

"There's been some horrible things that have happened to us in the last few years and some wonderful things" she said. "So it's like looking at the journey and not being exhausted by it or defeated by some of the things that happen. I'm really keen to show people surviving in a happy way, trying to live life to your best without being weighted down by experiences that have happened to you, so that you end up on medication."

As well as confirming her return in Toast, Mackichan also revealed that she appears in the forthcoming Netflix animation Jacob And The Sea Beast from Moana director Chris Williams, in which she plays "a kind of shouty queen funnily enough, a bossy queen".

And she gave the latest indication that Good Omens, in which she played the Archangel Michael, is returning for a second series, saying that: "they're talking about another ... but everything's very slow at the moment because people are scared to say this is happening [for certain]."

Explaining how she fleshes out her roles, Mackichan added: "I tend to channel two or three people when I'm working on a character, thinking 'I've got a bit of her body language and I've got her tone of voice and I'm definitely going to use her clothes.'

"I began as a mimic, I'm nothing more than a sort of parrot really."


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