Duncan after a performance of John Gabriel Borkman at the Brooklyn Academy of Music
|Born||Lindsay Vere Duncan
7 November 1950
Lindsay Vere Duncan, CBE (born 7 November 1950) is a Scottish stage, television and film actress. On stage she has won two Olivier Awards, a Tony Award for her performance in Private Lives, and another Tony Award nomination for her role in Les Liaisons dangereuses. Duncan has starred in several plays by Harold Pinter. Her most famous roles on television include: Barbara Douglas in Alan Bleasdale's G.B.H. (1991), Servilia of the Junii in the HBO/BBC/RAI series Rome (2005–2007), and Adelaide Brooke in the Doctor Who special "The Waters of Mars" (2009). On film she voiced the android TC-14 in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999), and she played Alice's mother in Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland (2010). She was appointed CBE (Commander of the British Empire) in 2009 for services to drama.
Duncan was born in Edinburgh, Scotland, in a working class family; her father had served in the army for 21 years before becoming a civil servant. Her parents moved to Leeds, then Birmingham when she was still a child. Duncan attended King Edward VI High School for Girls in Birmingham through a scholarship. Despite her origins, she speaks with a Received Pronunciation accent. As of 2011, her only role with a Scottish accent is AfterLife (2003).
Duncan's father died in a car accident when she was 15. Her mother was affected by Alzheimer's disease and died in 1994; she inspired Sharman Macdonald to write the play The Winter Guest (1995), which was later adapted as a film by Alan Rickman. Duncan is married to fellow Scottish actor Hilton McRae, whom she met in 1985 at the Royal Shakespeare Company. They live in north London. They have one son, Cal McRae, born September 1991.
Duncan's first contact with theatre was through school productions. She became friends with the future playwright Kevin Elyot, who attended the neighbouring King Edward's School for boys, and followed him to Bristol, where he read Drama at University. She did a number of odd jobs while staging her own production of Joe Orton's Funeral Games.
Duncan joined London's Central School of Speech and Drama at the age of 21. After her training she started out in summer weekly rep in Southwold to gain her Equity card. She appeared in two small roles in Molière's Don Juan at the Hampstead Theatre in 1976, and she joined the Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester when it opened. In 1978 she returned to London in Plenty by David Hare at the National. She appeared on the television in small roles in a special episode of Up Pompeii! and in The New Avengers, and a commercial for Head & Shoulders shampoo. She made her breakthrough on Top Girls by Caryl Churchill, created at the Royal Court in London and later transferred to The Public Theater in New York: her performance as Lady Nijo, a 13th-century Japanese concubine, won her an Obie, her first award. The next year she took her first major role on film in Richard Eyre's Loose Connections with Stephen Rea. At the same time her television work included a filmed version of Frederick Lonsdale's On Approval (1982), Reilly, Ace of Spies (1983) and Dead Head (1985).
In 1985 she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company for the production of Troilus and Cressida, in which she played Helen of Troy. In September she created the role of the Marquise de Merteuil in Les Liaisons Dangereuses, the play by Christopher Hampton after the French novel by Choderlos de Laclos. The play opened at The Other Place in Stratford-upon-Avon. On 8 January 1986 the production transferred to the 200-seat theatre The Pit in London's Barbican Centre, with its original cast intact. In October of the same year the production moved to the Ambassadors in the West End. In April 1987 the cast, including Duncan, took the play to Broadway, with the London production completely recast. For her performance she was nominated for a Tony and won the Olivier Award for Best Actress and a Theatre World Award. She was however replaced by Glenn Close for Dangerous Liaisons — Stephen Frears's film of the play; similarly John Malkovich was selected for the role of Valmont instead of Duncan's co-star Alan Rickman.
In 1988 Duncan won an Evening Standard Award for her role of Maggie in Cat on a Hot Tin Roof by Tennessee Williams. At the same time she became a regular in the plays of Harold Pinter and the television work of Alan Bleasdale and Stephen Poliakoff. She performed for a second season with the RSC in 1994–1995, in A Midsummer Night's Dream in which she played the double role of Hippolyta and Titania. She went on tour in the United States with the rest of the cast, but back and neck pains forced her to be replaced by Emily Button from January to March 1997. Impressed by her performance in David Mamet's The Cryptogram (1994), Al Pacino asked Duncan to play the role of his wife in City Hall (1996) by Harold Becker.
To please her young son, a Star Wars fan, Duncan applied for the role of Anakin Skywalker's mother in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999), but was not cast; she finally accepted to voice an android TC-14. She reunited with Alan Rickman in a revival of Noël Coward's Private Lives (2001–2002), and won a Tony Award for Best Actress and a second Olivier Award for her performance as Amanda Prynne — she was also nominated the same year for her role in Mouth To Mouth by Kevin Elyot.
Duncan played Servilia Caepionis in the 2005 HBO-BBC series Rome and she starred as Rose Harbinson in Starter for 10. Aged by make-up, she played Lord Longford's wife, Elizabeth, in the TV film Longford. In February 2009, she played British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher in Margaret. In November 2009, Duncan played Adelaide Brooke, companion to the Doctor, in the second of the 2009 Doctor Who specials. Duncan played Alice's mother in Tim Burton's 2010 film Alice in Wonderland, alongside Mia Wasikowska, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter. She also starred in the original London run of Polly Stenham's play That Face at the Royal Court co-starring Matt Smith and directed by Jeremy Herrin. She did the narration for the Matt Lucas and David Walliams 2010/2011 fly-on-the-wall mockumentary series Come Fly with Me on the BBC. In October–November 2010, Duncan starred in a new version by Frank McGuinness of Ibsen's John Gabriel Borkman at the Abbey Theatre, Dublin alongside her Liaisons dangereuses co-stars Alan Rickman and Fiona Shaw. The production transferred in January–February 2011 to the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
Alan Bleasdale asked for Duncan to feature in his first work for television after ten years of absence, The Sinking of the Laconia, aired on January 2011; she plays an upper-class passenger in the two-part drama based on a true story of World War II. She also played the mother of Matt Smith in the telefilm Christopher and His Kind written by Kevin Elyot after Christopher Isherwood's autobiography of the same title. In October–November 2011, Duncan read extracts of the King James Bible at the National Theatre, London as part of the 400th anniversary celebrations of the translation. She played Queen Annis, ruler of Caerleon and antagonist of Merlin, in the 5th episode of the fourth series of BBC1's Merlin. She also appeared as Home Secretary Alex Cairns to Rory Kinnear's Prime Minister in "The National Anthem", the first episode of Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror.
Duncan started 2012 as a guest in the New Year special of Absolutely Fabulous, playing the part of Saffy's favourite film actress, 'Jeanne Durand'. In February she returned to the West End in Noël Coward's Hay Fever with Kevin McNally, Jeremy Northam and Olivia Colman, once again under the direction of Howard Davies. Later in 2012, Duncan featured in BBC2's productions of Shakespeare's history plays. She is to play the Duchess of York in the first film, Richard II, with David Suchet as the Duke of York and Patrick Stewart as John of Gaunt.
|1976||Dom Juan||Charlotte/Violetta||Hampstead Theatre, London|
|1976||Script, TheThe Script||Hampstead Theatre, London|
|1976||Zack||Sally Teale||Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester|
|1976||Rivals, TheThe Rivals||Lucy||Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester|
|1976||Prince of Homburg, TheThe Prince of Homburg||Natalie||Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. British premiere of the play.|
|1977||Deep Blue Sea, TheThe Deep Blue Sea||Anne||Cambridge Arts Theatre|
|1977||Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold, TheThe Ordeal of Gilbert Pinfold||Margaret||Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester. After a novel by Evelyn Waugh.|
|1977||What the Butler Saw||Geraldine Barclay||Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester|
|1977||Skin of Our Teeth, TheThe Skin of Our Teeth||Gladys||Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester|
|1977||Present Laughter||Daphne||Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester|
|1977||Twelfth Night||Viola||Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester|
|1978||Plenty||Dorcas||National Theatre, London|
|1978||Comings and Goings||Hilary||Hampstead Theatre, London|
|1979||Recruiting Officer, TheThe Recruiting Officer||Sylvia||Bristol Old Vic/Edinburgh Festival|
|1980||Julius Caesar||Portia||Riverside Studios, London|
|1980||Provoked Wife, TheThe Provoked Wife||Belinda||National Theatre, London|
|1981||Incident at Tulse Hill||Rosemary||Hampstead Theatre, London. Directed by Harold Pinter.|
|1982||Top Girls||Lady Nijo/Win||Royal Court Theatre, Londres then Joe Papp's Public Theater, New York
Won – Obie Award.
|1984||Progress||Ronnie||Bush Theatre, London|
|1985–1986||Troilus and Cressida||Helen||Royal Shakespeare Company: Stratford-upon-Avon/Barbican Theatre|
|1985–1986||Les Liaisons dangereuses||Marquise de Merteuil||Royal Shakespeare Company: Ambassadors Theatre, Londres then Music Box Theatre, New York.
Won – Olivier Award for Best Actress and a Theatre World Award; nominated – Tony Award for Best Actress.
|1985–1986||Merry Wives of Windsor, TheThe Merry Wives of Windsor||Mistress Ford||Royal Shakespeare Company: Stratford-upon-Avon/Barbican Theatre|
|1988||Cat on a Hot Tin Roof||Maggie||National Theatre, London
Won – Evening Standard Theatre Award
|1988||Hedda Gabler||Hedda Gabler||Hampstead Theatre, London|
|1990||Bérénice||Bérénice||National Theatre, London|
|1993||Three Hotels||Barbara Boyle||Tricycle Theatre, London|
|1994||Cryptogram, TheThe Cryptogram||Donny||Ambassadors Theatre, London|
|1995||Midsummer Night's Dream, AA Midsummer Night's Dream||Titania/Hippolyta||Royal Shakespeare Company: Barbican Theatre, London then The Lunt Fontanne, New York, afterwards adapted to film|
|1996||Ashes to Ashes||Rebecca||Gramercy Theater, New York|
|1997||Homecoming, TheThe Homecoming||Ruth||National Theatre, London|
|2000||Celebration/The Room||Prue/Rose (double bill)||Almeida Theatre, London, then the Pinter Festival New York|
|2001||Mouth to Mouth||Laura||Albery Theatre, London
Won – Critics' Circle Theatre Award; nominated – Olivier Award, Evening Standard Award
|2001||Private Lives||Amanda Prynne||Albery Theatre, London, then Broadway
Won – Olivier Award for Best Actress, Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play, Critics' Circle Theatre Award, Drama Desk Award and Variety Club Showbusiness Award; nominated – Evening Standard Award
|2007||That Face||Martha||Royal Court Theatre/Duke of York's Theatre
Nominated – Oliver Award for Best Actress
|2010||John Gabriel Borkman||Ella Rentheim||Abbey Theatre, Dublin, then Brooklyn Academy of Music, New York|
|2012||Hay Fever||Judith Bliss||Noël Coward Theatre, London|
|2014||A Delicate Balance||Claire||John Golden Theatre, Broadway|
|1985||Samson and Delilah||Alice Nankervis||Short, after a novel by D.H. Lawrence|
|1987||Prick Up Your Ears||Anthea Lahr|
|1988||Manifesto||Lily Sachor||After a novel by Émile Zola|
|1989||Child Eater, TheThe Child Eater||Eirwen||Short|
|1990||Reflecting Skin, TheThe Reflecting Skin||Dolphin Blue||Catalonian International Film Festival Award for Best Actress|
|1991||Body Parts||Dr Agatha-Webb||After a novel by Boileau-Narcejac|
|1996||City Hall||Sydney Pappas|
|1996||Midsummer's Night Dream, AA Midsummer's Night Dream||Hippolyta / Titania||From the 1994–1995 Royal Shakespeare Company stage production|
|1999||Ideal Husband, AnAn Ideal Husband||Lady Markby||After the play by Oscar Wilde|
|1999||Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace||TC-14||Voice|
|1999||Expelling the Demon||Woman||Voice, short. Screenplay by A-Soma|
|1999||Mansfield Park||Mrs. Price / Lady Bertram||After the novel by Jane Austen|
|2003||Under the Tuscan Sun||Katherine||After the novel by Frances Mayes|
|2003||AfterLife||May Brogan||Bratislava International Film Festival Award for Best Actress, Bowmore Scottish Screen Award|
|2004||Queen of Sheba's Pearls, TheThe Queen of Sheba's Pearls||Audrey Pretty|
|2006||Starter for Ten||Rose Harbinson||After the novel by David Nicholls|
|2010||Burlesque Fairytales||Ice Queen|
|2010||Alice in Wonderland||Helen Kingsleigh||After Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll|
|2012||Last Passenger||Elaine Middleton|
|2013||About Time||Mary Lake|
|2013||Le Week-End||Meg Burrows|
|2014||Birdman||Tabitha||The character Tabitha is the New York Times theatre critic|
|1975||Up Pompeii!||Scrubba||Series (BBC), special episode ‘Further Up Pompeii!’|
|1976||One-Upmanship||Series (BBC), episode ‘Woomanship’|
|1977||New Avengers, TheThe New Avengers||Jane||Series, episode ‘The Angels of Death’|
|1979||The Winkler||Diane||ITV Playhouse|
|1980||Dick Turpin||Catherine Langford||Series, episode ‘Deadlier Than the Male’|
|1980||Grown-Ups||Christine Butcher||BBC2 Playhouse, directed by Mike Leigh|
|1982||Muck and Brass||Jean Torrode||Series, episodes ‘Public Relations’ and ‘Our Green and Pleasant Land’|
|1982||On Approval||Helen Hayle||Filmed production of Frederick Lonsdale's On Approval, BBC Play of the Month|
|1983||Reilly, Ace of Spies||The Plugger||Mini series, episode ‘After Moscow’|
|1984||Rainy Day Women||Karen Miller||BBC Play for Today|
|1984||Travelling Man||Andrea||Series, episodes ‘First Leg’, ‘The Collector’, ‘The Watcher’, ‘Grasser’, ‘Moving On’, ‘Sudden Death’|
|1986||Dead Head||Dana||Series, episodes ‘Why me?’, ‘Anything for England’, ‘The Patriot’|
|1986||Kit Curran||Pamela Scott||Series, all episodes|
|1989||These Foolish Things||Gutrune Day||BBC The Play on One|
|1989||Traffik||Helen Rosshalde||Mini-series, written by Simon Moore, all episodes|
|1988–1990||Colin's Sandwich||Rosemary||Series, episodes ‘Enough’ (1988) and ‘Zanzibar’ (1990)|
|1990||TECX||Laura Pellin||Series, épisode ‘Getting Personnel’|
|1991||Storyteller: Greek Myths, TheThe Storyteller: Greek Myths||Medea||Series, episode ‘Theseus & the Minotaur’|
|1991||Screenplay||Kath Peachey||Series, episode ‘Redemption’|
|1991||G.B.H.||Barbara Douglas||Mini-series, witten by Alan Bleasdale, episodes ‘Only Here on a Message’, ‘Send a Message to Michael’, ‘Message Sent’, ‘Message received’, ‘Message Understood’, ‘Over and Out’
Nominated – TV BAFTA for Best Actress
|1993||Year in Provence, AA Year in Provence||Annie Mayle||Miniseries, all episodes. After Peter Mayle's book.|
|1994||Rector's Wife, TheThe Rector's Wife||Anne Bouverie||Series, all episodes. After the novel by Joanna Trollope.|
|1995||Just William||Lady Walton||Series, episode ‘William Clears the Slums’|
|1995||Jake's Progress||Monica||Miniseries, episodes 1.1, 1.2, 1.3, 1.4, 1.6|
|1999||History of Tom Jones, A Foundling, TheThe History of Tom Jones, A Foundling||Lady Bellaston||Miniseries, episodes 1, 3, 4, 5. After the novel by Henry Fielding.|
|1998||Get Real||Louise||Series, all episodes|
|1999||Shooting the Past||Marilyn Truman||Telefilm (BBC), written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff
Nominated – TV BAFTA for Best Actress
|1999||Oliver Twist||Elizabeth Leeford||Miniseries, all episodes. Adapted by Alan Bleasdale after Charles Dickens' novel.|
|2000||Victoria Wood with All The Trimmings||Pam||Christmas special, segment ‘Women Institute’|
|2001||Perfect Strangers||Alice||Series, all episodes. Written and directed by Stephen Poliakoff
Nominated — TV BAFTA for Best Actress
|2001||Witness of Truth: The Railway Murders||Narrator's Voice||Telefilm|
|2005||Agatha Christie's Poirot||Lady Tamplin||Series, episode ‘The Mystery of the Blue Train’|
|2005–2006||Spooks||Angela Wells||Episodes ‘Diana’ and ‘Gas and Oil, Part One’|
|2005–2007||Rome||Servilia of the Junii||Series, 18 episodes|
|2007||Frankenstein||Professor Jane Pretorius||Telefilm|
|2008||Criminal Justice||Alison Slaughter||Miniseries, episodes 3–5|
|2008||Lost in Austen||Lady Catherine de Bourgh||Miniseries, episodes 3 and 4|
|2009||Margaret||Margaret Thatcher||Nominated – Scottish BAFTA Award for Best Actress|
|2009||Doctor Who||Adelaide Brooke||Special episode: ‘The Waters of Mars’|
|2009||Margot||Ninette de Valois||Telefilm (BBC)|
|2010||Agatha Christie's Marple||Marina Gregg||Episode: ‘The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side’|
|2010||Mission: 2110||Cybele||Children game show|
|2010–2011||Come Fly with Me||Narrator (voice)||Series, all episodes|
|2011||Sinking of the Laconia, TheThe Sinking of the Laconia||Elisabeth Fullwood||Miniseries (BBC), all episodes. Written by Alan Bleasdale.|
|2011||Christopher and His Kind||Kathleen Isherwood||Telefilm, written by Kevin Elyot after Christopher Isherwood's autobiography|
|2011–2012||Merlin||Queen Annis||Series (BBC1), 4th season, 5th season|
|2011||Black Mirror||Home Secretary Alex Cairns||Miniseries, first episode: ‘The National Anthem’ (Channel 4). Written by Charlie Brooker.|
|2011||Against the Wall||Faith Kowalski||Police-crime drama television series, episode ‘We Have a Cop in Trouble Here‘|
|2012||Absolutely Fabulous||Jeanne Durand||New Year's Day 'Special' (BBC1)|
|2012||White Heat||Lilly||Series (BBC2), written by Paula Milne|
|2012||Richard II||Duchess of York||Telefilm (BBC2) – filmed production of Shakespeare's play|
|2012||Spy||The Director||Episodes ‘Codename: Citizen Lame’ and ‘Codename - Show Stopper’|
|2012||Wallander||Monika Westin||Episode ‘Before the Frost’|
|2013||Count Arthur Strong||Dame Agnes|
|2014||Sherlock||Lady Smallwood||Final Episode of Series Three ‘His Last Vow’|
|2014||The Honorable Woman||Anjelica Hayden-Hoyle|
- John Walsh (18 January 1997). "The stainless steel queen". The Independent. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- Kevin Jackson (23 October 2005). "Lindsay Duncan: When in Rome". The Independent (London). Retrieved 7 May 2010.
- Tony Collins (7 May 2009). "Actress Lindsay Duncan helps Birmingham school celebrate". Birmingham Mail. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- Anna Burnside (26 June 2005). "The rose who showed her thorns". The Sunday Times. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- Clare Bayley (January 2005). "Listening to the teenager within". The Independent. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- Matt Wolf (5 May 2011). "Hilton McRae on Sharing the London Stage with Judy Garland in End of the Rainbow". Broadway.com. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- Harriet Lane (23 April 2007). "Bad girl. Lindsay Duncan talks to Harriet Lane about her new play". The Guardian. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- The London Gazette: . 13 June 2009.
- "Thames Adverts, 25th January 1979 (1)". Retrieved 26 July 2010.
- "Lindsay Duncan". Masterclass, Theatre Royal Haymarket. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
- "The Tragedy of Troilus and Cressida". Royal Shakespeare Company. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
- Brian Viner (May 2001). "Lindsay Duncan: The thinking man's femme fatale". The Independent. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
- Emine Saner (14 February 2009). "Saturday Interviews – Lindsay Duncan". The Guardian. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
- "A Midsummer Night's Dream". Royal Shakespeare Company. Retrieved 26 June 2011.
- "The Royal Shakespeare Company's U.S. Tour - Robert Gillespie's Diary". Jane Network Productions. Retrieved 26 June 2010.
- "Lindsay Duncan's double-nomination triumph". Officiallondontheatre.co.uk. January 2002..
- "Lindsay Duncan: I'm thrilled to be Doctor Who's new assistant". The Daily Record. 18 February 2009. Retrieved 18 February 2009.
- "Lindsay Duncan to star in second Doctor Who Special of 2009.". Retrieved 18 February 2009.
- Fintan Walsh. "John Gabriel Borkman". The Irish Theatre Magazine.
- "John Gabriel Borkman". BAM.
- Robert Chalmers (12 December 2010). "In from the cold: Alan Bleasdale on his return to television after a decade in the wilderness". The Independent.
- "King James Bible: In the Beginning — Cast and credits". National Theatre.
- Morgan Jeffery. "James Callis, Lindsay Duncan for 'Merlin' roles". Digital Spy. Retrieved 16 September 2011.
- Charlie Brooker: the dark side of our gadget addiction (1 December 2011). "Charlie Brooker: the dark side of our gadget addiction". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
- Kate Kellaway (26 February 2012). "Lindsay Duncan: 'There's pain as well as laughter in Noël Coward's plays'". The Observer. Retrieved 2 March 2012.
- Vanessa Thorpe (29 May 2011). "Shakespeare gets the starring role in cultural celebration alongside Olympics". The Observer. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- Mike Watkins (May 2011). "BBC Two to air Shakespeare works Richard II, Henry IV Parts I and II and Henry V". ATV Guide. Retrieved 20 June 2011.
- Lindsay Duncan at the Internet Movie Database
- Lindsay Duncan's resume on her agent's website
- NYTimes feature article, 2014