Jamal Franklin is an actor and writer …
Known for Giddy Stratospheres (2021), White Noise (2021) and National Theatre Live: King Lear (2018). We spoke to the actor about his latest gig ITVX comedy Ruby Speaking …
Please introduce yourself.
Hi, my name is Jamal Franklin I’m a London-based actor who grew up in Essex.
What do you do?
I’m an actor and singer. I’ve recently gotten into writing and directing with a trilogy of shorts I wrote over lockdown. One has been released already, White Noise, and the others are coming soon.
What are you working on now?
I’ve just finished filming an ITV series called Ruby Speaking. This follows Ruby (Jayde Adams) and her co-worker’s at Hellocom – a call centre in Bristol, as they get into the funniest of situations. It’s a brand new sitcom, it’s silly, so British in terms of its comedy style and super feel-good.
What’s your role?
I play Cameron Cole, an openly gay law student who’s moved to Bristol for Uni and has ended up working at the call centre. He’s confident, loyal, supportive, sarcastic and not afraid to speak his mind. He was a lot of fun to play and gave me a lot of chances to throw continuous side-eye which is always a win.
What are you watching?
There’s just so much to watch. I’m currently watching Drag Race and season 2 of Abbott Elementary – which is too funny. Quinta is incredible. I’m probably going to try and watch Donald Glover’s series Swarm next, a bit of a switch from Abbott.
What are you reading?
It’s bad but I’m not a massive reader. I really struggle to stick with books, but for the first time in a long time, I’ve actually just finished reading a book called The Black Flamingo by Dean Atta. It’s about identity/growing up Black and queer in the UK during the late Noughties. The story is written in verse which I found kept me engaged throughout as well as being relatable.
What are you listening to?
Currently on repeat is the Renaissance album by Beyoncé. Of course. But I’m very excited about Janelle Monáe’s new album Age of Pleasure.
Last thing you saw on stage?
For Black Boy’s Who Have Considered Suicide When The Hue Get’s Too Heavy. I missed it the first couple of times as it sold out so quickly, but this time I made sure I got in there as soon as I could. It was one of the best shows I’ve seen in a long long time. I think it’s the first time I’ve been able to fully see myself/someone like me on stage. I’ve never felt seen like that in theatre before. The stories, the references to black British culture, and the music. Everything was just amazing. The best thing about it was seeing a theatre in the West End filled with a predominantly diverse black audience. Also having my brother Eman in it helped (not that I’m biased).
Whose footsteps are you following in?
This is always a hard question for me. I remember doing a project at school, you had to do a presentation about your hero/who inspires you. My response has been and always will be my mum but that answer wasn’t allowed for some reason and I remember really struggling with it. In the end, I think I picked the Art Attack guy because I liked the show. But trying to think of a British Black queer plus size person to look up to, even just openly Black queer men in mainstream media at the time for me was non-existent. There’s slightly more representation now. although still not enough. People like Ncuti Gatwa and shows like Drag Race becoming more mainstream has helped a lot. So to actually answer the question, (sorry a bit of a tangent) but I’m following my own journey/path and wherever that leads. But actors like Daniel Kaluuya, Michaela Coel, and Ncuti have definitely inspired me.
I will be returning to a show I did last summer called Midsummer Mechanical’s which was nominated for an Olivier at the Globe. I’ll be reprising the role of Quince, as well as the exciting release of Ruby Speaking on ITVX
Whats your socials?
You can find me on Instagram & Twitter on @jamalafranklin
Ruby Speaking will be available to stream on Monday 22nd June on ITVX