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Hannah Waddingham Makes Christmas Magic in Apple TV’s Music Special (REVIEW)

2023 has proven itself to be the year of Hannah Waddingham. Fresh off Ted Lasso‘s successful final season, to hosting the Oliviers (the UK’s version of the Tonys), and going viral for dueting “Shallow” with Jason Sudeikis a week ago, among many more projects, Waddingham doesn’t seem to be slowing down. She has skyrocketed to fame in the last few years – rightfully so – and her latest venture, Hannah Waddingham: Home for Christmas, continues to prove that Waddingham’s time in the spotlight is just getting started.

It’s an ode to the Christmas specials of days of yore like The Dean Martin Christmas Show – just Waddingham, a big band, some of her nearest and dearest, and her big voice. For those who may be new here, Waddingham’s career started in theatre, and when you hear her voice, you understand why. Her presence commands the stage – and it’s no wonder people so desperately want her back on stage, with rumors flying around whether she will star in the West End production of The Devil Wears Prada as none other than Miranda Priestly.

But that’s a discussion for another day.

God as herself, erhm, I mean, Hannah Waddingham in Hannah Waddingham: Home for Christmas (COURTESY APPLETV+)

This Christmas special feels like the warm hug we’ve been needing for the last few months. It’s joyful and full of talented folks giving it their all on that stage, and, most importantly – showing just how much Waddingham means to them. It’s one thing to have your own Christmas Special with talented singers and dancers who were hired just for the gig – but it’s a completely different thing when the people on stage with you are people who have been there for you throughout different stages of your life, and that’s what makes this special, so well, special. Whether it be Ted Lasso cast members sharing the stage with her, Leslie Odom Jr, Sam Ryder, Luke Evans, her beloved London Gay Men’s Choir, or The Fabulous Lounge Swingers, it’s clear that those who participated were the people she loves most, and love her most too.

It even features the sweetest cameos from her nine-year-old daughter and her parents. It’s a poignant moment in the special as Waddingham tells the audience that she spent many a day during her childhood in one of the boxes at the London Coliseum, as her mother Melodie was an opera singer there, and how much it means to her to have her daughter sit in that very same box before she dedicates her performance of “O Holy Night” to both her mother and daughter. It’s a stunning performance that will fill your eyes with tears at the beauty of her voice and the beauty of the moment itself.

James Lance, Brendan Hunt, Billy Harris, Kola Bokinni, Hannah Waddingham, Phil Dunster, Luke Evans, and Sam Ryder in Hannah Waddingham: Home for Christmas (COURTESY APPLETV+)

When you’ve won an Emmy for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series, you can’t not lean into comedy when given your own special. There are bits sprinkled throughout the 45 minutes like fresh falling flecks of snow, and they’re goofy, and fun, and charming – they sum up pretty much everything Waddingham has shown herself to be in these last few years. It’s a pleasure to watch from start to finish.

Waddingham doesn’t need to prove herself to anyone anymore. Hannah Waddingham: Home for Christmas makes that clear.

Rating: 10/10

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