Claire Skinner

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Claire Skinner
Born1965 (age 53–54)
Alma materLondon Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
Years active1989–present
Charles Palmer (m. 2001–2015)
Partner(s)Hugh Dennis (2017–present)

Claire Skinner (born 1965)[2][3] is an English actress, known in the United Kingdom for her television career, particularly playing Sue Brockman from the BBC television series Outnumbered.


Claire Skinner was born and brought up in Hemel Hempstead, the youngest daughter of a shopkeeper and an Irish-born secretary, and was shy as a child.[4] Her dream was to be an actress and she immersed herself in her ambition. She acted, neglecting school work at Cavendish School, and "barely scraped through [her] A-levels".[4] She went on to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art and then joined the Royal Shakespeare Company.[5]


Her first role was in Hanky Park, by Walter Greenwood at the Oldham Repertory Theatre, which she describes as a "really traditional start". She is best known as "Clare" on the British television comedy Life Begins, and as "Lucinda", the sous chef in the first season of Chef! alongside Lenny Henry. From 2007 to 2014 she portrayed Sue Brockman in the BBC's award-winning sitcom Outnumbered. For many years, she has preferred theatre to screen roles because she has been disappointed with her TV projects ("apart from Mike Leigh's stuff"), "not just when you see the final thing, but also because it hasn't taken off."[6]

Skinner has worked with directors including Mike Leigh – in Life is Sweet, and NakedTrevor Nunn, Tim Burton and Sam Mendes, but she remembers one particular director, Alan Ayckbourn, when she started out: "He was a great influence for me as he pushed me so hard, but every director you work with has a big influence in some way, they really push you."[7]

She has made small appearances in TV shows such as Lark Rise to Candleford where for two episodes she played Mrs Macey. She appeared in the 2011 Doctor Who Christmas special, "The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe".[8]

Personal life[edit]

She has two sons with director Charles Palmer.[3] She is in a relationship with Outnumbered co-star Hugh Dennis.[9]








  1. ^ "Claire Skinner". Woman's Hour. 1 September 2010. BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 18 January 2014.
  2. ^ "Claire Skinner - National Portrait Gallery". Retrieved 3 July 2018.
  3. ^ a b "Claire Skinner: '50 does not look like a woman in a cardigan'". The Observer. 20 September 2015. Retrieved 18 October 2016.
  4. ^ a b Bassett, Kate (25 January 2009). "Mommy dearest: Claire Skinner transforms into a monster of a mother" (Press release). London: The Independent. Retrieved 10 February 2009.
  5. ^ Brennan, Patricia (4 December 1994). "A Beauty, a Rogue and a Good Man" (Press release). The Washington Post.
  6. ^ "The Family Way: Claire Skinner warms to her role in Poliakoff's new drama" (Press release). Time Out–London: Plugged In section, by Emma Perry. May 2001.
  7. ^ "BBC The Boss Series Press Release" (PDF) (Press release). BBC. 2000. Archived from the original (PDF) on 7 May 2006.
  8. ^ "Doctor Who, Christmas special, BBC One, review". The Daily Telegraph. 25 December 2011. Retrieved 25 December 2011.
  9. ^ Todd, Lucy (2 July 2018). "Six on-screen turned real-life couples". BBC News. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  10. ^ "Mrs.Affleck: National Theatre (2009)". Archived from the original on 16 December 2008.
  11. ^ "Blurred Lines". National Theatre. Archived from the original on 3 February 2014.
  12. ^ "The Father | Tricycle". Retrieved 21 October 2015.
  13. ^ Holmwood, Leigh (15 July 2008). "ITV2 plans 'sex, drugs and murder' drama to follow Billie Piper hit series". London: Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 15 July 2008.
  15. ^ "Critics' Circle Theatre Awards for 1995". Albemarle of London. Archived from the original on 18 February 2008.
  16. ^ "Donmar Warehouse List of Awards for The Glass Menagerie-Time Out Award for 1995". Archived from the original on 20 October 2008.
  17. ^ "Olivier Winners 1996". Archived from the original on 24 January 2009.
  18. ^ "BAFTA 2009".

External links[edit]