Pauline McLynn

Pauline McLynn (born 11 July 1962)[citation needed] is an Irish character actress and author. She is best known for her roles as Mrs Doyle in the Channel 4 sitcom Father Ted, Libby Croker in the Channel 4 comedy drama Shameless, Tip Haddem in the BBC One comedy Jam & Jerusalem, and Yvonne Cotton in the BBC soap opera EastEnders.

Pauline McLynn
Born (1962-07-11) 11 July 1962 (age 60)
Occupation(s)Actress, author
Years active1988–present
Richard Cook
(m. 1997)
WebsiteOfficial website

Early lifeEdit

McLynn was born in Sligo, and grew up with two younger brothers in Galway.[1] She studied History of Art and Modern English at Trinity College, Dublin, but was more heavily involved in the college's drama society.[2] She graduated with an MA.[1]


Although McLynn was in her early thirties when playing Mrs Doyle in Father Ted, makeup was used to make her look far older to fit the character's elderly profile. She received a British Comedy Award for her performances in 1996. The award was presented to her by Tony Blair.

Subsequent televised appearances included a similar elderly role in the "Yesterday Island" episode of youth sci-fi series Life Force,[3] sketches on Bremner, Bird and Fortune, and panel shows Just a Minute, Have I Got News for You, and If I Ruled the World. In 1999, she appeared in the film adaptation of Angela's Ashes. She also appeared in Jennifer Saunders' Jam & Jerusalem. Between 2001 and 2003 she reprised Mrs Doyle in an advert for online tax return filing by the Inland Revenue.[4]

McLynn was critically acclaimed for her performance in the 2005 film Gypo, receiving an Irish Film and Television Award nomination for Best Actress.[5]

McLynn appeared in Shameless, which was produced by the British broadcaster Channel 4, as Libby Croker. In January 2011 it was announced that she had left the show, reportedly after a "difficult year".[6] McLynn also played the role of Alice's mother in the Comedy Central show Threesome. She starred in Samuel Beckett’s Happy Days at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield in 2011.[citation needed]

McLynn played Mary Whyte in the BBC's 2013 sitcom Father Figure.[7]

In 2014, McLynn played the part of Evelyn in "Kiss for the Camera", a series three episode of the BBC comedy Pramface. On 12 May 2014, McLynn joined the cast of EastEnders as Yvonne Cotton, the mother of Charlie Cotton (Declan Bennett) and ex-daughter-in-law of Dot Branning (June Brown).[8] After starting as a recurring character, McLynn quickly became a regular when her character's storylines escalated. She made her final appearance on 13 January 2015, at the end of her contract. However, McLynn returned to the soap opera on 14 May 2015 for one single episode to give evidence against Dot during Nick Cotton's (John Altman) murder trial.

In 2017, McLynn appeared as the mother of lead character Marcella in Roisin Conaty's E4 comedy GameFace, and in April 2018 she portrayed Sister Mary in the BBC Two biopic Dave Allen At Peace. She appears as a minor character named Mrs. Trattner in the 2018 film Johnny English Strikes Again.[9]

In 2020, McLynn was one of the celebrity pilgrims on the Sultans Trail in the BBC series Pilgrimage: Road to Istanbul.[10][11][12] She also appeared in Riverdance: The Animated Adventure.[13]

In 2021 McLynn appeared as Oona in the E4 S6 of Inside No. 9.[14] She also appeared as Carol, a bar landlady, in the film Last Night in Soho, which was released in October 2021.[15] McLynn also appeared in Doctor Who, as Mary in the New Year’s special "Eve of the Daleks".[citation needed]

Personal lifeEdit

McLynn is married to theatrical agent Richard Cook.[16] She is a patron of the children's charity World Vision Ireland and is president of Friends of Innisfree Housing Association.[17][18] She is also a patron for Littlehill Animal Rescue, Sanctuary in Ireland and Birmingham Greyhound Protection.

McLynn is a fan of the Premier League football team Aston Villa.[19] She says her best moment supporting Villa came in 1996 when she watched them beat Leeds United in the Football League Cup final with her Father Ted co-star Ardal O'Hanlon, who is a Leeds supporter. McLynn was raised as a Roman Catholic, but is now an atheist.[20]

McLynn is involved with many charities against the racing and export of greyhounds. She is a patron of Greyhound Protection UK.[21]

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Title Result
1996 British Comedy Award Top TV Comedy Actress Father Ted Won[22]
2006 Torino International Gay & Lesbian Film Festival Special Mention: Best Video Gypo Won[23]
2007 Irish Film and Television Award Best Actress in a Lead Role in a Feature Film Gypo Nominated


  1. ^ a b "Biography". Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  2. ^ Aine O'Connor "Interview: Unexpectedly novel", The Sunday Times, 11 December 2005
  3. ^ McGown, Alistair (2003). The Hill and Beyond: Children's Television Drama - An Encyclopedia. BFI. p. 266. ISBN 0851708781.
  4. ^ Allen, Richard (3 January 2002). "Mrs Doyle in 'most annoying ad'". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  5. ^ "Pauline McLynn – Awards & Nominations". IMDb. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  6. ^ Ian Wylie "Shameless star Pauline McLynn quits show after 'difficult year'", Manchester Evening News, 23 January 2011
  7. ^ "Father Figure: interviews with Jason Byrne and Pauline McLynn". Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  8. ^ "EastEnders: Father Ted star Pauline Mclynn joins show as Yvonne Cotton". Digital Spy. 24 April 2014. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  9. ^ Johnny English Strikes Again. British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 12 January 2019.
  10. ^ "BBC Two - Pilgrimage - Meet the Celebrity Pilgrims". BBC.
  11. ^ "Pauline McLynn 'in tears' at end of pilgrimage for BBC". 26 March 2020 – via {{cite journal}}: Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  12. ^ Chiles, Adrian (26 March 2020). "The Sultan's Trail was good practice for lockdown | Adrian Chiles". The Guardian – via
  13. ^ "Pierce Brosnan, Lilly Singh, Brendan Gleeson to Voice 'Riverdance: The Animated Adventure' Feature (Exclusive)". The Hollywood Reporter. 11 September 2020.
  14. ^ "BBC Two - Inside No. 9, Series 6, Hurry Up and Wait, Inside No 9 Hurry Up And Wait". BBC.
  15. ^ Clarke, Donald. "Last Night in Soho: New horror ends in uncertain, muddy territory". The Irish Times.
  16. ^ Kellaway, Kate (8 May 2011). "Pauline McLynn: 'For Winnie the rule is: I talk therefore I am' – interview". The Guardian.
  17. ^ Gray, Jim (29 August 2011). "How Pauline's life was 'turned upside down' by her trip to Tanzanian town". The Sligo Champion. Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  18. ^ "Friends of Innisfree". Retrieved 11 July 2015.
  19. ^ "Aston Villa Famous Fans - Pauline McLynn". Archived from the original on 18 April 2015. Retrieved 28 October 2014.
  20. ^ "Father Ted star reveals she is a confirmed atheist". The Irish Post. 22 March 2020.
  21. ^ "Patrons". Greyhound Protection UK. Retrieved 12 May 2023.
  22. ^ "Past Winners 1996". Retrieved 9 May 2011.
  23. ^ Shared with Chloe Sirene, Paul McGann, Rula Lenska, Freddie Connor, Olegar Fedoro, Tamzin Dunstone, Barry Latchford, Tom Stuart

External linksEdit