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The most famous woman you’ve never seen

She’s worked with some of Hollywood’s biggest stars but Morwenna Banks is more famous than them all – just ask your kids!

Photo Credit: Ray Burmiston.
When it comes to showbiz, Morwenna Banks has done it all – acting, stand-up comedy, producing and writing, most recently penning hit film Miss You Already, starring Toni Collette and Drew Barrymore.
She’s received countless awards and is a legend of the British entertainment industry – but she also has a surprising secret identity that has made her arguably more famous than Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie.
Here, Morwenna talks Toni Collette, Drew Barrymore, cancer and Mummy Pig.
Where did you get the inspiration for Miss You Already?
I wrote Miss You Already in response to witnessing the diagnosis of several women with breast cancer. Most of them were young women, in their 30s, with partners and young children. It felt important to try to write about their journey.
Why did you decide to write that story? What did you hope it would achieve?
I wanted to create a fictional character who had a complicated response to her diagnosis. Not everyone who is diagnosed automatically becomes a saint or a hero. I wanted to achieve some sort of realistic portrayal and one that people could either relate to or try to understand. I also wanted the film to be funny.
Why do you think it touched such a chord with fans?
The response has been so wonderful especially from people who have been affected by cancer either through diagnosis or being a family member friend or colleague. Unfortunately cancer is very prevalent and many people have shared this experience. People have responded to being able to laugh and cry together.
What did you think of Toni Collette and Drew Barrymore’s performances in Miss You Already?
Toni and Drew were frankly amazing. They rock. They were honest and funny and their chemistry together was very real. You believed they were best friends and their real life friendship grew throughout filming. Toni is a very rare actress – she will take risks with material and with her performance. Not many actresses would have handled the lack of vanity required to give such a truthful performance. And Drew’s performance was so honest and touching and yet restrained at the same time – after all her character is bearing the sadness of finding it hard to conceive and then undergoing IVF and all without the support of her closest friend. It made people want her for their BFF.
Toni Collette and Drew Barrymore in Miss You Already.
What would you say to women who think cancer can’t happen to them?
Well I wouldn’t want to scare anyone, but I would say that cancer has no respect for age or general healthiness. So please be breast aware – do frequent checks and if you think anything has changed or doesn’t feel right then get medical help RIGHT AWAY. The sooner you act the better it is from every point of view.
How did you become involved in Peppa Pig?
Ha! Peppa Pig – well I am very proud to be Mummy Pig (and Madame Gazelle , Dr. Hamster and many other parts) . I had previously worked with the creators Neville Astley and Mark Baker and their Producer Phil Davies. They created beautiful animated films like The Hill Farm and Jolly Roger and a BBC series The Big Knights. One day they showed me the design for Peppa and asked me to help do voices for a test pilot (animatic) they were making. I said “of course” but privately I thought “this will never work”. Could I have been more wrong?
Peppa Pig and her family.
Did you expect it to become an international phenomenon?
No - I don’t think any of us expected it to be such a massive hit. It’s incredible. I feel very pleased for the creators because they are just lovely!
Does your voice ever get “recognised” when you are out and about?
Well I sound rather different to Mummy Pig in real life – but it’s often the parents who will recognise me from other work and tell their children. Who generally look a bit confused! The parents often ask me to record a Mummy Pig phone message for their little ones and that works best.
What did your children think of your Mummy Pig role? Were they fans of the show?
My children were and are fans of the show. It started before one of them was born. They were probably most impressed when we went to the Peppa Pig theme park outside of London – and my voice came out of a huge Madame Gazelle. They are a little older than the general audience now - but honestly - you’re never too old to enjoy Peppa – that’s the beauty of it.
*For your chance to win a $1000 shopping spree, enter the Miss You Already competition now!
  • Morwenna Banks photo credit: Ray Burmiston

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