There were many unlikely romances in Love Actually, but of all the affairs that we suspected might not last for long after the credits rolled (ahem, Colin Firth’s rebound engagement to his Portuguese maid), the relationship between the Prime Minister and Natalie seemed one of the most potentially wobbly.
We all hoped that their love was real and true, but the end of Richard Curtis’ classic Christmas rom-com left a lot of crucial questions unanswered. Would the shy Natalie (Martine McCutcheon) really be able to cope with life in the limelight as the girlfriend of the most powerful man in Britain (Hugh Grant)? Would the Prime Minister’s career survive the scandal of being caught snogging his former PA onstage at a school concert? These, friends, were things we did not know.
Rejoice, then, for Grant and McCutcheon have just filmed their scenes for the Love Actually reunion special – and their characters are not only still together, they’re married.
Screenwriter Emma Freud tweeted a string of behind-the-scenes photos from the reunion set over the weekend, offering a glimpse into what we can expect from Red Nose Day Actually.
“Early start,” Freud wrote on Sunday morning. “Huge filming day for #rednosedayactually”.
Freud then posted a photo of a Downing Street press conference scene, featuring dozens of extras dressed as political reporters.
If you’re wondering why Red Nose Day Actually features a Downing Street scene, and thinking, “Hm! It seems incredibly unlikely that Hugh Grant could still be in power, given that the last British PM to serve a 14-year term was the Earl of Liverpool between 1812 and 1827”, then you need to leave your cynicism at the door. This is Love Actually land, where anything is possible, and for that reason Prime Minister Hugh Grant is still a thing.
And it looks like he’s back to doing what he does best: making tug-at-your-heartstrings speeches from behind a podium.
It’s not yet known how Grant’s character will top his famously stirring speech from the Love Actually movie, which was widely interpreted – at a time when the Iraq War was at the forefront of everyone’s minds – as a dig at Tony Blair and George W. Bush.
Read more: Quiz: which Love Actually character are you?
But given that the “special relationship” between the UK and the US is even more contentious now than it was in 2003, we’re hoping that we’ll see the fictional PM sticking to his pledge to stand up to American “bullies”.
“Here he is,” tweeted Freud. “Our Prime Minister. Again. And still hot.”
Freud then shared a photo of McCutcheon as Natalie gazing beatifically up at Grant, and casually revealed that the pair are now husband and wife, writing: “Our pm is still married. And she’s still lovely.”
Finally, the screenwriter posted a photo of McCutcheon and Grant with Curtis (who happens to be Freud’s husband), describing them as “the PM, his wife and the writer who never worked out a good camera face”.
The special 10-minute Red Nose Day Actually sketch will air on 24 March as part of Comic Relief. Speaking in February, McCutcheon revealed that she and Grant had remained friends since starring in Love Actually together.
“We just have this banter,” she said. “We’re so different, we’re from such different backgrounds, but it’s why we work. He has a go at me. I have a go at him.
“He’s lovely, [and] we still DM and text each other, but I’m so excited to work with him again.”
McCutcheon added that she had only agreed to take part in Red Nose Day Actually on the basis that Grant was also involved. “I wouldn’t feel right doing it without Hugh,” she said. “When they asked me if I was doing it, I said ‘Is Hugh doing it?’ and apparently, he said, ‘Is Martine doing it?’”
The actor also shared her hopes for their characters. “I really hope they've had a couple of kids and I'd love him to still be doing his silly dancing, and for him still to be in Downing Street,” she said.
“I'm hoping the magic of it all will come back for something so lovely.”
Image: Rex Features