On my radar: Will Poulter’s cultural highlights

The actor on his globe-spanning appetite, his love of Kojey Radical and his admiration for how comedian Bo Burnham dealt with the misery of lockdown

Hammersmith-born actor Will Poulter, 29, made his screen debut aged 13 in Garth Jennings’s British comedy Son of Rambow. He won a Bafta rising star award for crime caper We’re the Millers and his other film credits include The Revenant, The Maze Runner, Detroit and Midsommar. On TV, he’s starred in Black Mirror: Bandersnatch and Dopesick. He now takes the lead role in Agatha Christie’s Why Didn’t They Ask Evans?, adapted and directed by Hugh Laurie, which launches Thursday 14 April on BritBox.

1. Album

Reason to Smile by Kojey Radical

Kojey Radical.
Kojey Radical. Photograph: PR handout

I first saw this east London artist five years ago at a Little Simz gig and he astounded me with his showmanship. He was relatively new but had the stage presence of someone who’d been around for decades – I’ve been a fan ever since. He’s always produced music at a high level but seems to be coming to the fore with this new album. His lyrics are beautiful, somewhere between poetry and rap. You could print them out and hang them on a wall.

Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson

2. Novel

Open Water by Caleb Azumah Nelson
I just read this book and it brought me to tears several times. My sister bought it for me and I’ve been recommending it to everyone. It won the 2021 Costa first novel award and the fact that it’s his debut is kind of nuts. It’s a look at identity, specifically race and the evolving nature of masculinity. It switches between first, second and third person narration and it’s gorgeously written. He’s currently working on the follow-up, Small Worlds, due to be published next year. I can’t wait.

3. Food

Arcade Food Hall, London

Hero at Arcade Food Hall, London.
Hero at Arcade Food Hall, London. Photograph: arcadefoodhall.com

I eat out a lot – it’s my biggest indulgence. This food hall is opening in New Oxford Street later this month and it should be a great place to go this summer. It’ll play host to nine new restaurants, including Thai, Middle Eastern, Japanese, Indonesian street food, American diner food and Saborcito, the little sister to Michelin-starred Spanish restaurant Sabor. I love to hop around the globe culinary-wise and food halls like this are perfect because they let you travel the world in an afternoon. Well, if you’ve got a big appetite like me.

4. TV

The Ipcress File (ITV)

Lucy Boynton and Joe Cole in The Ipcress File.
Lucy Boynton and Joe Cole in The Ipcress File. Photograph: ITV

I’m really enjoying ITV’s adaptation of Len Deighton’s spy novel. The 60s film was obviously a classic, so there was pressure on this series, but it lives up to it. . The period detail is terrific, it’s cinematically beautiful and the Dutch camera angles are interesting. Joe Cole had big shoes to fill but this is another example of his range. He’s brilliant opposite Tom Hollander, who plays his boss – the way they play dialogue tennis is wonderful.

5. Comedy

Bo Burnham: Inside (Netflix)

Bo Burnham: Inside.
Bo Burnham: Inside. Photograph: Netflix

Bo Burnham is a phenomenal talent. His material about mental health is incredible and what he did with this Netflix special during lockdown was so creative. It tapped into so many relatable emotions, making me laugh and cry. I must have seen it six times now and I couldn’t love it more. I was reared on comedy: my dad shared sketch shows with me, everything from the Two Ronnies to Catherine Tate. I kind of look at comedians like rock stars.

6. Fashion


Kimeze. Photograph: Ekua King

This black-owned eyewear brand was set up by artist Christina Kimeze and her sister, Clare. Their beautifully crafted designs celebrate their African and British heritage: it’s a direct response to the fact that most eyewear is geared towards Caucasian features. I started wearing specs a couple of years ago and got into sunglasses, too. It can be a slippery slope but the styles here are reasonably priced. Shades don’t help me go incognito, unfortunately, unless they’re big enough to hide my eyebrows. They tend to be the giveaway.


Michael Hogan

The GuardianTramp

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