What can you tell me about Miranda Hart from “Call the Midwife?”
—Spencer Upton, St. Louis, Missouri
You might not be able to tell from her award-winning role as Chummy Browne on “Call the Midwife,” but Miranda Hart, 41, is best known in the U.K. for her TV sitcom, “Miranda,” which has made the Brit one of her country’s top funny ladies.
“I always wanted to get into comedies since I can remember, literally,” Hart says. “I saw a comedian named Eric Morecambe, who was huge in the ’70s, and I thought, ‘I just want to do that.’ Then I remember making my mum laugh when I did an impression of my headmaster. I thought, ‘Wow, laughter is fantastic. I’ve made my mum laugh.’ And then at school, I think, I certainly tried to be the class clown… And, luckily, I was popular. Otherwise, I would have been the freak.”
But getting a break professionally was difficult and Hart worked as a secretary for a non-profit for eight years, while performing standup at the Edinburgh Festival every year. Slowly, she began to get jobs on shows like “Nighty Night,” “Smack the Pony,” “Ab Fab,” “Vicar of Dibley” and “Jack Dee’s Lead Balloon,” before finally landing her own comedy series.
Since then her career has taken off. In addition to writing “Miranda,” she recently authored a book called “Is It Just Me?,” which won the National Book Award for non-fiction. She has another in the works, which she is writing from the perspective of her dog Peggy.
Hart also brings her unique brand of comedy to fitness with the release of the DVD “Miranda Hart’s Maracattack,” an authentic fitness routine that combines exercise and comedy.
“In season three of my sitcom, I came across this idea of a maraca class, so I thought, ‘Hang on, new Zumba.’ Then I really started thinking about it and it’s actually a brilliant exercise routine because your arms get your heart going, so you don’t need to do too much. There’s lots of comedy sketches, my attitude to gyms and exercise generally, but there is some bona fide exercise routines with maracas.”