Helen Lederer

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Helen Lederer
Birth name Helen Lederer
Born (1954-09-24) 24 September 1954 (age 60)
Children 1

Helen Lederer (born 24 September 1954[1]) is a British comedian, writer and actress who emerged as part of the alternative comedy boom at the beginning of the 1980s.

Early Life[edit]

Born in Carmarthen[2] to an English mother and Czech father, Lederer grew up in Eltham, south east London[3] and was educated at the independent Blackheath High School and the Central School of Speech and Drama.


Lederer established a stand-up act at the Comedy Store in London and then won minor parts in episodes of The Young Ones, which had been written by her Comedy Store contemporaries Ben Elton and Rik Mayall. She would be linked with this scene for the rest of the 1980s, with a supporting role as housemaid Flossie in Happy Families and numerous appearances in related shows and live performances.

Lederer broke from the Comedy Store wing of the alternative scene in 1986 to take part in the BBC2 sketch show Naked Video, which had originated without Lederer on the radio in Scotland. Lederer played various roles, including that of a newsreader linking spoof headlines into clips which acted as punchlines, and a drunk Sloane who performed a monologue in each episode from a wine bar.

In the 1990s, Lederer was recruited by her old contemporaries Mayall and Adrian Edmondson to play supporting roles in two episodes of their sitcom Bottom, including a memorable part as a fallen millionairess on the make. Simultaneously, she played Catriona in Absolutely Fabulous, joining forces again with Jennifer Saunders. She had previously worked with Saunders and her comedy partner Dawn French in their sketch show French and Saunders, as well as Happy Families and the ITV sitcom Girls on Top. She also guest-acted in the Gregor Fisher sitcom The Baldy Man.

Lederer has always been a guest or supporting actress on programmes devised by or starring her alternative comedy contemporaries and as such has made a good, consistent career. She has branched out into many 'serious' acting roles too, and was reviewed favourably when she took part in The Vagina Monologues on the West End stage.

As a presenter, she has hosted and voiced lifestyle, religious and children's programmes. She has guested on numerous radio panel games and writes columns for newspapers and magazines.

In December 2009, Lederer appeared on Eggheads and went head-to-head against Kevin Ashman.

Lederer is also one of eight celebrities chosen to participate in an intense week learning Welsh in an eco-friendly chic campsite in Pembrokeshire in the series cariad@iaith:love4language shown on S4C in July 2011.

She appeared in the 2011 British live-action 3D family comedy film Horrid Henry: The Movie, as the title character's aunt Rich Aunt Ruby.

In 2013, Lederer played Miss Bowline-Hitch in the children's television series Old Jack's Boat on the CBeebies channel. This role was alongside veteran actor Bernard Cribbins, playing the role of Jack, and supporting actors Freema Agyeman and Janine Duvitski.[4]

In January 2013 she was a contestant on ITV celebrity diving show Splash!, but was eliminated in the first round.

Since February 2015 Lederer has appeared, as grieving widow Safia, in the BBC soap series Doctors.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Her father was born in 1926 in Teplice, Czechoslovakia; many of her relatives were murdered in the Holocaust.[6]

Lederer has married twice and has a daughter, Hannah Lederer-Alton, with her first husband, Roger Alton. Hannah began her television career in the ITV series Echo Beach in January 2008. Her second husband is Chris Browne, a GP.[7] Helen Lederer is an ambassador for the Prince's Trust and also works with UNICEF.


External links[edit]