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Celia Diana Savile Imrie (born 15 July 1952)[1][2][3] is an English actress. She is known for her television roles with Victoria Wood, including in the spoof soap opera sketches Acorn Antiques (1985–87) and the sitcom dinnerladies (1998–2000). She won the 2006 Olivier Award for Best Supporting Performance in a Musical for reprising her role in Acorn Antiques: The Musical.

Celia Imrie
Born Celia Diana Savile Imrie
(1952-07-15) 15 July 1952 (age 65)
Guildford, Surrey, England
Occupation Actress
Years active 1973–present
Children Angus Imrie

Described in 2003 as "one of the most successful British actresses of recent decades",[4] Imrie's film roles include Hilary and Jackie (1998), Bridget Jones's Diary (2001), Calendar Girls (2003) and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012).


Early lifeEdit

Imrie was born in 1952 in Guildford, Surrey, the fourth of five children of Diana Elizabeth Blois (née Cator) and David Andrew Imrie, a radiologist. Her father was from Glasgow, Scotland.[5][6]

Imrie was educated at Guildford High School, an independent school for girls in her hometown of Guildford, followed by the Guildford School of Acting.


Imrie's varied career spans films, television and radio drama, and the theatre. Her film credits include Nanny McPhee, Hilary and Jackie (playing Iris du Pré) and the 1997 film of The Borrowers where she played Homily Clock. Other films include Bridget Jones's Diary, Calendar Girls, Highlander and, as Fighter Pilot Bravo 5, in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. In 2007 Imrie appeared in St Trinian's.

Television series to feature Imrie include The Nightmare Man, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Casualty, Absolutely Fabulous, The Darling Buds of May and Upstairs, Downstairs.

In the 2000 miniseries of Gormenghast, she played Lady Gertrude. She also appeared in the 2005 BBC television drama Mr. Harvey Lights a Candle, playing the part of a teacher taking an unruly party of pupils on a daytrip to Salisbury Cathedral. She starred in the BBC sitcom, After You've Gone (2007-08), alongside Nicholas Lyndhurst and in the ITV1 drama Kingdom (2007-09), with Stephen Fry. Her part in After You've Gone has, whilst being critically acclaimed, been described as "criminally squandered".[7]

In 2013, she guest starred in the BBC's Doctor Who where she played the villainous Miss Kizlet in The Bells of Saint John.

In 2005, she received very positive reviews for her US stage debut in Unsuspecting Susan.[8][9] In 2009, Imrie appeared in Plague Over England in the West End, a play about Sir John Gielgud, and received positive reviews for her performance,[10] That same year, she appeared in the world premiere of Robin Soans' Mixed Up North, directed by Max Stafford-Clark.[11] In 2010, she appeared alongside Robin Soans in a production of Sheridan's The Rivals.

Her radio work includes parts in BBC Radio 4's No Commitments and Bleak Expectations. In early 2007, she narrated the book Arabella, broadcast over two weeks as the Book at Bedtime.

In May 2016, she made her US television debut in the DC action-adventure series Legends of Tomorrow. Since September 2016 she has starred as Phyllis in the FX series Better Things.

Work with Victoria WoodEdit

Imrie is perhaps best known for her frequent collaborations with Victoria Wood [12], with whom she appeared in TV programmes such as the sitcom Dinnerladies and sketch show Victoria Wood As Seen On TV. It was on the latter show in 1985 that she first played the part of Miss Babs, owner of Acorn Antiques, a parody of the low-budget British soap opera Crossroads.

These sketches became such a British institution that the show was turned into a the West End musical in 2005 starring most of the original cast. Imrie won an Olivier Award in 2006 for her performance.[13] The character has curly blonde hair, and is known for her frequent parodic flirtations with the customers, and her interactions with the housekeeper Mrs Overall (portrayed by Julie Walters).


Imrie was featured in the BBC genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are? in October 2012 and discovered that an ancestor on her mother's side was William, Lord Russell, a Whig parliamentarian executed for treason in 1683, after being found guilty of conspiring against King Charles II [14]. William, Lord Russell's grandmother was Lady Frances Howard, who was the central figure in a scandal during the reign of King James I involving the murder of Sir Thomas Overbury. Celia Imrie is also a 13th-generation descendant of Henry Carey, 1st Baron Hunsdon, suspected illegitimate child of Henry VIII.

Personal lifeEdit

Imrie lives in London and in Cowes on the Isle of Wight.[15] She has a son, Angus Imrie, with the actor Benjamin Whitrow.[16] Angus appears as her on-screen son in Kingdom and has acted in other productions and is studying drama and performance at the University of Warwick.[17]

When Imrie was fourteen, she was admitted to St Thomas' Hospital suffering from anorexia nervosa. Under the care of controversial psychiatrist William Sargant, she was given electroshock and large doses of the anti-psychotic drug Largactil. Imrie has written that Sargant still features in her nightmares.[18]

Imrie was the guest on Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4 on 13 February 2011. On 18 October 2013, she was awarded an honorary doctorate by the University of Winchester.[19]










  1. ^ "Celia Imrie". British Film Institute. Retrieved May 19, 2018. 
  2. ^ Published on Monday 4 April 2011 20:18 (4 April 2011). "Interview: Celia Imrie, actress – News". The Scotsman. UK. Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  3. ^ "STAR PROFILE Celia Imrie". 29 August 2003. Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  4. ^ Mellor, Rupert (3 May 2003)"She wears it well" The Times, London.
  5. ^ "Celia Imrie – Awfully big adventure". Archived from the original on 4 October 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  6. ^ "Rutland 28". Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  7. ^ "Times Online Viewing Guide – After You've Gone". London: Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  8. ^ "What's on Stage – Unsuspecting Susan". Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  9. ^ Mitchell, Gabrielle (20 June 2005). "Variety Theatre Review – Unsuspecting Susan". Variety. Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  10. ^ Rhoda Koenig (25 February 2009). "Plague Over England, Duchess Theatre, London; Saturday Night, Jermyn Street Theatre, London – Reviews, Theatre & Dance". The Independent. UK. Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  11. ^ Lalayn Baluch (6 August 2009). "Imrie to star in world premiere of Mixed Up North". Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  12. ^ Andrew William (October 27, 2009). "Celia Imrie". Metro UK. Retrieved May 19, 2018. 
  13. ^ "Past Winners | The Official London Theatre Guide". Archived from the original on 4 February 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2012. 
  14. ^ Gerard O'Donovan (October 10, 2012). "Who Do You Think You Are? Celia Imrie, BBC One, review". The Telegraph. Retrieved May 19, 2018. 
  15. ^ Isle of Wight – Famous Residents
  16. ^ Britten, Nick (11 April 2011). "Celia Imrie, the screen matriarch who couldn't bear to be married". Telegraph. Retrieved 2017-11-09. 
  17. ^ Lockyer, Daphne (2013-06-03). "Celia Imrie: Love and marriage? Gawd, no". Telegraph. Retrieved 2016-12-21. 
  18. ^ Imrie, Celia (2 April 2011). "My electric shock nightmare at the hands of the CIA's evil doctor". Daily Mail. London. 
  19. ^ "University celebrates Graduation 2013 at Winchester Cathedral". University of Winchester. 10 October 2013. Retrieved 2017-01-20. 
  20. ^ Celia Imrie Archived 4 November 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
  21. ^ Celia Imrie wins Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical | Official London Theatre Guide[dead link]
  22. ^ "Meet the 2017 Women in Film and Television Award Winners". WFTV. December 2, 2017. Retrieved May 17, 2018. 
  23. ^ Jace Lacob (5 July 2012). "'Inspector Lewis' on PBS's 'Masterpiece Mystery': TV's Smartest Sleuths". The Daily Beast. Retrieved 9 July 2012. 
  24. ^ "'Stage productions all years' on official website for Celia Imrie". Archived from the original on 21 January 2012. Retrieved 24 January 2012. 

External linksEdit