Rebecca Louise Front (born 16 May 1964) is an English actress, writer and comedian. She won the 2010 BAFTA TV Award for Best Female Comedy Performance for The Thick of It (2009–2012). She is also known for her work in numerous other British comedies, including the radio show On The Hour (1992), The Day Today (1994), Knowing Me, Knowing You… with Alan Partridge (1994), Time Gentlemen Please (2000–2002), sketch show Big Train (2002), and Nighty Night (2004–2005).
Rebecca Louise Front
16 May 1964
|Alma mater||St Hugh's College, Oxford|
|Occupation||Actress, writer, comedian|
Front has also been seen in a number of dramatic roles, including Chief Superintendent Jean Innocent in Lewis (2006–2014), Mrs. Bennet in Death Comes to Pemberley (2013), Mrs. Landau in The Eichmann Show (2015), and Vera in Humans (2015). Her theatre credits include the musicals Company and The Fix at the Donmar Warehouse, directed by Sam Mendes.
Front was born in Stoke Newington, London, to Sheila and Charles Front. Her mother wrote children's books, which her father illustrated. Her father also designed the title-logo on the cover of The Beatles' album Rubber Soul. Her father is Jewish and her mother is of Jewish and Welsh descent. Front was brought up in Reform Judaism.
Front became involved in comedy while at St Hugh's College at the University of Oxford, where she read English and became the first female president of The Oxford Revue. She also trained at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art.
While at Oxford in 1984, Front took part in the revue Stop the Weak. The tour played in Oxford itself, the Gate Theatre, Notting Hill, Edinburgh, Salisbury, and Romsey. In 1985, Front teamed up with Sioned Wiliam and Jon Magnusson to take the show The Bobo Girls go BOO to Edinburgh. She made a short promotional video on energy conservation with Michael Simkins in the late 1980s.
Front achieved a higher profile as a result of her work with Stewart Lee and Richard Herring on the radio shows Lionel Nimrod's Inexplicable World and On the Hour, and the television and radio series Fist of Fun. She went on to form a close professional association with Chris Morris, Armando Iannucci, Doon Mackichan and Steve Coogan, who all transferred with Front to The Day Today, the television version of On the Hour. Completing The Day Today were Patrick Marber, who was part of the 1984 Oxford University revue with Front and David Schneider, who took part in the 1985 revue. This cast continued to contribute to the Alan Partridge comedy canon throughout the 1990s.
In recent years Front has also become a fixture on comedy panel shows on British television and radio including The News Quiz, Have I Got News for You and If I Ruled The World. She has also had minor roles in The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer, Absolute Power and Absolutely Fabulous and she has also played straight acting roles in television drama, including You Can Choose Your Friends, The Rotters' Club, Kavanagh QC, Lewis and Jonathan Creek.
In 2003, she was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy. From 2006, she has written columns for The Guardian. In 2007, she guest-starred in the Doctor Who audio drama The Mind's Eye.
In 2009 and 2012, respectively, she appeared in the third and fourth series of political satire The Thick of It, playing Nicola Murray MP, Secretary of State for Citizenship and Social Affairs and in charge of the dysfunctional 'DoSAC', and later, Leader of the Opposition. Front featured in the 2010 BBC comedy series Grandma's House playing the part of Simon Amstell's mother Tanya, and Just William, as the mother of William Brown and also starred in the 2011 live-action 3D family comedy film Horrid Henry: The Movie as Henry's headmistress, Miss Oddbod.
In 2012 Front starred as the psychiatrist in the Sky Arts sketch series Psychobitches, where Front's character offers therapy to notable women of history and the present day, including Anne Boleyn, Mary Queen of Scots, Mary Shelley, Enid Blyton, Eva Braun, Mary Pickford, Edith Piaf, and Anna Nicole Smith. The series aired on the British television channel Sky Arts 1. The first episode of a second series was broadcast on 25 November 2014.
In 2013, Front starred in the new Sky Living comedy The Spa, in the role of Alison Crabbe. She plays Cox in The Wrong Mans, a six-part comedy-thriller for BBC Two. The premiere was on 24 September 2013. She reprised this role in December 2014 for a special two-parter. She narrated Fox Wars which was broadcast on 22 October 2013.
In December 2013, Sky Atlantic aired a new comedy series called Little Cracker. The second programme in the series was an autobiographical story written by Front and her brother Jeremy. It concerns the time she witnessed the near-drowning of her father in a lake; that incident was closely followed by the death of her grandfather. The proximity of these two experiences caused Front considerable personal anguish. Front was eleven years old at the time and, because of the trauma she suffered, she went through a period of not wanting to attend school. The programme included a comedic treatment of this time in her life, followed by Front and her brother explaining the background to the story, and how they came to write and dramatise it. In the programme, Front was played by Lucy Hutchinson, and her father was played by the actor Richard Lumsden. Samantha Spiro played her mother and Front played her headmistress, Miss Dyson. Front's school friend character, Karen, was played by Imogen Front.
For their Christmas season, the BBC commissioned Death Comes to Pemberley, a three-part British television drama based on characters created by Jane Austen in her novel Pride and Prejudice. The first episode aired on BBC One at 8.15pm on Boxing Day 2013, was based on the best selling novel by P. D. James, the story returns to the world of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and involves its characters in a new tale of murder and emotional mayhem. Front played the part of Mrs Bennet.
Front portrayed Fiona in the BBC Radio 4 series Love in Recovery. She also starred in the sitcom Up the Women as Helen Bute, the antagonist for three episodes in mid-2013 and a six-episode series in 2015.
On 5 June 2015, the BBC announced Front would be a guest in the ninth series of Doctor Who. She appeared as Walsh in "The Zygon Invasion", directed by Daniel Nettheim. In the same year, she played Synth Vera in the Channel 4 series Humans.
In 2017, she co-wrote and appeared in the sitcom Shush! on BBC Radio 4, a sitcom set in a library.
Front is married, with two children.
Front's book Curious: True Stories and Loose Connections (published 2014) is a collection of autobiographical stories.
Jeremy Front, her brother, is a writer and comic actor. They have collaborated on writing and performance projects. The most recent is a series of spoof documentaries, Incredible Women, for BBC Radio 4.
- Nighty Night (2004–2005) as Cathy Cole
- Lewis (2006–2014) as Chief Superintendent Jean Innocent
- The Thick of It (2009–2012) as Nicola Murray, TV Series, 13 episodes
- Grandma's House (2010–2012) as Tanya
- Horrid Henry: The Movie (2011) as Miss Oddbod
- Psychobitches (2012–present) as The Therapist
- Agatha Christie’s Poirot (2013) as Miss Brewis (Episode: “Dead Man’s Folly”)
- Up the Women (2013–2015) as Helen
- Death Comes to Pemberley (2013) as Mrs Bennett, TV Mini-Series, 2 episodes
- Midsomer Murders (2014) as Reverend Martha Hillcott (Episode: "Let Us Prey")
- Outnumbered (2014) as Mrs Raynott (Episode: "Communication Skills")
- Humans (2015) as Vera (series 1)
- Doctor Who (2015) as Walsh (Episode: "The Zygon Invasion")
- The Eichmann Show (2015) as Mrs. Landau
- Poldark (2018–2019) as Lady Whitworth
- Billionaire Boy (2016) as Mrs Sharpe
- War & Peace (2016) as Anna Mikhaylovna Drubetskaya
- Doctor Thorne (2016) as Lady Arabella Gresham
- Down a Dark Hall (2018) as Mrs. Olonsky
- Dark Money (2019) as Cheryl Denon
- The Aeronauts (2019) as Aunt Frances
- Avenue 5 (2020) as Karen Kelly
- The Other One (2020) as Tess
- Batgirl (2022) as TBA
- Jennifer Lipman "Bafta for Jewish actress Rebecca Front", The Jewish Chronicle. 7 June 2010
- "Rebecca Front Theatre Credits and Profile". www.abouttheartists.com.
- Saner, Emine (10 February 2020). "Rebecca Front: 'I'd love to do Shakespeare – or be the next Bond!'". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
- "BBC Two – My Life in Books, Series 1, Sir Trevor McDonald and Rebecca Front". Bbc.co.uk. 10 May 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
- "Actress Rebecca Front on her new book Curious". Western Daily Press. Archived from the original on 14 June 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
- Booth, Hannah (28 April 2012). "Rebecca Front: My family values". The Guardian. London.
- Lipman, Jennifer (7 June 2010). "Bafta for Jewish actress Rebecca Front". The Jewish Chronicle. London.
- James Rampton (2 August 1997). "Life on the front line". The Independent. London.
- "Rebecca Front". Hachette Book Group. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
- Ian Burrell, "Strictly no dancing on a channel that’s serious about scientists" in The Independent. 27-04-09
- Renshaw, David (12 September 2013). "Grandma's House – box set review". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
- "Psychobitches". comedy.co.uk. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
- "Psychobitches series two: Anna Nicole Smith, Elizabeth I, Audrey Hepburn and more – exclusive trailer". the Guardian. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
- "The Spa: Meet The Characters". 16 January 2013. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
- "Cast announced for The Wrong Mans on BBC Two". BBC. 28 January 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
- "Midsomer Murders". itv.com. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
- Susanna Lazarus. "Hugh Dennis, Claire Skinner, Tyger Drew-Honey, Daniel Roche and Ramona Marquez all return for series five of Outnumbered". RadioTimes. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
- "Rebecca Front on Twitter".
- "Curious by Rebecca Front". Orion Books. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
- "Incredible Women – Radio 4 Comedy Drama – British Comedy Guide". Comedy.co.uk. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
- Renshaw, David (13 November 2014). "Nighty Night box set review – a viciously funny, downright cruel comedy". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 February 2020.