Children in Need: Olivia Colman to sing Portishead song for starry album

By Mark Savage
BBC music reporter

image captionOlivia Colman [L] will cover Glory Box, sung by Beth Gibbons [R], a story of a doomed romance

Olivia Colman has covered Portishead's brooding classic Glory Box in aid of Children In Need.

The Oscar winner is just one of several stars who has lent their voice to a covers album, recorded at Abbey Road, in aid of the charity.

It also features two Doctor Whos: David Tennant, singing The Proclaimers' Sunshine on Leith; and Jodie Whittaker, who covered Coldplay's Yellow.

Whittaker's track is out now, with the full album due next month.

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Colman's appreciation of mid-90s trip-hop was hitherto unknown, but Portishead's debut album Dummy would have been a fixture in student digs while she studied at Cambridge University and the Bristol Old Vic theatre school.

While she isn't known for singing roles, she did sing Something's Gotten Hold of my Heart in Yorgos Lanthimos' 2015 film The Lobster. Colman was also part of her school choir and played Sarah Brown in a production of Guys And Dolls at her sixth form college in Norfolk.

"She has a beautiful singing voice," her drama tutor Paul Hands told The Times [subscription] earlier this year. "We haven't really seen that voice in public yet."

The actress also delivered a half-sung, half-spoken performance in London Road, the 2015 film version of a musical about the serial killer Steve Wright.

'I can hold a tune'

The unusual score required Colman and her co-star Tom Hardy to perform songs using the rhythms and pitch of speech, rather than using a top-line melody.

"It was really scary," she told the Evening Standard. "I can hold a tune, but I'm not under any impression I'm a proper singer."

The 45-year-old, who made her name with comedic roles in Peep Show, Rev and Twenty Twelve, won an Oscar earlier this year for playing Queen Anne in The Favourite. She is also about to star as Queen Elizabeth II in the Netflix drama, The Crown.

Coincidentally, Colman also filmed several scenes in the Somerset town of Portishead while starring in the ITV crime drama Broadchurch.

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The Children In Need album will be released on 1 November, with at least £1.50 from each sale going to charity.

Called Got It Covered, the full tracklist is as follows:

  • Helena Bonham Carter - Both Sides Now (originally by Joni Mitchell)
  • Jim Broadbent - Blue Moon (Rogers and Hart)
  • Olivia Colman CBE - Glory Box (Portishead)
  • Shaun Dooley - Never Grow Up (Taylor Swift)
  • Luke Evans - Smile (Charlie Chaplin)
  • Suranne Jones - Symphony (Clean Bandit)
  • Adrian Lester OBE - I Wish (Stevie Wonder)
  • Himesh Patel - All These Things That I've Done (The Killers)
  • David Tennant - Sunshine on Leith (The Proclaimers)
  • Jodie Whittaker - Yellow (Coldplay)
  • Ensemble - It Must Be Love (Labi Siffre)
image copyrightBBC / Children In Need

A BBC One documentary about the making of the record will be broadcast on BBC One ahead of the annual Children In Need fundraiser in November.

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