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Life and career
Pickles was born in Wakefield, West Riding of Yorkshire. She lives in north London. She is the daughter of the Circuit Judge James Pickles, a niece of actress Christina Pickles, and great-niece of Wilfred Pickles, the TV and radio personality. Pickles grew up in and attended school in Halifax in Yorkshire's West Riding. She read drama at the University of Manchester, taking roles in a number of student productions including Narrow Road to the Deep North by Edward Bond, and the lead in Brecht's Mother Courage and Her Children. She joined the BBC's Radio Drama Company.
Pickles played the lead role as Miss Bluebell in the BBC series of the same name, based on the career of Margaret Kelly Leibovici, in 1986. She also appeared in The Bill for two years as DCI Kim Reid, as Simone Trevelyan in May to December and in The Tales of Para Handy as Lady Catherine Ramsay. Pickles also appeared in the cult BBC children's educational drama series Through The Dragon's Eye. She was a leading character (12 episodes in 1982) in the TV series We'll Meet Again. Pickles has appeared in a number of films, including Roman Polanski's Tess (1979), Agatha (1979) and The Mirror Crack'd (1980). In 1995 she played as Linda Livingstone in Io no spik inglish with Paolo Villaggio. Pickles appeared in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – Part 1 as the Muggle Studies teacher, Charity Burbage.
In 2013, Pickles played journalist Maggie Radcliffe in the ITV drama Broadchurch. She appeared in all 3 series, from 2013–2017.
She has two daughters, one of whom is actress Lucy Pickles.
In 2018, Pickles recorded a two-part interview for The Bill Podcast celebrating her life and career.
- Kay Mellor and Brian Blessed lined up for Halifax's Up North film and TV festival
- "Radio and audio book companies", in Lloyd Trott, ed., Actors and Performers Yearbook 2016, pp. 353-354
- "Carolyn Pickles". Royal National Theatre. Retrieved 26 May 2009.[dead link]