Pauline Quirke

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Pauline Quirke
Born Pauline Perpetua Quirke[1]
(1959-07-08) 8 July 1959 (age 55)[1]
Hackney, East London, England
Residence Penn, Buckinghamshire[2]
Occupation Actor
Years active 1967–present
Known for Birds of a Feather (1989-98, 2014—)
Emmerdale (2010-12)
Broadchurch (2013—)
Height 5 feet 6 inches (1.68 m)
Spouse(s) Steve Sheen
Official website

Pauline Perpetua Quirke (born 8 July 1959) is an English actress, best known for her role as Sharon Rackham (previously Theodopolopodos) in the long-running comedy series Birds of a Feather between 1989–1998, and again since 2014. She co-stars in the series alongside her lifelong friend and frequent acting partner Linda Robson and actress Lesley Joseph.

Between 2010 and 2012, Pauline played Hazel Rhodes, the mother of established character Jackson Walsh, in the long-running ITV soap opera Emmerdale. She made her last appearance on the show on 25 January 2012.

In 2013, Quirke played Susan Wright in the popular ITV crime drama Broadchurch.


Pauline Quirke began her career as a child actress aged eight with an appearance in Dixon of Dock Green, and later had her own TV show, 'Pauline's Quirkes' Thames Television by 1976, that comprised pop music, teenage topics, and comedy sketches. In 1976 she took the lead role in the 'Special Offer' episode of ATV's 'Beasts', by Nigel Kneale. Also appearing in the episode was Geoffrey Bateman, Wensley Pithey and Ruth Goring. She also had a small role in the movie The Elephant Man in 1980, along with future Emmerdale colleague Lesley Dunlop. Quirke played Veronica in Shine on Harvey Moon, a British television series made by Central Television for ITV from 8 January 1982 to 23 August 1985 and briefly revived in 1995 by Meridian.

Her big break came in 1989, when she began playing the part of Sharon Rackham (previously Theodopolopodos) in the BBC sitcom Birds of a Feather alongside Linda Robson and Lesley Joseph. She remained with the series until its end in 1998 after 9 series and over 100 episodes. In 1994, she was doing the Surf Advert with Linda Robson. In 1996, she starred in the BBC television adaptation of The Sculptress by Minette Walters receiving much critical acclaim for her performance, including a British Academy TV Award nomination for Best Actress. As Birds of a Feather was ending she began playing DI Maisie Raine in Maisie Raine, a drama series for BBC One, which ran for two series from 1998 to 1999.

From 2000 to 2003, she starred alongside Warren Clarke in the BBC series Down to Earth. She made a return to sitcom in 2001 when she starred alongside Neil Stuke, Robert Daws and Pippa Haywood in BBC sitcom Office Gossip. After a promising start with over 6 million viewers the ratings dropped and it was cancelled after the first series. Quirke was nominated for Most Popular Comedy Performer at the National Television Awards for her role. In 2002, she starred alongside Nitin Ganatra in six episodes of Being April, a comedy drama for BBC One. She appeared in Carrie's War in 2004 and in 2005, played a major role in The Bill as Cath Wilson, a woman wrongly convicted of murdering a child.

In 2006, Quirke played Colleen McCabe in The Thieving Headmistress and in 2008, she made one appearance in an episode of My Family as Sharon the Bank Robber. Quirke has frequently been seen in the audience of the hit show Strictly Come Dancing and has appeared on its companion show It Takes Two more than once. She was a contestant on BBC's Celebrity MasterChef in June 2007 but was disqualified for creating a dish that was described by Lloyd Grossman as "in no way resembling a meal".[3]

In 2009 and 2010, she played the lead role in the BBC daytime drama series Missing as DS Mary Jane "MJ" Croft, head of a Missing Persons Unit. In May 2010, it was announced that Quirke would be joining the rural soap opera Emmerdale as Hazel Rhodes, the mother of established character, Jackson Walsh.[4] Quirke said, "I've never done anything like this before so it's something different for me and I'm very happy to be a part of it."[4] On 16 May 2011, it was announced that Quirke had decided to quit Emmerdale. Hazel left on 25 January 2012, and Quirke has since said she would like to return. In 2013, Quirke had a recurring role as Susan Wright in ITV drama series Broadchurch in which her pet Labrador Bailey had an onscreen role.

In 2014, she came back and played her role as Sharon Theodopolopodos as ITV revived Birds of a Feather.


Year Title Role Reference(s)
1989–1998, 2014— Birds of a Feather Sharon Rackham (previously Theodopolopodos)
2009-10 Missing DS Mary Jane 'MJ' Croft
2010-12 Emmerdale Hazel Rhodes
2013— Broadchurch Susan Wright [5]
2014 Loose Women Herself/Panellist [6][7]

Guest appearances[edit]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Nominated For Award Category Result
1990 Birds of a Feather British Comedy Awards Best TV Comedy Newcomer Won
1990 Best TV Comedy Actress Nominated
1997 The Sculptress BAFTA TV Awards Best Actress Nominated
1997 Birds of a Feather National Television Awards Most Popular Comedy Performer Nominated
1998 Most Popular Actress Nominated
1999 Most Popular Comedy Performer Nominated
2001 Office Gossip Nominated
2002 Down to Earth Most Popular Actress Nominated
2011 Emmerdale The British Soap Awards Best Newcomer Nominated

Personal life[edit]

She has two children Emily and Charlie (who stars as Travis in Birds of a Feather) and is married to producer Steve Sheen;[8] they live in Penn, Buckinghamshire.[2] During an appearance on The Paul O'Grady Show in 2007 Pauline told of how she suffers from severe stage fright and nerves and she usually refuses to appear on live TV shows. In 2009 she was diagnosed with osteoarthritis and underwent a hip replacement operation.[2] In 2011 she went on a diet and slimmed down from 19 stone 6 pounds (123 kg) at Christmas 2010 to 13 stone 0 pounds (83 kg) in July 2011, and aimed to get her weight down to 11 stone 0 pounds (70 kg) after being told she was "a big unit" and her health was at risk.[9]


  1. ^ a b
  2. ^ a b c Levin, Angela (13 April 2009). "Pauline Quirke: When doctors said I needed a new hip to end my agony, I started to cry". Daily Mail. Retrieved 27 October 2010. 
  3. ^ BBC Celebrity MasterChef biography
  4. ^ a b Green, Kris (28 May 2010). "Pauline Quirke joins 'Emmerdale'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 28 May 2010. 
  5. ^ Posted on July 31st, 2013 (2013-07-31). "'Broadchurch': The Evolution of Pauline Quirke | Anglophenia". BBC America. Retrieved 2014-07-05. 
  6. ^ "Birds of a Feather cast take over Loose Women - TV News". Digital Spy. 2014-01-08. Retrieved 2014-07-05. 
  7. ^ "Birds of a Feather get Loose | presscentre". 2014-01-08. Retrieved 2014-07-05. 
  8. ^ Martland, Lisa. "The Stage Scholarships 2014 - Pauline Quirke Academy of Performing Arts". Retrieved 5 July 2014. 
  9. ^ "Light as a feather! How Pauline Quirke shed a third of her body weight". Daily Mail. 12 July 2011. Retrieved 12 July 2011. 

External links[edit]