Behind the scenes

Inside the Big Issue: The filth and fury of Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley

This week we bring you two beacons of British acting. Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley are quite the duo.

Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley. This week's issue is on sale now!

This week we bring you two beacons of British acting. Olivia Colman and Jessie Buckley are quite the duo. On screen or off screen, they are like firecrackers in each other’s presence. When they get together with The Big Issue, to be in their presence – even on a video call from different parts of the country in advance of their new film, Wicked Little Letters – is to witness a friendship full of energy and love.

The friendship was sealed when they shot The Lost Daughter for Netflix, for which they each received Oscar nominations – Best Actress (Olivia Colman) and Best Supporting Actress (Jessie Buckley). Because they played the same character at different times in her life, they didn’t share any scenes, but that didn’t stop them connecting.

“It was a joy,” recalls Buckley. “We were in Greece together for about a week with each other and immediately hit it off. We were like, what is the naughtiest thing we could do? We didn’t get to work together, but we would drive home together then have chips and wine outside our little huts.”

Many a strong bond has been formed over chips and wine. And this one seems special. “We spend New Year’s together, don’t we?” Olivia Colman says.

Their characters spend most of their new film Wicked Little Letters at loggerheads. The film contains some of the most brilliantly inventive swearing seen on screen. And the wild thing is that it is all based on real events that took place in a 1920s seaside town when anonymous poison-pen letters, crafted with a seriously foul-mouthed flourish, caused a sensation.

This inspires Colman and Buckley to suggest new, extremely fruity, slogans to market The Big Issue. To find out exactly what they said, do as you’re told and buy The Big Issue this week!

What else is in this week’s Big Issue?

Fighting homelessness with mixed martial arts

There are many ways to fight homelessness but, in one small gym in Sheffield, mixed martial arts are the unique weapon of choice. MMA might conjure up images of UFC and cage matches but a small project led by Sheffield Hallam University researcher Mark Hollett is using the sport to battle drug and alcohol addiction, help people kick on in employment and education and prevent homelessness.

The one-hour-a-week class at Sheffield Shootfighters Mixed Martial Arts Club works with national services including Shelter and the NHS. For some participants, the one-of-a-kind project has been a lifeline.

Lamenting the potential loss of The Body Shop

The Body Shop founder Anita Roddick was passionate about social issues. Her husband Gordon Roddick helped Lord John Bird establish the Big Issue in 1991, providing the initial funding to get the magazine off the ground. Now, the high street titan has collapsed into administration. Big Issue founder John Bird laments its potential loss in this week’s magazine.

The graffiti left by Russian soldiers that send a sombre message about the ongoing conflict in Ukraine

In a bar in the north-eastern city of Kharkiv, Russian soldiers left behind the message: “It ain’t a war crime if you had fun.” A note in the village of Velyka Komyshuvakha reads: “There are two answers to all questions about Ukraine 1. It didn’t happen 2. They deserved it. Both are correct.”

Two years on from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which began on 24 February 2022 and has no end in sight, devastation has been left in areas under occupation by the Russian army. As Ukrainians clean up the mess left behind – the bombed buildings, looted belongings and unidentified bodies – many have noticed that the Russian army is leaving behind a large amount of graffiti. It tells a grim story.

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