|Born||Sarah Caroline Olivia Colman
30 January 1974
Norwich, Norfolk, England, United Kingdom
|Education||Homerton College, Cambridge,
Bristol Old Vic Theatre School
Colman first came to prominence for her supporting role as Sophie Chapman in the Channel 4 comedy series Peep Show (2003-2010). Her other TV comedy roles include Green Wing (2004-2006), Beautiful People (2008-2009), Rev. (2010-2014) and Twenty Twelve (2011-2012). She also played various roles in That Mitchell and Webb Look (2006-2008), alongside her Peep Show co-stars David Mitchell and Robert Webb. Her move to drama saw her receive critical acclaim for her performance as Hannah in the 2011 film Tyrannosaur. Her other film roles include Carol Thatcher in The Iron Lady (2011), Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother in Hyde Park on Hudson (2012) and Bethan in Locke (2013).
In 2012, she appeared in the BBC One series Accused, for which she won the BAFTA TV Award for Best Supporting Actress. At the same ceremony, she also won Best Female Comedy Performance for Twenty Twelve. In 2013, she starred as DS Ellie Miller in the ITV crime series Broadchurch, which won her the BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress.
Colman was born in Norwich, Norfolk, to a nurse mother and a chartered surveyor father. Colman was educated at two independent schools, Norwich High School for Girls in Norwich and Gresham's School in Holt, and then at Homerton College, Cambridge, spending a term doing a primary school teacher training course. During this time, at the age of 20, she auditioned for the Footlights and first met future co-stars David Mitchell and Robert Webb, who were vetting applicants.
In addition to this, Colman met her future husband Ed Sinclair, then a third-year law student who had become disillusioned with law and preferred to write, in a production of Alan Ayckbourn's Table Manners at the Footlights. Colman fell in love with Sinclair at first sight, adding that she thought "there's the bloke I'm going to marry" and that "My husband and I were very lucky. We met when we had nothing and we loved each other then. So we were all right. We were 20 and he was also an actor. If you meet at that age then you are fine. For me, it was thunderbolts straight away". Crediting Sinclair for helping her get through tough times, Colman has said that "[Sinclair] was gorgeous, the most beautiful thing I'd ever seen", suggesting that the feeling was not instantly mutual, and added that "I stuck with him and made him realize he could only be happy with me. I still feel like I'm punching above my weight". Colman and Sinclair married, and they have two children.
Television and radio
Colman has appeared in roles in numerous BBC, ITV and Channel 4 television programmes, such as Bruiser, People Like Us, Look Around You, Black Books, The Office, The Time Of Your Life and provided the voice-over for Five's poll for Britain’s Funniest Comedy Character. She regularly features in BBC Radio 4 comedies, such as Concrete Cow, Think the Unthinkable, The House of Milton Jones and Dirk Gently's Holistic Detective Agency. She is also the voice of Minka, the Polish secretary in the Radio 4 comedy Hut 33, set in a fictional codebreaking hut of the real-life Bletchley Park during World War II. Colman has also appeared alongside former Grange Hill actor Mark Burdis in advertisements for the AA (Automobile Association) in the early 2000s. Colman has worked with the comedians Mitchell & Webb on several projects. Colman met the duo when they were all students at Cambridge University. She has appeared with them in numerous TV and radio series, such as radio's That Mitchell and Webb Sound, and the television version, That Mitchell and Webb Look. She decided to leave the programme after deciding that she was becoming too closely associated with the duo and needed to widen her horizons: a decision that was made "with tears". She continued to appear on Peep Show until 2010.
In October and November 2008, Colman appeared in the BBC sitcom Beautiful People, based on the life of Simon Doonan, as Debbie Doonan, Simon's mother. She also made a guest appearance in Skins, in the third-series episode "Naomi" as Naomi's mother Gina. In 2010, Colman took a leading role as Alex Smallbone, the wife of an inner city vicar, in the BBC sitcom Rev. Also in 2010, she played "Mother" in Matt Smith's debut Doctor Who story.
In spring 2011, Colman appeared in the BBC drama Exile, written by Danny Brocklehurst and starring John Simm and Jim Broadbent. In 2011-12 she played Sally Owen, the love-lorn secretary to Hugh Bonneville's character Ian Fletcher in Twenty Twelve, a successful television comedy series about planning for the 2012 Olympic Games in London.
In 2013, Colman played DS Ellie Miller in the hit ITV drama Broadchurch. This eight-part drama set in the fictional Dorset town of Broadchurch follows the reaction of a tight-knit community when a young boy is killed under suspicious circumstances.
Colman's film credits include the British mockumentary film Confetti (in which she plays a naturist with Robert Webb, a role she described as "the worst experience of my life"), Alice in Grow Your Own, Doris Thatcher in Hot Fuzz, and I Could Never Be Your Woman. Colman appeared as 'Bev', alongside Mark Burdis as 'Kev', in a series of television adverts for AA car insurance. She provided voices for the Andrex "be kind to your behind" adverts and Glade fragrance adverts, where her character is a gorilla.
Colman was a leading cast member in Paddy Considine's first two films: Dog Altogether and Tyrannosaur. Colman has worked several times with Considine, having acted together in Hot Fuzz, where they met, and also in Le Donk & Scor-zay-zee. She also acted alongside him in the second The Suspicions of Mr Whicher film in 2013.
Colman played Carol Thatcher in the Academy Award-winning 2011 film The Iron Lady. In her BAFTA acceptance speech for Best Actress, lead actress Meryl Streep thanked Colman and described her as "divinely gifted". In 2012 she was nominated twice in the "Best Actress" category at the British Comedy Awards.
Since 2013, Colman has been a judge on the panel of the Norwich Film Festival.
In January 2011, Colman won a Sundance Film Festival World Cinema Special Jury Prize for Breakout Performances for her role in the film Tyrannosaur. Her performance also received the 2012 Kermode Award for Best Actress.
|2000||Bruiser||Various characters||Six episodes|
|2001||The Mitchell and Webb Situation||Various characters||Five episodes|
|People Like Us||Unnamed character||Episode 2.1: "The Vicar"|
|Mr Charity||Distressed mother||Episode 1.5: "Nice to Feed You"|
|Comedy Lab||Linda||Daydream Believers: "Brand New Beamer"|
|2002||Rescue Me||Paula||Episode 1.4|
|Holby City||Kim Prebble||Episode 4.45: "New Hearts, Old Scores"|
|The Office||Helena||Episode 2.6|
|2003||Gash||Various characters||Three episodes|
|Eyes Down||Mandy Foster||Episode 1.3: "Stars in Their Eyes"|
|The Strategic Humor Initiative||Various characters|
|2003–2010||Peep Show||Sophie Chapman||32 episodes
Nominated - British Comedy Award for Best Comedy Actress (2008)
|2004||Black Books||Tanya||Episode 3.2: "Elephants and Hens"|
|Swiss Toni||Linda Byron||Episode 2.1: "Troubleshooter"|
|NY-LON||Lucy||Episode 1.5: "Something About Family"|
|Coming Up||Receptionist||Episode 2.1: "The Baader Meinhoff Gang Show"|
|2004–2006||Green Wing||Harriet Schulenburg||18 episodes|
|Look Around You||Pam Bachelor||Six episodes|
|Help||Unnamed character||Episode 1.6|
|The Robinsons||Connie||Episode 1.3|
|Murder in Suburbia||Ellie||Episode 2.6: "Golden Oldies"|
|ShakespeaRe-Told||Ursula||Episode 1.1 "Much Ado About Nothing"|
|2006–2008||That Mitchell and Webb Look||Various characters||13 episodes|
|2007||The Grey Man||Linda Dodds|
|The Time of Your Life||Amanda||Six episodes|
|2008||Love Soup||Penny||Episode 2.2: "Integrated Logistics"|
|Hancock and Joan||Marion||TV film|
|Consuming Passion||Janet/Nurse Violetta Kiss||TV film|
|2008–2009||Beautiful People||Debbie Doonan||12 episodes|
|2009||Skins||Gina Campbell||Episode 3.6: "Naomi"|
|Midsomer Murders||Bernice||"Small Mercies"|
|Mister Eleven||Beth||Two episodes|
|2010||Doctor Who||Mother/Prisoner Zero||Episode 5.1: "The Eleventh Hour"|
|2010–2014||Rev||Alex Smallbone||13 episodes|
|2011||Exile||Nancy Ronstadt||Three episodes|
|2011–2012||Twenty Twelve||Sally Owen||Eight episodes
BAFTA TV Award for Best Female Comedy Performance (2013) Nominated - (2012)
|2012||Accused||Sue||Epidode 2.2: "Mo's Story"
Royal Television Society award for Best Actress
BAFTA TV Award for Best Supporting Actress (2013)
|2013||Broadchurch||Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller||BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress
Pending — Satellite Award for Best Actress – Television Series Drama
Nominated — TV Choice Award for Best Actress
Nominated — Monte-Carlo Television Festival for Outstanding Actress in a Mini-Series
Nominated — National Television Award for Best TV Detective
Nominated — International Emmy Award for Best Actress
|2013||The Suspicions of Mr Whicher II: The Murder In Angel Lane||Susan Spencer|
|2013||The Thirteenth Tale||Margaret Lea|
|2013||The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot||Herself|
|2014||The 7.39||Maggie Matthews|
|2014||W1A||Sally Owens (cameo)|
|2014-present||Thomas & Friends||Marion||Voice (UK/US)|
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- Olivia Colman and Utopia up for International Emmys