|Born||Katherine Lucy Bridget Burke
13 June 1964
Camden, London, England
|Occupation||Actress, comedian, playwright, theatre director|
Katherine Lucy Bridget Burke (born 13 June 1964) is an English-Irish actress, comedian, playwright and theatre director. She won Best Actress at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival for her performance in the Gary Oldman film Nil by Mouth.
Burke's film debut was in Mai Zetterling's Scrubbers in 1983. In the 1990s, she became known for her regular appearances in the sketch shows French and Saunders, Harry Enfield's Television Programme and Harry Enfield and Chums, and for her recurring role as Magda in the BBC sitcom Absolutely Fabulous. Her role as Valerie in Nil by Mouth also earned her a BAFTA Award nomination for Best Actress. Her other film roles include Mary I in Elizabeth (1998), Maggie in Dancing at Lughnasa (1998), Marey in This Year's Love (1999), Perry in Kevin & Perry Go Large (2000), Angie in The Martins (2001) and Deirdre in Anita and Me (2002). From 1999–2001, she starred as Linda La Hughes in the BBC sitcom Gimme Gimme Gimme, for which she received two of her five BAFTA TV Award nominations. Since 2001, she has concentrated more on her work as a director, although she did appear as Connie Sachs in the 2011 film Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
Burke was born at the Royal Free Hospital in London, and brought up in the Irish area of Islington. She has two elder brothers, John and Barry. Her mother Bridget (Bridie) died of cancer when she was two, and she was brought up by neighbours (the Galvin family) for the following few years. Subsequently, she returned to live with her Irish father Patrick (Paddy) who died of cancer in 1985. Burke attended the Maria Fidelis RC Convent School. She then studied theatre at Anna Scher Theatre.
Burke's first role was in the controversial 1983 film Scrubbers, directed by Swedish actress Mai Zetterling and featuring Pam St. Clement, Robbie Coltrane, Miriam Margolyes, Honey Bane, Debby Bishop and Eva Mottley. The film was set in a young offenders' institute for girls and was seen as a female version of the film Scum.
Burke appeared in a non-speaking role in a 1985 public information film about heroin addiction.
Burke first became familiar to television audiences as a player of minor roles in sketches by better-known performers such as Harry Enfield, Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders. Early TV work included regular appearances on the chat show "The Last Resort" hosted by Jonathan Ross on UK Channel 4 in the mid-1980s, playing the characters 'Tina Bishop' and 'Perry the Pre-pubescent Schoolboy". Bishop was a continually pregnant "expert" offering advice on household chores, always with disastrous results. Along with French and Saunders, she has contributed to two Comic Relief charity singles. She first appeared as a member of Bananarama parody band Lananeeneenoonoo in 1989, and then as a member of Spice Girls' look-alike band the Sugar Lumps in 1997. In real life Burke is a big fan of Morrissey and appeared in the video for his 1989 single "Ouija Board, Ouija Board" and later in the 2002 Channel 4 documentary The Importance of Being Morrissey.
Burke was awarded the Royal Television Society Award for Best Actress, for her performance as the mute Martha in the 1993 BBC tv series Mr Rowe's Virgins.
Burke won the Best Actress award at the 1997 Cannes Film Festival for her role in the gritty drama Nil by Mouth which also earned her a BAFTA nomination for Best Actress in a Leading Role. Since then she has appeared as Perry in Kevin & Perry Go Large, and as Linda La Hughes in Gimme Gimme Gimme (which she developed with wrilter Jonathan Harvey) where she was nominated for 3 British Comedy Awards (winning one), 2 BAFTA TV Awards and a National Television Award for her performance. In 2000, she appeared in the cult film Love Honour and Obey with Ray Burdis.
In 2003, she was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy.
Beginning in 2001, she refrained from acting and threw herself into theatre directing; something she considers to be one of her true passions. She said in an interview with Dawn French in Dawn French's Girls Who do Comedy that she no longer felt the same creative energy associated with acting that she used to (she described it as a "feeling in my belly") and that this was the reason she had stopped acting. However, she has done some voiceover work in the past few years, including adverts for Ski yoghurt (in the UK) as well as Flushed Away (2006). She also appeared in the 2007 Christmas Special of The Catherine Tate Show as Nan's daughter.
In early 1990 she wrote and directed her first play, Mr Thomas, at the Old Red Lion Theatre. Set in 1950s London it starred James Clyde, Anita Graham, Jamie Oliver, Ian Jentle, Oliver Smith and Ray Winstone. It was subsequently filmed and shown on Channel 4 the next year.
In 2007, Burke contracted Clostridium difficile while in hospital for an operation, resulting in her having to pass directing duties on Dying for It at the Almeida Theatre (which starred Charlie Condou and Sophie Stanton who she worked with on Gimme Gimme Gimme).
In 2010, Burke completed a short autobiographical film, "Better Than Christmas", for Little Crackers, a collection of comic shorts. Burke plays a nun. On 19 January 2012, it was announced that Burke's short for Little Crackers would be turned into a four-part series, "Walking and Talking", written by Burke. Burke is also expected to appear as a nun in each of the episodes. The series aired in the summer of 2012 on Sky Atlantic.
In 2011, Burke played Connie Sachs in the film adaptation of the novel Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy. She was long-listed for a BAFTA nomination for her performance as Supporting Actress in 2012.
- Lilli in Amongst Barbarians by Michael Wall at the Royal Exchange, Manchester (1989)
- It's a Great Big Shame! by Mike Leigh (Theatre Royal Stratford East, 1993)
- Out in the Open by Jonathan Harvey at the Hampstead Theatre.
- Kosher Harry (2002) by Nick Grosso at the Royal Court Theatre.
- Born Bad (2003) by Debbie Tucker Green at the Hampstead Theatre.
- Love Me Tonight (2004) by Nick Stafford at the Hampstead Theatre.
- 1994 Royal Television Society Award - Best Actress - Mr Rowe's Virgins
- 1997 Cannes Film Festival – Best Actress – Nil By Mouth
- 1997 British Independent Film Award – Best Actress – Nil by Mouth
- 2002 British Comedy Awards – Best Comedy Actress – Gimme Gimme Gimme
- 1998 Bafta Film Awards – Best Actress – Nil By Mouth
- 1998 Bafta TV Awards – Best Actress – Tom Jones
- 1998 Bafta TV Awards – Best Light Entertainment Performance – Harry Enfield and Chums
- 1999 Bafta TV Awards – Best Light Entertainment Performance – Harry Enfield's Yule log Chums
- 2001 Bafta TV Awards – Best Comedy Performance – Gimme Gimme Gimme
- 2002 Bafta TV Awards – Best Comedy Performance – Gimme Gimme Gimme
- "Kathy Burke". Desert Island Discs. 15 August 2010. BBC Radio 4. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00tcz90. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
- "Biography". kathyburke.co.uk. Retrieved 10 April 2012.
- "Festival de Cannes: Nil by Mouth". festival-cannes.com. Retrieved 23 September 2009.
- "My acting days are over". The Daily Telegraph (London). 19 October 2004. Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- "I almost died from superbug, says actress Kathy Burke". Daily Mail (London). 10 January 2008.
- Press Releases: Horne and Corden come up trumps for BBC Three | BBC Press Office
- Bamigboye, Baz (22 October 2010). "BAZ BAMIGBOYE: Why Kathy Burke is coming in from the cold". Daily Mail (London).
- "Nick Stafford". The Agency. Retrieved 5 April 2011.