Julia: Sarah Lancashire transforms into cooking icon Julia Child in first look at HBO period series set in 1960s America

Coronation Street and Happy Valley star Sarah Lancashire tackles her first US role as pioneering TV chef Julia Child, in a new eight-part series on Sky Atlantic and NOW.

By Sophia Moir Published: 20 April 2022 - 3.59pm
Julia HBO Max

Stream Julia weekly on Sky Atlantic with NOW from 12 April.

Sarah Lancashire is a household name this side of the pond with famous roles in long-running TV shows including Coronation Street, Last Tango in Halifax and Happy Valley, but the former soap star is getting her teeth stuck into a meaty new US role.

The Oldham-born actress transforms into American cooking icon Julia Child for a new eight-part biographical TV series from the producer of The Marvelous Mrs Maisel which tells the story of how Child revolutionised both the kitchen and television in the early 1960s. 

Premiering on HBO Max, Julia arrived on Sky Atlantic and streaming service NOW in early April, with new episodes arriving weekly.

Here's everything we know about Julia, including who’s in the cast, what the plot is about, where to watch the trailer, first reviews and who else has played Julia Child.

When is the release date for Julia?

Julia will be available to stream on Sky Atlantic with NOW from Tuesday 12 April.

There are eight episodes in the series, with new episodes available every Tuesday until the final episode is released on 10 May.

Who's in the cast of Julia?

Sarah Lancashire as Julia Child

Sarah Lancashire as Julia Child

Sarah Lancashire (Coronation Street, Happy Valley, Last Tango in Halifax) swaps gritty crime dramas for something altogether lighter as she portrays The French Chef creator and TV chef herself, Julia Child.

David Hyde Pierce as Paul Child

David Hyde Pierce (Frasier, The Good Wife) plays Julia’s supportive husband and retired diplomat, Paul.

 

Bebe Neuwirth (Madam Secretary, Frasier) plays Avis, Brittany Bradford (Fear The Walking Dead) plays Alice, while Isabella Rossellini (Blue Velvet) plays French cookbook author Simone Beck.

Other cast members in Julia include Fran Kranz, Fiona Glascott, Judith Light, Robert Joy, Erin Neufer, Jefferson Mays, James Cromwell and Adriane Lenox.

Sarah Lancashire and David Hyde Pierce in Julia

What’s the plot of Julia?

Julia is inspired by Julia Child's extraordinary life and her long-running television series The French Chef, which premiered in 1963 and which pioneered the now popular genre of cooking shows.

Through Julia and her singular can-do spirit, the series explores an evolving time in American history - the emergence of public TV as a new social institution, feminism and the women's movement, the nature of celebrity and America's cultural growth. 

At its heart, this “dramedy” series is a portrait of a loving marriage with an evolving and complicated power dynamic.

Is there a trailer for Julia?

There is indeed. You can watch the trailer for Julia, and see Sarah Lancashire’s transformation into the TV chef, right here: 

Fans were very complimentary about Lancashire’s performance in the trailer, with one commenting: "Sarah Lancashire is one of England's most beloved and versatile tv actresses. This series is going to change the Landscape of her career, seriously I'm thinking she could get Oscar worthy offers after this and she really REALLY deserves it. 

"Get ready America, you're about to fall in love with her and us brits couldn't be prouder."

Another commented: "We all knew Sarah Lancashire wouldn’t disappoint, but I honestly think we’re in for a huge treat with this one. Bon appétit indeed!"

What are the first reviews for Julia saying?

In an extensive profile piece for Vanity Fair, Staff Writer David Canfield wrote: “Lancashire’s powerhouse performance marks both a staggering change of pace for the actor and a long time coming.” 

He continues: “In character, Lancashire’s voice is vividly suggestive of Child’s iconic vocal joie de vivre, but never sinks into mimicry. She inhabits the commanding physicality -that kind, gregarious presence flowing from room to room.”

The Hollywood Reporter's Chief TV Critic Daniel Fienberg also praised Lancashire's "towering central performance", noting: "Lancashire embraces all of what’s familiar about Child, and shows the discomfort and over-compensation that come from living your whole life standing out in that way."

Elsewhere, Amy Amatangelo from Paste calls the series a “delicious treat” that “hinges on Lancashire’s transformative performance". She writes: "[Lancashire] inhabits Child so fully from her very specific accent, to the cadence of her speech to the absolute infectious joie de vivre in her interactions with others."

Lastly, David Cote from AV Club calls the eight-parter "earnest and elegant... tasty TV comfort food".  We can't wait to get stuck in!

Sarah Lancashire as Julia Child in Julia

Has Julia Child been played before on screen?

Yes - this new series is a (very unofficial, of course) sequel to the 2009 Nora Ephron movie Julie & Julia,  as the TV show picks up right where the movie left off!

Julie & Julia starred Meryl Streep in an Oscar-nominated turn as Child, alongside Amy Adams and Stanley Tucci.

Watch Julia if you liked…

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Astronaut Wives Club, Mad Men, GLOW, Gilmore Girls, Pan Am, Good Girls Revolt, Masters of Sex. 

 

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