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Nikki Amuka-Bird (born 1976) is a Nigerian-born British actress of the stage, television and film.

External image
Amuka-Bird at the Virgin TV BAFTA Television Awards in 2017

Early lifeEdit

 
Amuka-Bird in 2010

Amuka-Bird was born in Delta, Nigeria, where her father still lives. She left there as a young child with her mother and was brought up in England and in Antigua. Attending boarding-school in Britain, Amuka-Bird originally hoped to be a dancer. That ambition was thwarted by injury:

I hurt my back and at that point was deciding what to do university-wise and I thought I would try for drama college because I knew you could do some dancing there but it didn’t have to take over everything. It was only really when I went to drama college that that world [acting] opened up to me and I fell in love with it and became obsessed like everybody else.[1]

She went to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA) and subsequently performed with the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC).

CareerEdit

Amuka-Bird's theatrical credits include Welcome to Thebes (National Theatre); Twelfth Night (Bristol Old Vic, for which she won an Ian Charleson Award nomination in 2004 for playing Viola);[1] World Music (Crucible Theatre, Sheffield, and Donmar Warehouse); Top Girls (Oxford Stage Company); A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Tempest and The Servant of Two Masters (RSC); Doubt: A Parable (Tricycle Theatre).

Her film credits include The Omen (2006 remake), Cargo, Almost Heaven as well as the screen adaptation of Alexander McCall Smith's novel The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency.[2] On television, Amuka-Bird has appeared in Spooks, The Line of Beauty, The Last Enemy, Robin Hood, Torchwood, and a recurring role in the reimagined BBC apocalyptic series Survivors. In 2010 she appeared as Det. Supt Gaynor Jenkins in the BBC's Silent Witness.

She appeared in Small Island, the BBC adaptation of Andrea Levy's award-winning novel, broadcast in December 2009.[3] In June 2016 it was announced that she and Phoebe Fox would star in the production of Zadie Smith's novel NW.[4] It was broadcast on BBC Two on 14 November 2016[5][6] and Amuka-Bird received a BAFTA for Best Actress.

On Christmas Day 2017 she was heard as the voice of the Glass Woman in the Doctor Who Christmas Special "Twice Upon a Time" broadcast on BBC One.

Personal lifeEdit

In 2003, Amuka-Bird married actor Geoffrey Streatfeild, whom she met while touring with the RSC in Japan.[citation needed] The marriage lasted seven years.[7]

FilmographyEdit

FilmEdit

Year Title Role Notes
2000 Forgive and Forget Nicky
2005 Almost Heaven Rosie
2006 Cargo Subira
The Omen Dr. Becker
2008 The Disappeared Shelley Cartwright
2011 Coriolanus TV Pundit
2014 The Face of an Angel Roxanne
2015 Jupiter Ascending Diomika Tsing
2016 Denial Libby Holbrook
2017 The Children Act Amadia Kalu QC
2018 A Private War Rita Williams
2019 The Laundromat Miranda
The Personal History of David Copperfield Mrs. Steerforth

TelevisionEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1999–2005 Holby City Various 3 episodes
1999 The Bill Doreen West 1 episode
1999 Grafters Martha Miniseries
2000 Safe as Houses Carole Television movie
2000 Doctors Nurse 1 episode
2003 Canterbury Tales Constance Musa 1 episode
2003–2004 Bad Girls Paula Miles 8 episodes
2004 Murder Prevention Gemma 1 episode
2005 Afterlife Sandra Petch 1 episode
2005 Casualty Moji Muzenda 1 episode
2005 Casualty @ Holby City Moji Muzenda 3 episodes
2005; 2010 Silent Witness Simone Campbell / Det Supt Gaynor Jenkins 4 episodes
2006 The True Voice of Prostitution Television movie
2006 The Line of Beauty Rosemary Charles 2 episodes
2006 Spooks Michelle Lopez 1 episode
2006 Robin Hood Abbess 1 episode
2006 Born Equal Itshe Television movie
2007 Five Days PC Simone Farnes Miniseries
2007 The Whistleblowers Helen Errol 1 episode
2008 Torchwood Beth Halloran / Sleeper Agent 1 episode
2008 The Last Enemy Susan Ross Miniseries
2008 The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency Alice Busang 1 episode
2008–2010 Survivors Samantha Willis MP 5 episodes
2009 Small Island Celia Miniseries
2011–2013 Luther Det. Sgt / Det. Chief Inspector Erin Gray 8 episodes
2012 Sinbad The Professor 1 episode
2014 House of Fools Fiona 1 episode
2014 Death in Paradise Anna Jackson 1 episode
2014 Lovesick Anna 1 episode
2015 Inside No. 9 Joanne 1 episode
2016 NW Natalie Television movie
2017 Doctor Who The Testimony (voice) / Helen Clay 1 episode “Twice Upon a Time
2018 Hard Sun Grace Morrigan Main cast, 6 episodes
2019 Gold Digger Marsha Upcoming miniseries
TBA Avenue 5 Rav Mulcair Main cast

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b Caroline Bishop, "Nikki Amuka-Bird", OfficialLondonTheatre.com, 30 June 2010.
  2. ^ "The No. 1 Ladies' Detective Agency - Nikki Amuka Bird plays Alice Busang", BBC Press Office, 13 March 2008,
  3. ^ Alex Flatcher, "BBC One to adapt Levy's 'Small Island'", Digital Spy, 23 October 2008.
  4. ^ Natasha Onwuemezi, "Amuka-Bird and Fox to star in NW adaptation", The Bookseller, 10 June 2016.
  5. ^ Tom Meltzer, "NW star Nikki Amuka-Bird: 'Zadie is purposefully challenging the viewer'", The Guardian, 14 November 2016.
  6. ^ Adrian Lobb, "NW Star Nikki Amuka-Bird Interview: 'Bursting through the glass ceiling can cause damage'", The Big Issue, 21 November 2016.
  7. ^ standard.co October 2017 kwame kwei armah

External linksEdit