‘Rebekah Vardy is a warrior’: the Game of Thrones star who’s turning Wagatha Christie into a serious drama

‘Rebekah Vardy is a warrior’: the Game of Thrones star who’s turning Wagatha Christie into a serious drama

Natalia Tena as Rebekah Vardy in Vardy V Rooney: A Courtroom Drama on Channel 4.
Natalia Tena as Rebekah Vardy in Vardy V Rooney: A Courtroom Drama on Channel 4. Photograph: Marcell Piti/Channel 4

From learning to flush loos in fake nails, to acting like her face was frozen by cosmetics, taking on the trial of the century wasn’t easy. Ex-Harry Potter actor and wildling Natalia Tena tells all

The Wagatha Christie trial was easily the most high-profile court case of 2022. You didn’t need to follow football to know who Rebekah Vardy was; you didn’t have to be on Instagram to know that Coleen Rooney, suspecting someone was selling nuggets from her personal life to the Sun, smoked out the culprit by fabricating a story, restricting her follower count to one person – Vardy – then waiting for it to hit the showbiz pages. The whole escapade had so many dimensions – suspense, panto, bitter enmity – and played so well in a culture that routinely pries into the lives of footballers’ wives and girlfriends, that by the time Vardy brought her astonishing libel case against Rooney, there can’t have been anyone in the country who wasn’t getting in the popcorn and waiting for the self-sabotage to play out.

Well, turns out there was one person: Natalia Tena, who now plays Vardy in Channel 4’s Vardy v Rooney: A Courtroom Drama with a self-respect that dignifies the whole saga. “I didn’t know who these women were at all,” the 38-year-old actor tells me in a restaurant in London’s King’s Cross. She’s openly vaping indoors so I already love her, but I don’t quite believe her. “Seriously?” I ask. “But they’re so famous. And this has been going on since 2019.”

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