Lesley Manville

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Lesley Manville
Leslie Manville (cropped).jpg
Born (1956-03-12) 12 March 1956 (age 59)
Brighton, Sussex, England
Occupation Actress
Years active 1974–present
Spouse(s) Gary Oldman (1987–1990)
Joe Dixon (2000–2004)
Children Alfie

Lesley Manville[1] (born 12 March 1956) is an English actress of film, theatre and television.

Manville began her career on stage in the 1972 West End musical I and Albert. In the 1980s, she appeared in the films Dance with a Stranger (1985), directed by Mike Newell and Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (1987), directed by Stephen Frears. She frequently collaborates with director Mike Leigh, twice being named British Actress of the Year at the London Film Critics Circle Awards for her performances in his 2002 film All or Nothing and his 2010 film Another Year. For the latter, she also received a BAFTA Award nomination. Other Mike Leigh films she has appeared in include High Hopes (1988), Secrets & Lies (1996), Topsy Turvy (1999), Vera Drake (2004) and Mr. Turner (2014).

Her extensive career on stage includes appearing in the early 1980s Royal Court productions of Andrea Dunbar's Rita, Sue and Bob Too (1981) and Carol Churchill's Top Girls (1982). She also appeared in Top Girls in New York, in the 1983 Off-Broadway production. Other roles include As You Like It (1985) and Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1985-1986), at the RSC and All About My Mother (2007) and Six Degrees of Separation (2010), at the Old Vic. At the National Theatre, her work includes His Dark Materials (2005), The Alchemist (2006) and her Olivier nominated role in Mike Leigh's Grief (2011). For her role as Helena in the National's revival of the Ibsen play Ghosts (2013), she won the 2014 Olivier Award for Best Actress.

Early life[edit]

Manville was born in Brighton, Sussex, to a former ballet dancer mother and a taxicab driver father.[2] She was brought up in nearby Hove,[3] one of three daughters.[3][4] Training as a soprano singer from age 8, she twice became under-18 champion of Sussex.[3] She began acting as a teenager, appearing in television series such as King Cinder. As a result, at age 15, she gained a place at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts.[5]


After turning down teacher Arlene Phillips' invitation to join her new dance troupe Hot Gossip,[3][4][5] she was taught improvisation by Italia Conti teacher Julia Carey.[3]

Her first job was in West End theatre in the musical I and Albert directed by John Schlesinger,[3] which was followed by television presentation on Westward Television's version of the BBC's Blue Peter. She paid for her first flat taking a part on Emmerdale Farm, which lasted for 80 episodes.[3]

Manville built a career as a distinctive theatre actress, appearing in new plays at the Royal Shakespeare Company's Warehouse and Royal Court Theatre.[6]

In 1979, she met Mike Leigh, who was looking for RSC actors who could improvise.[4] She starred in the 1980 BBC play Grown-Ups. She subsequently appeared in Leigh's films High Hopes, Secrets & Lies, Topsy-Turvy, All or Nothing and Another Year. Other film appearances include: Dance with a Stranger, Sammy and Rosie Get Laid, High Season and The Great Ecstasy of Robert Carmichael, as well as A Christmas Carol[7] and Womb.[8]

Manville has also remained active on television, with credits such as The Gentle Touch, Coronation Street, Bulman, Soldier Soldier, Ain't Misbehavin', Tears Before Bedtime, Kavanagh QC, Holding On, Silent Witness, Real Women, The Cazalets, North and South and Cranford.[citation needed][6] and "Mayday" in 2013.

In 2011, Manville starred in Mike Leigh's play Grief at the National Theatre.[9][10]


For her role as Nadine in the series Other People's Children, Manville received a nomination for Best Actress in the 2000 Royal Television Society Awards.[11] In 2002 Manville received another nomination for her performance in the tv series, Bodily Harm.[12]

For her role in All or Nothing she won the London Film Critics' Circle British Actress of the Year in 2002.[13]

For her role in Another Year she has been nominated for the British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actress and the European Film Award for Best Actress, as well as the Chicago Film Critics Award for Best Actress.[14] She won her second London Film Critics Circle award for British Actress of the Year.[15] She also won the National Board of Review Award for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress from the San Diego Film Critics Society.[16] On 18 January 2011, she received a BAFTA nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category.[17] On 7 February 2011, former Charlie's Angels stars Jaclyn Smith and Cheryl Ladd presented the Best Actress Award to Lesley Manville for "Another Year" at the "Movies for Grownups Awards".[18] On stage, she received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress in 2012 for Grief. In 2014, she won the Olivier Award for Best Actress and the Critics' Circle Theatre Award for Best Actress for Ghosts.[19][20]

Personal life[edit]

She met her first husband Gary Oldman while working at the Royal Court Theatre. Oldman left her in 1989, three months after their son, Alfie, was born. Her second marriage was to Joe Dixon.[4] As of 2007, Manville lived with her son in East Grinstead, West Sussex.[5]

Film and television[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1985 Dance with a Stranger Maryanne
1987 Sammy and Rosie Get Laid Margy
1987 High Season Carol
1988 High Hopes Laetitia Boothe-Braine
1989 The Firm Sue Bissel
1996 Secrets & Lies Social Worker
1999 Topsy-Turvy Lucy Gilbert Nominated—London Film Critics Circle Award for Best British Supporting Actress of the Year
2002 All or Nothing Penny Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actress
London Film Critics Circle Award for Best British Actress of the Year
2004 Vera Drake Mrs. Wells
2005 The Great Ecstasy of Robert Carmichael Sarah Carmichael
2007 Richard Is My Boyfriend Mother
2007 Sparkle Jill
2010 Another Year Mary London Film Critics Circle Award for Best British Actress of the Year
National Board of Review Award for Best Actress
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress (3rd place)
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Santa Barbara International Film Festival Virtuoso Award
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated—BIFA Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated—European Film Award for Best Actress
Nominated—San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble Performance
2010 Womb Judith
2013 Romeo and Juliet The Nurse
2013 A Five Star Life Kate Sherman
2013 Spike Island Margaret
2014 Maleficent Flittle
2014 Mr. Turner Mary Somerville
Year Television Feature or Series Role Notes
1974 Village Hall Merle episode: "Dancing in the Dark"
1974 Softly Softly: Task Force Janet episode: "Pop Goes the Weasel"
1974-1976 Emmerdale Farm Rosemary Kendall
1975 Barlow at Large Christine West episode: "Protection"
1976 The Emigrants Janice Parker episode: "13,000 Miles Away"
episode: "Endeavour"
episode: "Chances for the Children"
1977 A Bunch of Fives Helen Wyatt episode: "The Critic"
episode: "Do It Yourself"
1977 Leap in the Dark Julie episode: "The Fetch"
1977i King Cinder Nikki
1978 Wings Francoise episode: "Dawn Attack"
1980 The Gentle Touch Shirley Davies
Shirley Davis
episode: "Loyalties"
episode: "Hammer"
1980 BBC2 Playhouse Mandy episode: "Grown-Ups"
1982 Objects of Affection Liz episode: "Our Winnie"
1982 Coronation Street Jill Mason episode: "Episode #1.2211"
episode: "Episode: #1.2208"
1984 Play for Today Vivienne episode: "Dog Ends"
1985 Bullman Karen Tait episode: "The Name of the Game"
1991 Performance (TV series) Marlene episode: "Top Girls"
1992 Soldier Soldier (TV series) Rachel Fortune
Rachel Elliot
5 episodes
1993 The Mushroom Picker Margot 3 episodes
1993 A Statement of Affairs Carol episode: "Episode #1.1"
1993 Goggle-Eyes Rosalind Killin 4 episodes
1993 Crime Story (TV series) Gail episode: "When the Lies Run Out: The Ian Spiro Story"
1994 Ain't Misbehavin' Melissa Quigley 6 episodes
1994 Little Napoleons Judith Silver episode: "Sleeping with the Enemy"
episode: "The Godfather of Education"
episode: "The Big Interview"
episode: "Path to Power"
1994 A Skirt Through History Bessie Parkes episode: "A Lady's Portion"
1995 Tears Before Bedtime Beattie Freman 4 episodes
1996 The Bite Ellie Shannon 2 episodes
1996 Kavanagh QC Lucy Cartwright episode: "The Commitment"
1997 Holding On Hilary 7 episodes
1997 Painted Lady Susie Peel
1998 Real Women Karen episode: "The Hitch"
episode: "The Hangover"
episode: "The Hen Night"
1998 Silent Witness Suzy Franklin episode: "Fallen Idol"
1999 Toy Boys Mrs. Allen
1999 Real Women II Karen Turner 4 episodes
1999 Milk (1999 film) Fiona
2000 Other People's Children Nadine 2 episodes
Nominated— Royal Television Society Award for Best Actor - Female
2000 Black Cab Yvonne episode: "Lost & Found"
2000 David Copperfield Mrs. Micawber
2001 The Cazalets Villy Cazalet 6 episodes
2002 Bodily Harm (2002 film) Mandy Greenfield 2 episodes
Nominated— Royal Television Society Award for Best Actor - Female
2002 Plain Jane Dora Bruce
2003 Promoted to Glory Capt. Annie Sullivan
2004 Rose and Maloney Professor Diane Marquis 1 episode
2004 North & South Maria Hale 4 episodes
2005 Poirot: Cards on the Table Mrs. Lorrimer episode: "Cards on the Table"
2006 Perfect Parents Sister Antonia
2007 Cranford Mrs. Rose episode: "May 1843"
episode: "April 1843"
episode: "November 1842"
episode: "August 1842"
episode: "June 1842"
2009-2011 Law & Order: UK Phyllis Gladstone episode: "Tick Tock"
episode: "Alesha"
episode: "Vice"
2009 The Queen Margaret Thatcher episode: "The Rivals"
2011 Midsomer Murders Phoebe Archbold episode: "Fit for Murder"
2013 An Adventure in Space and Time Heather Hartnell
2013 Mayday Gail Spicer
5 episodes
2014 Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond Evelyn St. Croix Fleming 4 episodes
2015 River Chrissy Reed Upcoming series


Role Play Theatre Year
Ali Savage Amusement (John Caird) RSC - Warehouse


Sister Croy The Sons of Light (Ron Daniels) RSC - Warehouse


Jen Fear of the Dark (Walter Donohue) Royal Shakespeare Company


? Chorus Girls (Adrian Shergold) Theatre Royal, Stratford East


Second Student Who Needs Enemies? (Walter Donohue) RSC - Warehouse


? Borderline (Max Stafford-Clark) Royal Court


Sue Rita, Sue and Bob Too (Andrea Dunbar) Royal Court


Patient Griselda [21] Top Girls (Caryl Churchill) Royal Court


? Falkland Sound (Max Stafford-Clark) Royal Court


Pat The Pope's Wedding (Max Stafford-Clark) Royal Court


Liz Saved (Danny Boyle) Royal Court


Polya Philistines Royal Shakespeare Company


Dolores The Dead Monkey (Roger Michell) Royal Shakespeare Company


Phebe As You Like It (Adrian Noble) RST


Cécile Les Liaisons Dangereuses (Howard Davies) Pit


Scilla Serious Money (Max Stafford-Clark) Royal Court


Sandra American Bagpipes (Lindsay Posner) Royal Court


Varya The Cherry Orchard (Sam Mendes) Aldwych


Natasha Three Sisters (Adrian Noble) Royal Court


Miss Julie Miss Julie Greenwich Theatre


Lindsay [22] Some Girl(s) Gielgud Theatre


Mrs. Coulter His Dark Materials National Theatre


Lona Pillars of the Community (Marianne Elliott) National Theatre (Lyttelton)


Dol Common The Alchemist National Theatre


Manuela All About My Mother The Old Vic


Celia Cain Her Naked Skin National Theatre


Ouisa Kittredge Six Degrees of Separation The Old Vic


Dorothy Grief National Theatre


Helene Alving Ghosts Almeida Theatre



  1. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 30 May 2014. 
  2. ^ Cooper, Glenda (2014-04-23). "After four decades on the stage, Manville is in no mood to slow down". Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-07-26. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f g Kellaway, Kate (2007-08-12). "The mother superior". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
  4. ^ a b c d Nick Curtis (2010-01-06). "Lesley Manville's six degrees of success". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
  5. ^ a b c Naomi West (2007-08-04). "The world of Lesley Manville, actress". London: daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-05-20. 
  6. ^ a b "Patrons". Hub Theatre Bio of Manville. Retrieved 3 August 2014 June.  Check date values in: |accessdate= (help)
  7. ^ A Christmas Carol IMDb
  8. ^ Womb IMDb
  9. ^ Mike Leigh: Profile of a Playwright Daily Telegraph, 22 September 2011.
  10. ^ This Is London theatre review Evening Standard, 22 September 2011.
  11. ^ "Programme Award Winners 2000". Royal Television Society. 2000. Retrieved 4 August 2014. 
  12. ^ "Programme Awards Winners 2002". Royal Television Society. 2002. Retrieved 4 August 2014. 
  13. ^ London Critics Circle British Actress of the Year Critics Circle web site
  14. ^ Chicago Film Critics Award for Best Actress Chicago Film Critics web site
  15. ^ London Critics Circle for British Actress of the Year
  16. ^ San Diego Film Critics Society San Diego Film Critics Society web site
  17. ^ "Search Results". BAFTA site. Retrieved 14 April 2014. 
  18. ^ Cohrs, Jocelyn (2011). "AARP The Magazine's Movies for Grownups Awards Gala - An Evening of Congratulations, Class, and Circumstance | Splash Magazines | Los Angeles". lasplash.com. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 
  19. ^ "Previous winners search". Olivier Awards site. Retrieved 14 April 2014. 
  20. ^ "Lesley Manville wins critics choice theatre award". West End Frame. Retrieved 29 April 2014. 
  21. ^ Denes, Melissa (16 January 2012). "How we made: Max Stafford-Clark and Lesley Manville on Top Girls". The Guardian (London). 
  22. ^ Quarmby, Kevin (Spring 2005). "Interview with Lesley Manville, Some Girl(s), The Gielgud Theatre". Retrieved 2 August 2014. 

External links[edit]