Daisy is an MVP of my life. She’s an actor, a comedian, a voiceover artist and now show creator, writer, executive producer, BAFTA nominee, BOSS. She found her strongest stride yet as a woman in her 40s with 2 young children. I love her. In addition to her gigantic talent, no one is more real or more fun. Forever my girl, forever want some of what she’s having.
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Daisy Haggard: The Eternal Optimist
I’m completely in love with you because I have interviewed amazing, talented, successful people that I admire and think are amazing. I never know where to look in Zoom. Do you have that problem? I’m staring at your little square. Everything is amazing. The things that I’m interested in, you did everything and you are killing it, especially as a woman in her 40s with kids. Do you feel like since turning 40, everything has exploded for you in a way that a lot of times we don’t think it’s going to once you get older?
I do. I definitely thought everything was over like with work. All of that is on its way down. I was pushing what else around in the park. Keep thinking of ideas but nothing is happening, and then I turned 40, slowly I kept on pushing and knocking on the same old doors. It was nice because when something did happen, when you’ve got a commission, there was such a sense of, “I have been here before, and let’s not count any chickens. Let’s take each day as it comes. I know that you can be back on that gym reception in an instant.” If something good happens as you get older, your feet are definitely on the ground.
I look at you as my touchstone for dreams coming true in the biggest way. When I met you at drama school, I was working in a bar as a hostess and you were on a gym reception.
It was for ten years and I kept quitting it, thinking that I was going to get what they wanted. I’m like, “Bye. I’m leaving,” and then I would be like, “I’m back again.”
Your career has been very successful from the get-go. I should say that when we went to drama school together. You have been working steadily.
I was lucky. I did work. It took time, many years before, I was at the gym reception. It was steady and slow, having a kid and thinking, “It’s not going to happen.” I was very lucky. I’ve got backed by Two Brothers who produced Back to Life and they said, “We’ve never got any ideas.” I kept pitching them terrible ideas and then had a baby. I thought, “That’s happened. It’s all gone wrong.” I came back in with another idea. I was lucky that they believed in it, and I decided to shoot these tiny little takes to tape. That takes to tape became Back to Life. It happened from there.
Is that what happened? I didn’t know.
I worked on the idea for four years for Back to Life, for instance. Around that time, I’ve got the audition for Breeders. I just had a baby and I was grumpy. I was rocking my foot in a car seat angrily during this audition and thinking, “What’s the point?”
Did you get it?
I’ve got these two jobs. When I thought, “That’s never going to happen,” then it happened.
It’s the best. I remember when you were pregnant with Wendy, your second, I had had my second, we had our babies pretty much on the same timeframe. You were saying that you didn’t know what you were going to do. You want us to write your own stuff but you had been writing for a while.If something good happens as you get older, your feet are definitely on the ground. Click To Tweet
I have been writing for years but no one ever wants to take it.
I like hearing stories like that because they are, at least for me, much more inspiring and real than the people that are like, “I wrote this thing in a week,” and it didn’t just happen.
It took absolutely years. Remember when we are at the drama school, I wrote plays. That was terrible. These things keep on going. Letting go of some of the perception of yourself and worrying about certain aspects, you are obsessed with it. I was obsessed with it in my twenties. Giving it up and thinking, “Fuck it. Can I be myself? I can only be like this.” I probably know I could go back from work in a bar and I would be all right. Letting go of some of that stuff, oddly, relaxes you and makes you more yourself. When you are more yourself, more likely that good stuff will happen rather than bad stuff.
I feel like the word authentic is cheesy but it’s actually real.
You’ve only got one life. You’ve only got one you. Don’t worry about trying to be something else.
Two Brothers believed in you. They knew you from a different project.
I have done some stuff with them. I did some cartoons, voices and things. We had done a pilot for something else. They were like, “If you’ve got any ideas.” At that same time, I’m developing Fleabag with Phoebe. I pitched, and then when I found the right thing, it took ages to get the momentum to get this thing shot. They put some money behind shooting this ten-minute as I said.
Once we had shot it, that was how we sewed Back to Life because it was such a specific and unusual tone. That was the way that we could sell it because that was what’s it’s like. This is what you would see on the paper but you wouldn’t necessarily know how you could have a far gag right after a very serious moment about someone being murdered. That’s the way it worked.
I like that you said that you pitched to them for years bad ideas. They keep on believing in you and being like, “No, not that. Next.” I have seen the first season of Back to Life. I loved it so much. Not because I love you and you are my dear friend but because the subject matter is brilliant. I have never seen that before. A woman comes out of prison, after how many years?
She comes back, she reenters life in her hometown and it’s crazy. It’s the way people perceive and treat people who have done their time, who paid their dues and come back. It’s hilarious and very poignant. It’s so good. I haven’t seen the second season yet but it’s aired. I need to watch.
It’s on Showtime.
I’ve got Showtime because of you.
The second season came out. It was finished here and then it came out on Showtime.
You’ve got all the confetti of accolades. People are loving it.
It’s going well. It’s so funny when you write something because you forget that anyone is going to watch it. When you write it, you pour your heart and soul into it. You spend two years doing that whilst running around changing nappies, coming back and grabbing then added to the show with my kids coming in and trying to show those bombs to the editor. You would then forget. You get it out. You are trying to get this thing out. Suddenly, you are like, “People are going to watch it. They are going to have an opinion.”
It’s good to be that frazzled and busy. You don’t have time to worry about any of that.
One thing when you are creating something, it’s important to not think about what other people are going to think of it. You have to go, “What do I want? How do I focus on what I want? How do I want to tell this thing or this story?”
It is so inspiring to me that you wrote, created, produced, and star in it. It’s the best. Do you love being involved in every aspect of it?
I do. I also love being involved in things like the hours and saying, “Why does that have to be horrible? Why do we have to suffer? Why do people do not want to see their families, not have a meal or not get home? I try and fight for us to make sure we always have weekends. I may do shorter days sometimes. That’s done.
For Breeders, how many seasons? Is that going on three?
I’m about to do the 3rd of November 2021.
You are about to get really busy again. I’m sad that I never saw you at the National. I remember when I was there and I would go to see shows there. That was in 2012.
You were good at going to the theater. Wouldn’t you, Jenny?
I liked it. I loved it. I’m sorry, I didn’t get to see you in that.When you're creating something, it's important to not think about what other people are going to think of it. Click To Tweet
I get to see you all the time.
All I ever want to do is hang out, play, and laugh with you. One of my favorite memories at drama school was I loved being a clown with you in clown class. I feel like it’s so fun. Your clowns were always so funny and real, and that has been what has sustained your career and marked it. There was an article written about you where you said that you don’t think you would have the career you have if you did Botox.
That was funny. I would never talk about that but he definitely tried to get me to talk about that.
He tried to get me to talk about, whether I had to have surgery. I didn’t say that off the cuff. I was a bit like, “I thought we were just having a chat.”
That’s really weird. He brought it up. That shines a whole different light on you.
I say, “Never say never.” My point was I definitely have made a living on having a very malleable face. I think it that so.
Your hubby does the music for Back to Life, right?
Is it fun to work together in that way?
It’s really lovely. My dog is about to join us if you hear these.
I love your dog.
It was quite sweet when I was writing. I had to write on the bed through the pandemic and I would hear him below me. He had mingled to the studio for his writing.
It’s annoying. They have a way. I feel as though during the pandemic, I had multiple arguments with Art because I was out with the kids in our very tiny place. He somehow commandeered the whole bedroom with the desk and the setup. People would be having meltdowns and I would get, “Shhh.” It’s amazing he’s alive.
I was like, “You are joking.” I was writing the show, executing it and all that on this bed.
That’s where the magic happens in all arenas.
When I’m doing a press conference or any press stuff, I have to pretend it’s a sofa. I didn’t have anywhere to go.
It does. I feel like that headboard works for that. You are like I’m sitting on my sofa and this is how I work.
I try and sit like that and pretend it’s a sofa bed but it’s my totally my bed. I have been known to be under the duvet. He’s downstairs to this amazing studio full of equipment and I’m up here with my old broken laptop trying to write stuff.
You could hear it while you were writing the show.
He’s so sweet. Joe is amazing. He doesn’t do many projects. The reason he doesn’t do many is that he gives so much to it. He gives you a bank of music before you start filming so that everything you edit, you can edit to the music.
That’s so cool and very romantic.
I’m really romantic because he’s actually very inspiring. He would make listen to things.
Would he? I have to say the music is excellent. I have paid special attention because I know he wrote it and that you were so proud of him. You should be. He’s awesome.
I don’t think I would ever get service like that again.
I don’t think so. It’s going to have to be him forever.
One story that I love about you that you told me was about your house in Greece and how you’ve got it, which was basically you were appalled by the expense of trying to even redo something at your house in London. You tell it better.
Did you know those NCT we call? That’s when you have a baby and you do a class with some people that have had the baby at the same time.
Mommy and me group.
When you are about to have a baby, we do these NCT classes where they talk about childbirth, and then you meet people who are having babies at the same time, you are going to have a gym with them, and then you lose touch with them.
What I love about England is you go and have a drink with them.
We do. We have a glass of wine.
That sounds way more humane than the way we do it.
We have one of those meetings after the babies when there was wine. I had a conversation with a woman who was having her kitchen made one foot bigger. That was going to cost a certain amount of money. I was like, “Why one foot?” One foot was probably quite a long length but it didn’t feel like it warranted the cost. I was like, “With that exact money, you could buy housing in Greece and renovate it.”
That story, to me, is indicative of also what’s happened to you with the show. You are like, “I’m going to do this and it’s going to work out because it just is.”
You can write the stuff and have a bash. Haven’t you?
Will do. That is super inspiring, cool and awesome. I want you to be my avatar. If I could send little daisies out into the world like me, I would like to do that because I remember when you didn’t have a ton of money, things were tight and stressful. You did it and it’s worked.
My parents were like, “What have you done? You haven’t gotten next month’s mortgage.” I was like, “I don’t know but it feels right.”
You and your family enjoy it so much because it has been a long time.
You would have come.
I want to.Everyone has some darkness in them. No one's perfectly sugar-coated sweet. Click To Tweet
You have to. It’s lovely and special. Finally, it’s paying for itself because I have Airbnb.
It’s brilliant. Anyone I know who’s done Airbnb, it has been tremendous, not right away but eventually.
There was a bit of a time where I was like, “Why have I got a house in Greece when I can’t afford my own mortgage here? What am I doing?”
In the grand master plan, in the scheme of things, it was so smart.
I’m quite stupid.
I’m an optimist.
That is a great boon that you are an optimist. That carries over in your homes but also in your work because Back to Life is essentially a lot about optimism.
Mary is an optimist. She’s absolutely the most, eternal optimist at the heart of a show. That’s about something so dreadful. That works with it too because it contrasts so much with what she’s done.
It does. If the people who can keep serving it up naturally, not fake stuff but the real optimism. That’s part of the reason why Ted Lasso is so successful, great and people love him. There is something so wonderful to be said about people who are truly optimistic who believe the best about themselves, others and march forward with that without cynicism, which is so easy to do.
Humanity cares about kindness.
You do really care about kindness. It’s not nuff. I hate it too and I hate it with the other word authentic but it’s real. You are the nicest person but you are horrible in some ways though. You are evil and awful but you are so sweet.
I love it and it shows to have the heart thing. They have to have a big heart. That’s why I like my past life because it’s very dark. I love darkness but I don’t see why you can’t have darkness with the hearts or why can’t you have it all because everyone is a bit of everything, aren’t they? No one is perfect and sugar-coated sweets. You can be mad at somebody.
You can be an optimist who murdered somebody who wants to assimilate back into society and have friends, a life, parents and all the stuff. It’s so good. Breeders, how was that? Has it been so fun?
Yes, it’s fun to do. It’s lovely because I don’t have to write it or edit it.
Does that seem easy in comparison?
I get to show up, learn my lines and get my makeup done. It’s great.
Does doing Back to Life and the success of it giving you more confidence to think ahead into the future about projects you want to do and new ideas? Is that exciting for you?
It has but then sometimes it makes you nervous because you look ahead and you think, “What if I never come up with something again? What if that was that?” There’s quite a lot of fear around that because you worry about how are you going to come up with something. The fact that it took so long to get the characters and get it right took me years. It’s quite daunting looking ahead because you think, “I’m definitely not one of those people who can write loads of things.” You can do loads but I’m definitely like a one-egg-in-my-basket kind of girl. If that egg cracks, that were years ago. I’m that girl. I remember having a very funny conversation with a big American agent. They were like, “You could do this and that.” I was like, “The thing about me is I want to do 1 or 2 things.” There was just silence. They were like, “No one ever said that.”
It looks like they have to scale their brand. They have to do all the keys.
I immediately thought I was going to get anxious. I thought, “If I’m with you, I’m going to have to choose. You are going to think I should be doing films. I won’t be able to write one of them well.”
I have to say because this is me marveling at you. Episodes were one of my favorite series of all time in general. The whole thing I thought was wonderful. Your character, in particular, at the Head of Comedy, the least funny person, not one funny bone in her body, was so good. Myra, right? It was so good. Did you love that character from the get-go when you read it?
I did. I remember I auditioned for another part in Episodes but I have my eye on it all along. I was like, “That’s the fun one because you can also learn your lines. You can go in and put a stupid face.” I didn’t know how it was going to do it then I went to the audition.
It’s so amazing because as I go through life, I have met people who truly have what I would consider no sense of humor. Not one thing and it’s hilarious. It’s amazing when you do meet people and the fact that she’s the Head of Comedy.
When you make it with no sense of humor, sometimes you are like, “I can’t work out what it is about someone. Why do I feel so weird around that? Why do I feel so strange? What’s happening?” I’m like, “They haven’t got a sense of humor.”
That, and then the other people that I have met, the people who don’t make fun of themselves are amazing to me. The people who I know truly love me who aren’t being assholes to me can make fun of me accurately. There’s nothing funnier to me than people who I know.
It’s safe because actually, it’s the greatest love. Isn’t it?
I feel seen and understood. If somebody is actually making fun of me and I feel they are being cruel, that’s not okay. That’s horrendous. People who I feel are doing it with nothing but heart makes me feel. I feel adored but when you meet people that you like, and then maybe tease them a little.
I was thinking people who struggled to laugh at anything is a no-go for me. Keep earnestness. There are posy guys. There are guys that you spend their twenties thinking, “I can’t believe I was in a room with that person. ”
If you are not seeing the world the way I am, which is funny and we are all funny.
Sometimes when people change, you meet them. That’s why it was so lovely when I saw you that time. We both fell about, giggling, pissing out of each other, and go telling out stories. Some people get older and they get more serious. I have gone more the other way. I have gone more crazy.
Coming back to what we were saying, the more you don’t care, you are you, and letting yourself shine has been amazing. You were also nominated for a BAFTA for Breeders. Was that exciting?
It was exciting. I was so surprised. I thought that doesn’t happen to me.
I’m not surprised.
I’m not surprised because obviously, Breeder’s writing is beautiful and that is a great show but I was on my own part. That was lovely.
It’s time to dress up.
It was although I’ve got scared because they brought out clothes to wear. You meet a stylist and she brought some clothes. I took a photo of me in one of the dresses and Joe was like, “It’s fucking disgusting.” I was like, “I know, right?” I look awful. It was made to feel like, “This is fashion. You should wear this.” I look dumpy and frumpy.
I saw you wear a white suit.
It was amazing but there were 1 or 2 things I put on. I’m sure I’m going to get in trouble for that. Anyway, there was one of the things that Joe was like, “Why would you wear that?” I was like, “I know.”
Have you seen Call My Agent!?
No, I haven’t. Is it amazing?
It’s amazing. I love it so much. It’s one of my favorite shows. I’m late for the game or to the party because I just finished it. There is an episode with Juliette Binoche and in the episode, she’s going to open the Cannes Film Festival and she goes to the stylist to choose what she’s going to wear. It sounds remarkably like this and it’s hilarious.
It’s plenty, especially in 2020. I’m out of the loop, so sometimes I’m looking at things going whoops. It’s really uncool. “Can I not wear leggings and a jumper?” I can see everyone around me going, “Daisy, you are never going to make it to a magazine.” Anyway. It was quite funny. I’ve got to wear a white suit.
You look so chic and I thought you looked gorgeous.People who struggled to laugh at anything are a no-go for some people. Click To Tweet
It was funny when my mum phoned and she said, “I was watching the BAFTA. You didn’t win. I have never seen a woman more visibly relaxed. You looked like you are so happy.” It’s true because I realized that some part of me was like, “I don’t want to stand up, walk or speak.” My whole body was so relaxed.
I love your mother. I love stories about your mother and her accent. Everything about it. She’s one of my favorite characters that you have done privately with me since I have known you. You know what I have never seen of yours that I read about that you have done. I need to go watch it. I’m a huge fan of Rose Byrne. I love her. I saw that you did a show with her.
I did that film. She was lovely. You should watch that. She said, “I worked with title comedy. It was a brilliant guy called Dan Mazer.”
What’s it called?
I Give It a Year.
I can’t wait to see it. You are going to shoot Breeders in November 2021. After Breeder, do you know if you are going to start a new project?
No. I’m basically going to spend the next six weeks trying to chill and be around a nest, hang out, try and think about ideas, plot and plan a bit and have a bit of space. I’m going to do Breeders until March 2022. I don’t know what’s in store.
It was nice that you have these next six weeks to nest.
We moved and we have done work I want to cook too much food for the family and unpack lots of the stuff.
I’m glad that you still have boxes after the move. That’s how I roll.
There are so many boxes of doom that need to be thrown directly in the bin.
What do your daughters think about it? Have they been to set? Did they like it?
Elsie woke me up holding a bit of script and she was all in that. Her face was thunder. She said, “Is this the thing you are saying?” It was the lines of Back to Life. It had lots of swear words on it. She was like, “I cannot believe you, Mummy. You brought us up to be nice girls and you are going to work this.”
What do you say?
I was like, “It’s early. It’s writing. It’s creative. I’m sorry.” She sits there and for any script she finds, she’s grabbing. She’s sitting on the loo with a copy of a script looking at it and shaking her head slowly.
I love how well she can read.
She can read quite well but she’s full of shame. It’s funny because people are like, “Do your kids think that?” All she says is like, “You swear and you have a bad head.” It shows you do. It was like, “When are you going to wear beautiful dresses and say beautiful things?”
When can that happen?
I love that. I thought I was going to be a cool mom. I like ‘90s rap so I played for the kids and they were horrified by the language, and they are like, “What is this? I’m not allowed to say any of those words.” I was like, “You are not. That’s right.” Clive is singing some of it but he silences the blip part of that. I like that.
I love the idea of that. That’s very good.
You are so very good. I love you and I’m so grateful that you talk to me. Anyone in my circle, you are the person that had two kids and you had a career but you hadn’t stepped into what it is now until you did it for yourself. That’s amazing.
BAFTA nominee, writer and creator. I can’t wait to watch Season Two of Back to Life on Showtime. Your hair is amazing. Next time we need to meet up in one of the cities that we like, make fun of each other and have wine or drink.
Will you come to London?
I’m dying to come to London.
I’ve got a spare room now. It’s all sorted for you. It’s ready.
I will be right there.
I can’t wait.
I keep saying inspiring but you are to me. I want to cuddle you and watch you do more and more things because it’s so good. I love you. Thank you.
I love you. Thank you so much, Jenny.
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