No one — and it seems like not even the cast and creative team — expected Ted Lasso to take off the way that it has. The first season of Apple TV Plus's new comedy, about a folksy American football coach hired to guide a floundering British soccer team, was met with universal acclaim when it debuted in 2020 during the darkest days of the pandemic. The show preaches kindness and good sportsmanship, which has been sorely needed in the last year, and star Hannah Waddingham, who plays British football team owner Rebecca, understand its importance.
With the debut of season 2 approaching on July 23, we caught up with Waddingham for a short conversation on the show's impact, what to expect from the new slate of episodes, and whether or not Ted's biscuits taste as good on set as they seem in the show.
This conversation has been condensed and edited for clarity.
Knowing how universally beloved the show became during its first year, did you feel any kind of pressure going into season two?
It was something that I was worried about going into season two. It was a massive pressure and I was worried it would suck out the funny. But literally, one scene in and we were all there. It was an effortless ease. One of the first scenes we did was myself, and Jason Sudeikis, and Juno Temple, and Jeremy Swift, and it was like a pinball machine. At one point, I checked in with Jason and I said, "Is she [Rebecca] here again?" And he said, "You don't even realize how she just is now." I thought, "Well, we don't have to worry about that!" That's the beauty of having the creator there to just go, "Shut up, get on with it!"
The team has been relegated to a lower division and Rebecca is sort of at odds personally. Going into the new episodes, where do we find the AFC Richmond crew?
Season two will take every single character, no holds barred, to different highs and lows that none of you would have thought we would delve into. We find Rebecca knowing who she is more than ever as a boss, genuinely standing there like a lioness, and loving her team. The other side of that is her floundering like a lunatic in the dating game, which has been so much fun. That juxtaposition of "Don't mess with my team, but if you ask me what I'm doing tonight at a date, I don't know" is charming, and I wanted the audience to feel like they want to grab her phone sometimes and be like, "Girl, what are you doing?"
Obviously, the show has amassed a large fandom over the last year. Why do you think people have reacted the way they have?
It's such an antidote that we even feel ourselves. We feel what a precious jewel and lifeline season one was. We'd all be talking on our group chats and saying, "This is a whole vibe." This is something none of us knew we needed, especially at the most horrific time in our lives, and none of us could possibly have imagined it.
What do you love about playing Rebecca?
I love that she's absolutely warts and all, and I love that the audience can see that she's been through the mill and is trying to pick herself up out of that pot and breathe again. I love that the audience can see that she's a strong woman who is struggling in her own life. Especially when we meet her again in season two, I love that she doesn't know what she's doing at all, but is desperately trying to hide it.
Are the biscuits any good?
I'm sure you've read that they were awful in season one. But the props department has taken the very unsubtle, global hints I've given and now they're actually really nice. I've been putting them into scenes where I didn't normally have them. I've got them on the go. She's an emotional eater, which was my choice. I was teasing Paul Cripps, who is the head of our art department. I was like, "Yeah, it only took a whole season for them to be edible," and he was like, "Well, we didn't know you were going to eat them so much…And actually eat them, not spit them into a bucket!"
Ted Lasso season two premiers on Friday, July 23, with one new episode released every Friday for 12 weeks.