Anna Chancellor

Anna Theodora Chancellor (born 27 April 1965) is an English actress. She has received nominations for BAFTA and Olivier Awards.

Anna Chancellor
Anna Theodora Chancellor

(1965-04-27) 27 April 1965 (age 56)
Richmond, London, England
Years active1990–present
RelativesAsquith family

Background and early lifeEdit

Chancellor was born in Richmond, England to barrister John Paget Chancellor, eldest son of Sir Christopher Chancellor, and Mary Jolliffe, a daughter of Lord Hylton. The Chancellor family were Scottish gentry who owned land at Quothquan since 1432.[1]

Chancellor was brought up in Somerset and educated at St Mary's School, Shaftesbury, which is a Roman Catholic boarding school for girls in Dorset, but left at sixteen to live in London, later describing her early years there as "quite wild".[2] In her early twenties, she became the partner of the poet Jock Scot (1952–2016), with whom she had her daughter, Poppy Chancellor (born 1988), while still studying at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. She separated from Scot a few years later.[3] She got her first acting role on television playing Mercedes Page in Jupiter Moon, a BSkyB soap, then came a commercial for Boddingtons beer and a part in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994),[2] playing Henrietta (nicknamed "Duckface") opposite Hugh Grant.

Chancellor is a niece of the journalist Alexander Chancellor, a great-granddaughter of Raymond Asquith (son of the liberal prime minister H. H. Asquith), a first cousin of both the actress Dolly Wells[4] and the model Cecilia Chancellor, and a second cousin of the actress Helena Bonham Carter.[5][6] Chancellor herself has spoken of her lineage, stating:

You've worked hard all your life to be an actress, or whatever you've done, and that is what's presented to you. Don't you think that's embarrassing? I don't enjoy being quoted as saying that's who I am, because I don't feel that is who I am.[6]


Chancellor played Julia Piper in series 1 to 3 of Kavanagh QC. She also played Caroline Bingley in the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, and Questular Rontok in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005). The same year, she joined the cast of BBC One television drama series Spooks as Juliet Shaw. She has also appeared in The Vice, Karaoke, Cold Lazarus, The Dreamers, Tipping the Velvet and Fortysomething, and had a leading role in the satirical black comedy Suburban Shootout. In 2011, she took a supporting role in the BBC thriller serial The Hour, for which she was nominated for the British Academy Television Award for Best Supporting Actress.[7]

In 1997, she was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in Stanley, and in 2013 she was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress for her part in Private Lives.


She is a patron of the London children's charity Scene & Heard.[8]


Year Film Role Notes
1990 Killing Dad or How to Love Your Mother Barmaid
Jupiter Moon Mercedes Page TV series (50 episodes: 1990–1996)
1992 Inspector Morse Sally Smith TV series (1 episode: "Cherubim and Seraphim")
1993 Agatha Christie's Poirot Virginie Mesnard TV series (1 episode: "The Chocolate Box")
Comedy Playhouse Julia TV series (1 episode: "The Complete Guide to Relationships")
Century Woman in Police Station
1994 Four Weddings and a Funeral Henrietta ‘Duck Face’– Wedding Two
Tom and Viv Woman
Staggered Carmen Svennipeg
Princess Caraboo Mrs. Peake
Ellington Ally Stone TV film
1995 Pride & Prejudice Caroline Bingley TV mini-series (6 episodes)
Kavanagh QC Julia Piper TV series (11 episodes: 1995–1997)
1996 Karaoke Anna Griffiths TV mini-series (4 episodes)
Cold Lazarus Anna Griffiths TV mini-series (3 episodes)
1997 FairyTale: A True Story Peter Pan
The Man Who Knew Too Little Barbara Ritchie
1999 The Vice Dr. Christine Weir TV series (5 episodes)
Heart Nicola Farmer
2000 Longitude Muriel Gould TV film
2001 The Cazalets Diana Mackintosh TV series (6 episodes)
Crush Molly Cartwright
2002 Tipping the Velvet Diana Lethaby TV series (2 episodes)
2003 Georgian Underworld Narrator TV series (1 episode: "Queer as 18th Century Folk")
What a Girl Wants Glynnis Payne
Doc Martin and the Legend of the Cloutie Nicky Bowden TV film
Fortysomething Estelle Slippery TV series (6 episodes)
The Dreamers Mother
Confused short
2004 Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London Lady Josephine Kenworth
Blue Dove Maria Bishop TV series (2 episodes)
Roman Road Maddy Bancroft TV film
2005 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Questular Rontok
Feeder Doctor short
The Best Man Dana
A Waste of Shame: Shakespeare and His Sonnets Anne Hathaway TV film
Spooks Juliet Shaw TV series (15 episodes: 2005–2007)
2006 Breaking and Entering Kate
Rebus Amanda Morrison TV series (1 episode: "Let It Bleed")
The Secret Life of Mrs Beeton Elizabeth Dorling TV film
Suburban Shootout Camilla Diamond TV series (11 episodes: 2006–2007)
2007 Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars Irene Adler TV film
St. Trinians Miss Bagstock
Christmas at the Riviera Diane TV film
2008 My Family Zelda Nobbs TV series (1 episode: "Cards on the Table")
Agatha Christie's Marple: Murder Is Easy Lydia Horton TV film
2009 Law & Order: UK Evelyn Wyndham TV series (2 episodes)
2010 Critical Eye Laura
Silent Witness Chief Supt. Karen Somerville TV series (2 episodes)
Miranda Helena TV series (Series 2 episode 4: "A New Low")
2011 Hustle Wendy Stanton TV series (1 episode: "As Good as it Gets")
Waking the Dead Lucy Christie TV series (2 episodes)
Lewis Judith Suskin TV series (1 episode: "The Gift of Promise")
Hysteria Mrs Bellamy
Hidden Elspeth Verney TV series (4 episodes)
The Hour Lix Storm TV series (12 episodes)
Nominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Broadcasting Press Guild Award for Best Actress
2012 More Afraid of You Lucy short
Pramface Janet Derbyshire TV series
We'll Take Manhattan Lucie Clayton TV film
2013 A Touch of Cloth Hope Goodgirl TV series (2 episodes)
How I Live Now Aunt Penn
Confessions of an Alien Abductee Narrator
Noël Coward's Private Lives Amanda Prynne
2014 Death Knight Love Story Miria Animated, motion-captured, fan-made Machinima film
Inside No. 9 Elizabeth Episode 1, "Sardines"
Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond Second Officer Monday TV series (4 episodes)
Penny Dreadful Claire Ives TV series (1 episode)
Downton Abbey Lady Anstruther
Testament of Youth Mrs. Leighton
Mapp and Lucia Emmeline 'Lucia' Lucas TV series (3 episodes)
2016 The Carer Milly
Shetland Phyllis Brennan TV series (4 episodes)
New Blood Eleanor Davies TV Series
Grantchester Aunt Cece Christmas special
Flowers Aunty Viv TV series (1 episode)
This Beautiful Fantastic Bramble
2017 Love of My Life Grace
The Crown Lady Rosse
2018 Ordeal by Innocence Rachel Argyll TV series – 3 episodes[9]
Trust Penelope Kittson TV Series – 5 episodes
The Happy Prince Mrs Arbuthnot
Benjamin Tessa
Nativity Rocks! Clara Hargreaves
2019 Death in Paradise Ciss Dacre TV series – 1 episode
For Love or Money Carol
Timewasters Victoria TV series – 5 episodes
Pennyworth Dr. Frances Gaunt TV series – 7 episodes
2020 The Split Melanie Aickman TV series [10]
Come Away Eleanor Murrow Film
2021 The Watch[11] Lord Vetinari TV series



Chancellor has played the role of Ann Smiley in BBC dramatisations of the John le Carré novels Call for the Dead,[14] Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy,[15] The Honourable Schoolboy[16] and Smiley's People.[17]


  1. ^ Burke's Landed Gentry, eighteenth edition, vol. I, ed. Peter Townend, 1965, p. 130
  2. ^ a b Tim Lewis, Anna Chancellor: 'My life was chaotic. But it's turned out OK' dated 21 August 2011 at Retrieved 23 October 2016
  3. ^ "Jock Scot, performance poet – obituary", in The Daily Telegraph online dated 15 April 2016. Retrieved 23 October 2016
  4. ^ Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, vol. III, 2003, pg 3046
  5. ^ Jane Merrick, The world's most elitist election Hereditary peers will vote to fill the gap created by the death of Lord Ferrers dated 9 December 2012 at Retrieved 23 October 2016
  6. ^ a b Gerard Gilbert, Anna Chancellor has a lineage worthy of Tatler but... dated 20 December 2014 at Retrieved 4 October 2016
  7. ^ The Hour at IMDb
  8. ^ "Patrons & Founders – Scene & Heard". 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  9. ^ Billen, Andrew (31 March 2018). "Ordeal by Innocence: the Christie Mystery that almost got away". The Times (72497). Saturday Review. pp. 4–5. ISSN 0140-0460.
  10. ^ "Meet the cast of the Split series 2".
  11. ^ "New casting announced for TV adaptation 'The Watch'".
  12. ^ "Review of Private Lives". Time Out. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  13. ^ Masters, Tim (27 June 2014). "Anna Chancellor leads Royal Court revolution". BBC News. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  14. ^ "The Complete Smiley: Call for the Dead". BBC. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  15. ^ "The Complete Smiley: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy". BBC. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  16. ^ "The Complete Smiley – The Karla Trilogy, Book 2: The Honourable Schoolboy". BBC. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
  17. ^ "The Complete Smiley - The Karla Trilogy, Book 3: Smiley's People". BBC. Retrieved 7 August 2020.

External linksEdit