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Frances Barber (born Frances Brookes, 13 May 1957) is an English actress. She received Olivier Award nominations for her work in the plays Camille (1985), and Uncle Vanya (1997). Her film appearances include three collaborations with Gary Oldman in Prick Up Your Ears (1987), We Think the World of You (1988) and Dead Fish (2005), as well as Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (1987), Soft Top Hard Shoulder (1992), and Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (2017). Barber's numerous television credits include The Street (2009), Doctor Who (2011), and Silk (2012–14).

Frances Barber
Frances J Brookes

(1957-05-13) 13 May 1957 (age 62)

Life and careerEdit

Barber was born in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England.[1] Her parents are S.W. Brookes and Gladys Simpson; Barber is the fourth of six children. She attended the Wolverhampton Municipal Grammar School.[2]

Barber studied drama at the University College of North Wales, where she was a contemporary of director Danny Boyle, who became her boyfriend.[3]

She appeared in Pet Shop Boys' musical Closer to Heaven in 2001 as well as guest singer for the song "Friendly Fire" on the Pet Shop Boys' 2006 live concert at the Mermaid Theatre. She also appeared alongside Ian McKellen and Roger Allam in the Old Vic's pantomime production of Aladdin in the 2005–06 Christmas season. She again starred with Ian McKellen in 2007 playing Goneril in Trevor Nunn's production of King Lear and as Arkadina in Chekhov's The Seagull with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon followed by a world tour throughout the year.[4] They again performed the two plays in repertory at the New London Theatre on Drury Lane,[5][6] opening in November 2007 and closing mid-January 2008.

In 2011, she guest-starred in the Doctor Who episodes "A Good Man Goes to War" and "The Wedding of River Song" (and five other episodes, sometimes uncredited) as Madame Kovarian.[7] She also acted in the television film We'll Take Manhattan as Diana Vreeland.

In 2006, she received an honorary fellowship from the University of Wolverhampton.[8]

Political viewsEdit

Barber urged a vote for the Labour Party at the 2017 UK general election. Critical of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, she said "I will vote Labour holding my nose. Urge you too."[9] In September 2017, she resigned from the party, saying: "I can't belong to a party full of misogyny, anti semitism and thuggery".[10]


Selected filmographyEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "The International Who's Who of Women 2002".
  2. ^ "Wolverhampton Municipal Grammar School".
  3. ^ Barnett, Laura (21 April 2009). "Portrait of the artist: Frances Barber, actor". The Guardian. London.
  4. ^ British Theatre Guide – RSC Double Press Archived 26 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  5. ^ "The British Theatre Guide : Reviews – The Seagull (RSC at the New London Theatre)". 12 January 2008. Archived from the original on 5 July 2008. Retrieved 13 August 2009.
  6. ^ "The British Theatre Guide : Reviews – King Lear (RSC at the New London Theatre)". 12 January 2008. Archived from the original on 16 May 2008. Retrieved 13 August 2009.
  7. ^ BBC One – Doctor Who, Series 6, A Good Man Goes to War. BBC. (23 August 2011). Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  8. ^ "Actress Frances Barber receives honorary award". 21 August 2006. Archived from the original on 18 February 2007. Retrieved 13 August 2009.
  9. ^ Adejobi, Alicia (8 June 2017). "Labour vs Conservatives: Who are celebrities voting for in the general election 2017?". International Business Times. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  10. ^ Wearmouth, Rachel (26 September 2017). "Labour in Fresh Anti-Semitism Row as Speaker Calls for Free Speech to Cover Holocaust Denial". HuffPost. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
  11. ^[permanent dead link]
  12. ^[permanent dead link]
  13. ^ John Thaxter (6 July 2006). "The Stage / Reviews / Antony and Cleopatra". The Stage. Retrieved 13 August 2009.
  14. ^ "Off Broadway Reviews – The School For Scandal", The Stage Review, 27 April 2016

External linksEdit