Elaine C. Smith

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For the Scottish-born Australian actress, see Elaine Smith (actress).
Elaine C. Smith
Born Elaine Constance Smith
(1958-08-02) 2 August 1958 (age 57)
Newarthill, North Lanarkshire, Scotland
Occupation Actress, comedienne, writer
Spouse(s) Bob
Children Two daughters
Website Home page

Elaine Constance Smith (born 2 August 1958) is a Scottish actress and comedienne. She was born in Newarthill in Motherwell, and she continues to live in Glasgow. She was awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of the University by the University of Glasgow in 2008.[1]


She attended Braidhurst High School in Motherwell, and trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh.


In 1984 she made her TV debut on the BBC Scotland comedy Laugh??? I Nearly Paid My Licence Fee, however her first major television appearance came in 1986 as a star on the BBC sketch show Naked Video. Made by BBC Scotland, it was shown throughout the UK on BBC Two. In between seasons of Naked Video, Smith also starred in Scottish sitcom City Lights, which ran for four years on the BBC.[2]

Smith is best known for her role as Mary "Mary Doll" Nesbitt in the BBC sitcom Rab C. Nesbitt, a series based on characters in a Naked Video sketch. Launched in 1990 and set in Glasgow, the show was a cult hit, and ran for nine years on BBC2. The show was revived for a one-off Christmas special in 2008 and a new series was filmed the following year.

Since 1999, Smith has appeared in the BBC dramas Two Thousand Acres of Sky and 55 Degrees North, performed alongside Helena Bonham Carter in the British film Women Talking Dirty, and toured Scotland with her stand-up comedy show.

In January 2011, she appeared in an edition of Celebrity Mastermind with singer-songwriter Joni Mitchell as her specialist subject. She finished second in the programme.

Other TV appearances include a guest spot in Jennifer Saunders's The Life and Times of Vivian Vyle and a 2010 documentary on Scottish actor Gerard Kelly.


For many years she was a regular in pantomime at the Kings' Theatre, Glasgow, starring alongside Gerard Kelly in performances such as Aladdin, Mother Goose and Sleeping Beauty. More recently, she has appeared in her own seasonal show, 12 Nights of Christmas at the Oran Mor, Glasgow.

She has also toured Scotland in straight plays, notably with Andy Gray, in The Woman Who Cooked Her Husband, Two and The Rise and Fall of Little Voice. Other notable Scottish theatre roles include Guys and Dolls and Shirley Valentine. She has also performed in new works at the Tron Theatre, Glasgow and the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh. She also toured Scotland alongside Andy Gray in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice in 2007.

In September 2008 she began touring the UK in a stage version of the hit British film Calendar Girls, along with Lynda Bellingham, Patricia Hodge, Siân Phillips, Gaynor Faye and Brigit Forsyth. The show opened in London's West End at the Noël Coward Theatre in April 2009. The original cast left the show at the end of July 2009 but Smith returned in a different role as part of a national tour in 2010.

During Christmas 2009, Smith played Fairy Godmother in the pantomime Cinderella in Aberdeen and returned there over Christmas 2010 to play the Evil Queen Carabosse in Sleeping Beauty. For a third year in Aberdeen she returned for the pantomime playing the Fairy Flora McDonald in Jack and the Beanstalk and she returned for a fourth year in 2012 in Snow White & The Seven Dwarfs as Queen Sadista. Smith then made her 5th appearance, once again in Cinderella playing Fairy Mary (a play on her "Mary Doll" role in Rab C. Nesbitt) over Christmas 2013. It was announced in March 2014 that Smith will return for a sixth year at HMT as 'Mrs Potty' in Beauty and the Beast. Smith will be starting in Peter Pan which will be her 7th show at Aberdeen. In May 2016, Smith will be in the musical Annie and will play Ms Hannigan.

From March 2012, she played Scottish singer Susan Boyle in the musical I Dreamed a Dream (which she co-wrote with Alan McHugh), based on Boyle's life and rise to fame. There were plans to tour the show in Australia in 2013 but these plans were cancelled.

Recent work[edit]

Until 2009, Smith wrote a weekly column in the Sunday Mail newspaper. In May 2007, Elaine C. Smith declared her support for Scotland becoming an independent nation by aligning herself with the Scottish National Party.[3] Previous to that, she had been a member the Labour Party but left due to Labour's failure to publicly back the 1984–1985 miners' strike[4]

In August 2007, she was appointed to the Scottish Broadcasting Commission established by the Scottish Government; and, in October, she appeared in an episode of the Jennifer Saunders sitcom The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle.

She is a supporter of numerous charities, including Zero Tolerance and Relationships Scotland.[5] She is the patron of the Women and Girl's Programme at Celtic F.C.[6]

In late 2009 her autobiography, Nothing Like A Dame (ISBN 1845964551), was published.

Elaine took up a cameo role in the independent movie Night Is Day, playing the mother of Inspector Rebecca Munro.

She has recently presented a documentary-style show entitled "Birds Eye View", in which she is followed on her comedy tour round Scotland and reflects on her long career in comedy. The show was broadcast by STV.[7]


  1. ^ "University of Glasgow :: Senate office :: Honorary Degrees 2008". Gla.ac.uk. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  2. ^ English, Paul. "Elaine C Smith explains why she is happy to belong to Glasgow.. even though she never gets a minute's pe". www.dailyrecord.co.uk. Retrieved 27 April 2015. 
  3. ^ Brian Currie (26 April 2007). "McConnell lags behind Salmond in top job race". Evening Times. Retrieved 3 March 2012. 
  4. ^ Video on YouTube
  5. ^ Relationships Scotland
  6. ^ Celtic F.C's Women's Team
  7. ^ Lyons, Beverley. "Elaine C Smith set to take on first lead role since Mary Doll in Rab C Nesbitt in new TV series". www.dailyrecord.co.uk. Retrieved 27 April 2015. 

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