Arabella Weir

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Arabella Weir
Born (1957-12-06) 6 December 1957 (age 64)
OccupationComedian, actress, writer
Spouse(s)Dr Jeremy Norton

Arabella Weir (born 6 December 1957)[citation needed] is a Scottish comedian, actress and writer. She played roles in the comedy series The Fast Show and Posh Nosh, and has written several books, including Does My Bum Look Big in This? Weir has also written for The Independent[1] and The Guardian and the latter's Weekend magazine.[2]

Early life and education[edit]

Weir is the daughter of former British ambassador Sir Michael Weir and his wife Alison.[3] She was born in San Francisco and attended nursery school in Washington D.C., where her father was posted as a member of the British diplomatic corps. She later attended the Sacre Coeur Convent in Cairo, and the French Lycee in London.[4]

Both her parents were Scottish, and met while they were studying at the University of Oxford; her father was from Dunfermline and her mother was from the Scottish Borders, daughter of the headmaster of a small boarding school.[5][6] As a child, Weir spent many holidays in Scotland and describes herself as "culturally Scottish".[6] After her parents' divorce she initially lived with her mother, her two older brothers and her younger sister in the UK.[5] At the age of nine she moved to Bahrain with her father while her brothers were at prep school and her younger sister stayed with their mother.[6]

Weir returned to London after passing the eleven-plus in Bahrain and her father was posted to New York.[5][4] She was a pupil at the Camden School for Girls,[7] where her mother was a teacher, and then studied drama at Middlesex Polytechnic.[5][4] As a teenager, she was a backing singer in the British pub rock band Bazooka Joe, whose bass player was Stuart Goddard, who later became famous as Adam Ant.[8][9] Weir's terse relationship with her mother later became the subject of her debut one-woman show, Does My Mum Loom Big in This?.[5]


Weir's television career breakthrough came in 1994 in BBC's The Fast Show;[10] she later also became widely known for her roles in Posh Nosh and Two Doors Down.[11] In addition to acting, Weir contributed several episodes as a writer on The Fast Show and Posh Nosh and has also written for The Independent magazine[1] and for The Guardian newspaper and its Weekend magazine.[2]

In 1998, Weir published the international bestseller Does My Bum Look Big in This?, the title of which was a catchphrase of her character "Insecure Woman" in The Fast Show.[12] In 2000, she published her second novel Onwards and Upwards, followed by Stupid Cupid in 2002.

In 2001, Weir took part in the Weakest Link Comedians Special.[13] In 2006, Weir appeared at short notice as a contestant in the first series on Celebrity MasterChef, replacing the writer Terrance Dicks[14] In 2007, Weir appeared in Skins.[citation needed]

Weir joined the cast of Calendar Girls at London's Noël Coward Theatre in November 2009. She played the role of "Chris Harper" until the play's run in the West End ended in January 2010.[15]

Weir voiced the female incarnation of the Doctor in the Doctor Who Unbound Big Finish episode Exile.[16] American alternative weekly Houston Press's Jef Rouner described her portrayal as "one of the most melancholy of all the Doctors."[17]

Weir appeared in the Doctor Who 2011 Christmas Special The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe.[18]

Weir performed with the original cast from The Fast Show (with the exception of Mark Williams) in six online-only episodes sponsored by the Fosters brand.[19]

From 2013 until 2016 she starred as Jenny in Drifters. In 2015 she joined the team of presenters for BBC Two's Food and Drink programme.[20] She also played a small role in Citizen Khan, in the mid 2010s. She has also appeared with Ready Steady Cook.[citation needed]

Since 2016, she has been starring in the BBC Scotland sitcom Two Doors Down.[21][22] Weir's performance was criticised by Ben Arnold, commenting in The Guardian "her Scottish accent [is] still a work in progress, it would seem."[23] When Weir was asked about this comment on Richard Herring's RHLSTP comedy podcast, she said she was doing specifically a Paisley accent on the show and that both her parents were from Scotland, which she considers her home. Weir added that Scottish actor David Tennant had responded to the Guardian's comment with the words "What the f*** are they on about, it's impeccable!", and that Ben Arnold (who himself is English) had later said to her he was sorry for making the comment.[24]

In June 2019, Weir premiered her debut one-woman show, Does My Mum Loom Big in This?, a comedic analysis of Weir's helter-skelter childhood and her difficult relationship with her late mother.[5] The show's title is a pun on Weir's bestselling novel Does My Bum Look Big in This? She took the show to the 2019 Edinburgh Festival.[25][26]

Personal life[edit]

She was married to Dr. Jeremy Norton and the couple had two children Archie and Isabella.[27] They later divorced in 2013.[28][29]

The actor David Tennant is a close friend of Weir's and is godfather to her younger child [30] They met while filming the six-part comedy drama Takin' Over the Asylum for BBC Scotland in 1994.[11] Shortly after, Tennant moved to London and lodged with Weir at her house in Crouch End for five years.[31]



  • Does My Bum Look Big in This?: the Diary of an Insecure Woman (1998)
  • Onwards and Upwards (2000)
  • Stupid Cupid (2002)
  • The Rise and Rise of Tabitha Baird (2014), YA
  • The Endless Trials of Tabitha Baird (2015), YA


  • The Real Me is Thin: or Why All Women Think They're Fat (2011)[32]


  1. ^ a b "Arabella Weir: Have it all? If only men would let us". The Independent. 17 November 2009. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  2. ^ a b "Arabella Weir". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  3. ^ Adel Darwish Obituary: Sir Michael Weir, The Independent, 28 June 2006
  4. ^ a b c Sale, Jonathan (22 January 1998). "Education: Passed/failed: Arabella Weir". The Independent. London. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  5. ^ a b c d e f Saner, Emine (8 July 2019). "Arabella Weir on her aggressively unhappy mother: 'In my memory, she got rid of me'". The Guardian.
  6. ^ a b c Starbrick, Susan (18 November 2016). "Two Doors Down star Arabella Weir on her Scottish roots, motherhood and fractured family ties". The Herald. Retrieved 23 February 2020.
  7. ^ Davidson, Max (6 September 2008). "Town vs gown: north London". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 14 April 2017.
  8. ^ "Education: Passed/failed: Arabella Weir". 22 January 1998. Retrieved 2 June 2017.
  9. ^ Reed, John (30 August 2014). House of Fun: The Story of Madness. Omnibus Press. ISBN 9781783233342. Retrieved 2 June 2017 – via Google Books.
  10. ^ Gray, Susan (23 February 2020). "Actress Arabella Weir: 'I made money from the thing that plagued me my whole life – my bum'". Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  11. ^ a b "Arabella Weir is back in Two Doors Down". The Scotsman. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  12. ^ Weir, Arabella (8 July 2011). "How Arabella Weir made peace with her body". The Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  13. ^ "The Weakest Link (UK) Season 3 Episode 7 Comedians Special". Retrieved 14 November 2016.
  14. ^ The, Newsroom (26 June 2020). "Celebrity Masterchef dishes up more delights". Belfast NewsLetter.
  15. ^ Spencer, Charles (11 November 2009). "Calendar Girls at the Noel Coward Theatre, review". The Daily Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  16. ^ Peck, Matthew Wace (3 August 2013). "Op-Ed: Is the new Doctor Who a woman?". Digital Journal. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  17. ^ Rouner, Jef (20 September 2013). "Doctor Who: The 10 Best Alternative Universe Doctors". Houston Press. Voice Media Group. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  18. ^ Frost, Vicky (21 September 2011). "Cast for Doctor Who Christmas special unwrapped". The Guardian. Retrieved 22 September 2011.
  19. ^ "Foster's – The Fast Show". Archived from the original on 5 November 2011. Retrieved 22 April 2013.
  20. ^ Weir, Arabella (26 June 2015). "Arabella Weir: The kebabs, the vodkas, and the lock-ins that help keep a show on the road". The Independent. Retrieved 22 November 2015.
  21. ^ "Monday's best TV: The Last Miners; Back in Time for Brixton; Our Guy in China". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  22. ^ "Two Doors Down, BBC Two". The Arts Desk. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  23. ^ "Friday's best TV: Easter 1916: The Enemy Files, Billy Connolly's Tracks Across America and Boomers". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 October 2017.
  24. ^ "RHLSTP Edinburgh 2019 13 - Bryony Kimmings & Arabella Weir". 17 August 2019. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  25. ^ McLean, Craig (5 August 2019). "Arabella Weir: I was a few months pregnant and my Mum asked 'Have you any idea how fat you are?'". The Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  26. ^ "Arabella Weir: Does My Mum Loom Big In This?". Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  27. ^ "Marriage? It's just a joke..." Evening Standard. 3 April 2002. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  28. ^ Ross, Deborah (12 December 2013). "Arabella Weir: Someone up there likes me". The Independent. Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  29. ^ Gray, Susan (23 February 2020). "Actress Arabella Weir: 'I made money from the thing that plagued me my whole life – my bum'". Retrieved 24 July 2020.
  30. ^ McFadden, Joan (10 March 2018). "Actress is full of bright ideas to put Kirkcaldy back on the map". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 18 August 2019.
  31. ^ Weir, Arabella (6 April 2008). "It's ok to think Doctor Who is gay, says David Tennant". The Times. London. Archived from the original on 17 May 2011. Retrieved 25 April 2010.
  32. ^ Weir, Arabella (3 July 2011). "Once Upon A Life: Arabella Weir". No. The Guardian. Retrieved 22 November 2015.

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