Sarah Caroline Sinclair, née Colman; 30 January 1974), known professionally as Olivia Colman,[a] is an English actress and narrator. She is the recipient of numerous accolades, including an Academy Award, three British Academy Television Awards, a British Academy Film Award, three Golden Globe Awards, four British Independent Film Awards and a BFI Fellowship.(
Colman at the 2014 British Independent Film Awards
Sarah Caroline Colman
30 January 1974
|Education||Bristol Old Vic Theatre School|
|Occupation||Actress and narrator|
A graduate of the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, Colman first came to prominence for her work in television. She made her acting breakthrough in the Channel 4 comedy series Peep Show (2003–2015). Her other comedic roles in television include Green Wing (2004–2006), That Mitchell and Webb Look (2006–2008), Beautiful People (2008–2009), Rev. (2010–2014), Flowers (2016–2018), and Fleabag (2016–2019).
Colman received the British Academy Television Award for Best Female Comedy Performance for the comedy programme Twenty Twelve (2011–2012), Best Supporting Actress for the anthology crime programme Accused (2012), and Best Actress for the ITV crime drama programme Broadchurch (2013–2017). For her performance in the thriller miniseries The Night Manager (2016), she won a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress. In 2019, she portrayed Queen Elizabeth II in the Netflix period drama programme The Crown, for which she won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series.
Colman's major film roles include supporting roles in Hot Fuzz (2007), The Iron Lady (2011), The Lobster (2015), and Murder on the Orient Express (2017); and leading roles in Tyrannosaur (2011) and The Favourite (2018). For portraying Anne, Queen of Great Britain and Ireland in the last of these, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress.
Sarah Caroline Olivia Colman was born in Norwich on 30 January 1974, the daughter of nurse Mary (née Leakey) and chartered surveyor Keith Colman. She was privately educated at Norwich High School for Girls and Gresham's School in Holt, Norfolk. Her first role was Jean Brodie in a school production of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie at the age of 16. She cites her mother's interrupted career as a ballet dancer as an inspiration to pursue acting professionally. Colman spent a term studying primary teaching at Homerton College, Cambridge before studying drama at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, from which she graduated in 1999. During her time at Cambridge, she auditioned for the Cambridge University Footlights Dramatic Club and met future co-stars David Mitchell and Robert Webb.
Colman was a subject of the UK genealogy programme Who Do You Think You Are? in July 2018. Although she expected that her family tree would mainly relate to Norfolk, it was discovered that her fourth great-grandfather, Richard Campbell Bazett, had been born on the island of Saint Helena and that he worked in London for the East India Company. Bazett's son, Colman's third great-grandfather Charles Bazett, married Harriot Slessor. Researchers discovered that she was born in the Indian city of Kishanganj, lost her British father when she was aged three, and then made the journey to England alone. Slessor's passage was paid for by her paternal grandmother. The episode speculated that Slessor's mother might have been Indian, but did not present concrete proof; after the episode aired, the Berkshire Record Office published the will of Slessor's mother, which proved that her name was Seraphina Donclere, evidently of European origin, and that she died in 1810.
2000–2006: Career beginnings and breakthroughEdit
Colman made her professional acting debut in 2000, at the age of 26, as part of the BBC2 comedy sketch show Bruiser. She has since appeared in roles in many BBC, ITV, and Channel 4 television series, such as People Like Us, Look Around You, Black Books, The Office, The Time of Your Life and provided the voice-over for Five's poll for Britain's Funniest Comedy Character.
Colman regularly featured in BBC Radio 4 comedies, such as Concrete Cow, Think the Unthinkable, The House of Milton Jones and Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. She was also the voice of Minka, the Polish secretary in the Radio 4 comedy Hut 33, set in a fictional codebreaking hut of the real-life Bletchley Park during World War II. Colman appeared as Bev, alongside Mark Burdis as Kev, in a series of television adverts for AA car insurance. She provided voices for the Andrex "be kind to your behind" adverts and Glade fragrance adverts, where her character is a gorilla.
On several projects, Colman has worked with the comedians Mitchell and Webb. She joined them in 2003 to play the role of Sophie in the Channel 4 comedy Peep Show. Other joint ventures have included radio's That Mitchell and Webb Sound, and the television version That Mitchell and Webb Look. She decided to leave the programme after her agent suggested that she was becoming too closely associated with their work and needed to widen her horizons: a decision that was made "with tears". She continued to appear on Peep Show, though less often, until it ended in 2015.
Colman also had a recurring role in the surreal comedy Green Wing from 2004 to 2006. One of her earliest film credits include naturist Joanna Roberts in the 2006 mockumentary film Confetti – a role she once described as "the worst experience of my life".
2007–2015: Further recognitionEdit
In October and November 2008, Colman appeared in the BBC sitcom Beautiful People, based on the life of Simon Doonan, as Debbie Doonan, Simon's mother. She also made a guest appearance in Skins, in the episode "Naomi" as Naomi's mother Gina. In 2010, Colman took a leading role as Alex Smallbone, the wife of an inner-city vicar, in the BBC sitcom Rev. Also in 2010, she guest starred in "The Eleventh Hour" episode of Doctor Who, Matt Smith's debut as the Eleventh Doctor. In 2011, Colman appeared in the BBC drama Exile, written by Danny Brocklehurst and starring John Simm and Jim Broadbent. From 2011 to 2012, she played Sally Owen, the lovelorn secretary to Hugh Bonneville's character Ian Fletcher, in Twenty Twelve, a comedy series about planning for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
Colman reteamed with Considine for his feature directorial debut, Tyrannosaur (2011). For her role in the film, she won the BIFA Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a British Independent Film and the Empire Award for Best Actress. Also in 2011, Colman played Carol Thatcher in the Academy Award-winning drama film The Iron Lady, with Meryl Streep and Jim Broadbent, for which she was awarded the London Film Critics' Circle Award for British Actress of the Year.
In 2013, Colman began playing DS Ellie Miller in ITV's Broadchurch. The crime drama series is set in the fictional Dorset town of Broadchurch, and follows the residents of a tight-knit community after a young boy is found dead on a beach under suspicious circumstances. She was nominated for an International Emmy Award for Best Actress and won a BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for her performance. Also in 2013, she starred as Margaret Lea, opposite Vanessa Redgrave, in the BBC television film The Thirteenth Tale.
In 2015, Colman starred in Yorgos Lanthimos' absurdist dystopian film The Lobster with Rachel Weisz and Colin Farrell, for which she was nominated for the London Film Critics' Circle Award for Supporting Actress of the Year and won the BIFA Award for Best Supporting Actress.
2016–present: Critical acclaim and awards successEdit
In 2016, Colman received praise for her performance as Angela Burr in the AMC/BBC miniseries The Night Manager, for which she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award and received a Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Series, Miniseries or Television Film. That same year, she starred as Deborah Flowers in the Channel 4 black comedy series Flowers. She also provided the voice of Strawberry in the Netflix/BBC animated miniseries Watership Down. In 2017, she played Princess Dragomiroff's lady's maid Hildegarde Schmidt in the remake of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express.
In 2018, Colman starred as Queen Anne in Lanthimos' film The Favourite, opposite Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz. In preparation for the role, she gained 2st 7 lb (35 lb or 16 kg) in weight. For her performance, she won the Academy Award for Best Actress, the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical, and the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Her awe-struck and humorous Academy Awards acceptance speech was widely covered in the media.
Colman also received positive reviews for her supporting role as Madame Thénardier in the 2018 BBC miniseries Les Misérables, an adaptation of the novel of the same name. In August 2019, she was confirmed as a guest star as Lily in the thirty-second season of the animated comedy series The Simpsons.
In October 2017, Colman was cast as Queen Elizabeth II in the third and fourth season of the Netflix historical drama series The Crown. The third season was released in November 2019. For her performance, she won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama and a Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series.
In the late 1990s, while performing in a Footlights production of Sir Alan Ayckbourn's Table Manners, Colman met Ed Sinclair, then a third-year law student who had become disillusioned with law and preferred to write. Colman and Sinclair married in August 2001, and have three children together. They live in south London.
Since 2013, she has been a judge on the panel of the Norwich Film Festival. In August 2014, Colman was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September 2014's referendum on the issue.
In 2013, Colman presented two awards at the Mind Media Awards, which celebrate accurate, responsible and sensitive portrayals of mental health across all areas of the media. Colman believes that "the media industry has huge influence and with that comes a responsibility to contest the stigma that sadly still exists, through accurate representation." Colman has spoken openly to the Big Issue about her experience of postnatal depression after the birth of her first child.
Inspired by her research for the film Tyrannosaur, in 2014, Colman became the patron of the UK charity Tender, which uses theatre and the arts to educate young people about how to prevent violence and sexual abuse. Colman says that domestic violence prevention can make a real difference in the lives of young people. Other charity work included participating in the Alzheimer's Society's Holkham Hall Memory Walk in September 2013. Colman's great-grandmother suffered from dementia and her mother was involved in running a nursing home for sufferers. Colman has also given support to charity campaigns for the Marie Curie Great Daffodil Appeal (care for the terminally ill). Colman became Patron of blood cancer charity Anthony Nolan in 2018, which Colman says helped a friend of hers.
In December 2014, Colman was involved in a BBC Radio documentary about the plight of women in Afghanistan on behalf of Amnesty International UK. Several women who told their stories to journalist Lyse Doucet were unable to appear because their lives might have been at risk. Colman read their stories as part of the documentary. In response to the work, Colman warned that the UK must not abandon Afghan women to the Taliban.
|2004||Terkel in Trouble||Terkel's Mother||Voice; English dub|
|One Day||Ian's Mother||Short film|
|2007||Hot Fuzz||PC Doris Thatcher|
|Grow Your Own||Alice|
|I Could Never Be Your Woman||Hairdresser|
|Dog Altogether||Anita||Short film|
|2009||Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee||Olivia|
|Arrietty||Homily||Voice; UK dub|
|The Iron Lady||Carol Thatcher|
|2012||Hyde Park on Hudson||Queen Elizabeth|
|2013||I Give It a Year||Linda|
|2014||Cuban Fury||Sam Garrett|
|Pudsey the Dog: The Movie||Nelly the Horse||Voice|
|Thomas & Friends: Tale of the Brave||Marion||Voice; English dub|
|The Karman Line||Sarah|
|2015||The Lobster||Hotel Manager|
|Thomas & Friends: Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure||Marion||Voice; English dub|
|2017||Murder on the Orient Express||Hildegard Schmidt|
|2018||The Favourite||Queen Anne|
|2019||Them That Follow||Hope Slaughter|
|TBA||Mothering Sunday||Mrs. Niven||Filming|
|The Lost Daughter||Leda||Post-production|
|2000||Bruiser||Various characters||6 episodes|
|2001||The Mitchell and Webb Situation||Various characters||5 episodes|
|People Like Us||Pamela Eliot||Episode: "The Vicar"|
|Mr Charity||Distressed Mother||Episode: "Nice to Feed You"|
|Comedy Lab||Linda||Episode: "Daydream Believers: Brand New Beamer"|
|2002||Rescue Me||Paula||Episode: "1.4"|
|Holby City||Kim Prebble||Episode: "New Hearts, Old Scores"|
|The Office||Helena||Episode: "Interview"|
|2003||Gash||Various characters||3 episodes|
|Eyes Down||Mandy Foster||Episode: "Stars in Their Eyes"|
|The Strategic Humour Initiative||Various characters||Television film|
|2003–2015||Peep Show||Sophie Chapman||32 episodes|
|2004||Black Books||Tanya||Episode: "Elephants and Hens"|
|Swiss Toni||Linda Byron||Episode: "Troubleshooter"|
|NY-LON||Lucy||Episode: "Something About Family"|
|Coming Up||Receptionist||Episode: "The Baader Meinhoff Gang Show"|
|2004–2006||Green Wing||Harriet Schulenburg||18 episodes|
|2005||Angell's Hell||Belinda||Television film|
|Look Around You||Pam Bachelor||6 episodes|
|The Robinsons||Connie||Episode: "1.3"|
|Murder in Suburbia||Ellie||Episode: "Golden Oldies"|
|ShakespeaRe-Told||Ursula||Episode: "Much Ado About Nothing"|
|2006–2008||That Mitchell and Webb Look||Various characters||13 episodes|
|2007||The Grey Man||Linda Dodds||Television film|
|The Time of Your Life||Amanda||6 episodes|
|2008||Love Soup||Penny||Episode: "Integrated Logistics"|
|Hancock and Joan||Marion||Television film|
|Consuming Passion||Janet Bottomley / Violetta Kiss||Television film|
|2008–2009||Beautiful People||Debbie Doonan||12 episodes|
|2008, 2018||Would I Lie to You?||Herself||2 episodes|
|2009||Skins||Gina Campbell||Episode: "Naomi"|
|Midsomer Murders||Bernice||Episode: "Small Mercies"|
|Mister Eleven||Beth Paley||2 episodes|
|2010||Doctor Who||Prisoner Zero||Episode: "The Eleventh Hour"|
|2010–2014||Rev||Alex Smallbone||19 episodes|
|2011||Exile||Nancy Ronstadt||3 episodes|
|2011–2012||Twenty Twelve||Sally Owen||10 episodes|
|2012||Accused||Sue Brown||Episode: "Mo and Sue's Story"|
|Bad Sugar||Joan Cauldwell||Television film|
|2013–2017||Broadchurch||DS Ellie Miller||24 episodes|
|2013||The Suspicions of Mr Whicher: The Murder In Angel Lane||Susan Spencer||Television film|
|The Thirteenth Tale||Margaret Lea||Television film|
|The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot||Herself||Television film|
|2014||Big Ballet||Narrator||3 episodes|
|The 7.39||Maggie Matthews||2 episodes|
|W1A||Sally Owen||Episode: "1.4"|
|The Secrets||Pippa||Episode: "The Dilemma"|
|Mr. Sloane||Janet Sloane||6 episodes|
|This is Jinsy||Joan Jenkins||Episode: "The Golden Woggle"|
|2014–2018||Thomas & Friends||Marion||Voice; 9 episodes|
|2016||Drunk History||Ethel Le Neve||Episode: "2.7"|
|The Night Manager||Angela Burr||6 episodes|
|We're Going on a Bear Hunt||Mum||Voice; television short|
|2016–2018||Flowers||Deborah Flowers||12 episodes|
|2016–2018||The Secret Life of the Zoo||Narrator||35 episodes|
|2017||Inside Dior||Narrator||2 episodes|
|2018||Flatpack Empire||Narrator||3 episodes|
|Natural World||Narrator||Episode: "The Super Squirrels"|
|Watership Down||Strawberry||Voice; 4 episodes|
|2019||Les Misérables||Madame Thénardier||4 episodes|
|2019–2020||The Crown||Queen Elizabeth II||20 episodes|
|2020||The Simpsons||Lily||Voice; Episode: "The 7 Beer Itch"|
|2000||Long Day's Journey Into Night||Cathleen||Lyric Theatre, London|
|2009||England People Very Nice||Philippa||Royal National Theatre, London|
|2012||Hay Fever||Myra Arundel||Noël Coward Theatre, London|
|2017||Mosquitoes||Jenny||Royal National Theatre, London|
Awards and nominationsEdit
Colman has received various awards throughout her career, including an Academy Award, three British Academy Television Awards, a British Academy Film Award, four British Independent Film Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, two Critics' Choice Movie Awards, three Satellite Awards, a Screen Actors Guild Award, a Volpi Cup, and a BFI Fellowship.
For her performance in the miniseries The Night Manager (2016), she won a Golden Globe Award and was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award. She received another Primetime Emmy Award nomination for the comedy series Fleabag (2016–2019). For her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth II in the Netflix period drama series The Crown (2019), she received a Golden Globe Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award, among others.
For her portrayal of Anne, Queen of Great Britain in the period black comedy film The Favourite (2018), she received the Academy Award for Best Actress, the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Comedy or Musical, and the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, among numerous others.
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- Tennant, David (28 January 2019). "David Tennant Does a Podcast With..." Player.fm (Podcast). Somethin' Else/No Mystery. Retrieved 20 February 2019.
- "Maggie, Meryl, and my modest career". The Herald. 29 December 2011. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
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- "Olivia Colman - Who Do You Think You Are?". The Genealogist. 5 July 2018. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
- Raphael, Amy (9 July 2018). ""I'm much more interesting than I thought I was": Olivia Colman heads to India for 'Who Do You Think You Are?'". Radio Times. Retrieved 10 July 2018.
- Berkshire Family Historian- the quarterly journal of the Berkshire Family History Society, vol. 42, September 2018, p. 14
- Berkshire Record Office (10 July 2018). "Anyone catch Who Do You Think You Are? last night?". Facebook. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
Olivia Colman was searching to find Harriet Slessor's mother. Well we can reveal that her mother was in fact a lady called Seraphina Donclere, who died in 1810. We hold a copy of her will which mentions 'her beloved daughter Harriet Slessor'.
- Cary, James (3 February 2009). "Starting Writing an Episode". Hut 33 blog. Retrieved 10 March 2009.
- Dessau, Bruce (27 September 2008). "Olivia Colman: from Peep Show to Beautiful People". The Times. Archived from the original on 16 June 2011. Retrieved 3 December 2012.
- Matthewman, Scott (30 June 2010). "Olivia Colman: The Stage Podcast #67". The Stage. Archived from the original on 9 July 2010. Retrieved 30 July 2010.
- "The 32nd London Critics' Circle Film Awards". The Critics' Circle. 21 January 2012. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
- Villarreal, Yvonne (2 August 2013). "Olivia Colman on 'Broadchurch' coming stateside, 'Doctor Who' rumors". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
- Maerz, Melissa (15 August 2013). "Broadchurch review". Entertainment Weekly. Retrieved 30 September 2013.
- Tartaglione, Nancy (18 May 2014). "BAFTA TV Awards: 'Broadchurch' Wins Drama Series, Olivia Colman Lead Actress". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
- Kemp, Stuart (5 June 2013). "Vanessa Redgrave, Olivia Colman to Star in BBC Drama 'The Thirteenth Tale'". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
- Brooks, Xan (24 October 2013). "Ben Whishaw and Olivia Colman cast in new film from radical Greek director". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
- Pond, Steve (6 December 2015). "'Ex Machina,' 'Room' Win Big at British Independent Film Awards". TheWrap. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
- Petski, Denise (5 March 2015). "Olivia Colman, Tom Hollander, Elizabeth Debicki Join AMC's 'The Night Manager'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
- Prudom, Laura (6 April 2016). "First Look: Olivia Colman and Julian Barratt Star in Seeso Dark Comedy 'Flowers'". Variety. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
- Jaafar, Ali (27 April 2016). "'Watership Down': BBC & Netflix Team on Miniseries With James McAvoy, Nic Hoult And John Boyega". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 28 April 2016.
- Jaafar, Ali (24 September 2015). "Emma Stone & Olivia Colman in Talks To Board Yorgos Lanthimos' 'The Favourite'". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
- Shoard, Catherine (24 February 2019). "Olivia Colman wins best actress Oscar for The Favourite". The Guardian. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
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- Fowler, Danielle (25 February 2019). "Olivia Colman gives heartwarming Oscars speech: "This is hilarious!"". Harper's Bazaar. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
- Blyth, Antonia (25 February 2019). "Olivia Colman Is Going to Keep Her Oscar in Bed". ELLE. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
- Hughes, Sarah (22 December 2018). "Olivia Colman, 2019's Queen of the Screen". The Guardian. London, UK. Retrieved 2 March 2019.
Stealing the show in BBC1's Les Misérables, ascending to the throne in The Crown and maybe bagging an Oscar for The Favourite… next year could be the versatile actor's best yet
- Skinner, Tom (18 August 2019). "Olivia Colman to guest star as femme fatale in 'The Simpsons'". NME. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
- Birnbaum, Olivia (26 October 2017). "Olivia Colman Joins 'The Crown' as Queen Elizabeth for Seasons 3 and 4". Variety. Retrieved 2 January 2018.
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- "Five facts about Broadchurch star Olivia Colman". Hello!. 14 May 2013. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
- Hoyle, Ben (25 February 2019). "Olivia Colman: Babysitter sent video of kids watching me win Oscar". The Times. Retrieved 25 February 2019.
- "Olivia Colman: The Vogue Interview". British Vogue.
- Freezer, David (1 May 2013). "TV star revisits Norfolk roots for Norwich Film Festival". Eastern Daily Press. Retrieved 14 October 2019.
- "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories". The Guardian. 7 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
- "Scott Mills announces winners at 20th Mind Media Awards, sponsored by Virgin Money Giving". Mind. 5 November 2013. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- "Tender Welcomes New Patron Olivia Colman". Tender. 14 October 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- "Olivia Colman joins hundreds on Memory Walk to fight dementia". Alzheimer's Society. 16 September 2013. Archived from the original on 23 April 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- "Actors Olivia Colman and Jim Carter voice our new radio campaign and ask people to donate an hour". Marie Curie. 6 January 2014. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- "Meet Our New Patron: Olivia Colman". Anthony Nolan. 4 July 2018. Retrieved 18 February 2019.
- "Olivia Colman's BBC Radio 4 appeal for Anthony Nolan". Anthony Nolan. 25 March 2014. Retrieved 12 December 2015.
- "The UK must not abandon Afghan women to the Taliban' - Olivia Colman". Amnesty International UK. 8 December 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2019.
- "Apollo 11 first moon landing receives royal treatment in 'The Crown'". collectSPACE. 18 November 2019. Retrieved 18 November 2019.
- "Olivia Colman to receive BFI Fellowship". British Film Institute. 7 February 2019. Retrieved 8 March 2019.
- "No. 62666". The London Gazette (1st supplement). 8 June 2019. p. B10.
- "Birthday Honours 2019: Olivia Colman and Bear Grylls on list". BBC News. 8 June 2019. Retrieved 8 June 2019.
- Sarah Colman was taken in the Actors Equity Association, so she chose Olivia as a stage name.
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