The daughter of a British Army soldier, Fielding was raised Catholic and spent much of her childhood in Malaysia and Nigeria, and a period in Malvern above her grandparents' betting shop. While studying at the Berkhamsted Collegiate boarding school, she won a place at Robinson College, Cambridge to study law, but abandoned it and spent a gap year which included five months in a West Bank kibbutz picking watermelons, and as an usherette at the Oxford Apollo; before embarking on the study of acting at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama.
After graduation she worked for the Royal National Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company, coming to the attention of critics in 1993's RSC production of Tom Stoppard's Arcadia, in which she created the role of Thomasina, and then most notably in John Ford's The Broken Heart for which she won the Dame Peggy Ashcroft Award for Best Actress. Also in 1993, she was Agnes in The School for Wives at the Almeida Theatre, for which she won the Ian Charleson Award. She made her Broadway theatre debut in 2003 in Noël Coward's Private Lives. She has also appeared in numerous radio plays for the BBC, including playing Esme in Tom Stoppard's Rock 'n' Roll, a role she also played in the West End. More recently, she appeared in the BBC TV mini-series Cranford.
In 2009 she appeared as Daisy alongside Timothy West in the BBC Radio 4 adaptation of John Mortimer's "Rumpole and the Penge Bungalow Murders". She has also appeared in the crime drama 'Death in Paradise' playing the part of Astrid Knight. (Season 1 Episode 4). In 2014, she appeared in another crime drama DCI Banks (Series 3 Episodes 17 & 18).
Awards and nominations
- Fielding was nominated for a 1999 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Supporting Performance for her role in The School for Scandal in the 1998 season.
- She was nominated for a 2002 Laurence Olivier Theatre Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role of 2001 for her performance in Private Lives at the Albery Theatre, London. She won a Theatre World Award for outstanding Broadway debut for the same role when the show was produced on Broadway in 2002.
- She was awarded the 1993 Critics' Circle Theatre Award for Most Promising Newcomer for her performances in Arcadia and The School for Wives.
|1992||Tell-Tale Hearts||Becky Wilson||TV (3 episodes)|
|Screenplay||Mary Shelley||TV (1 episode: "Dread Poets' Society")|
|1993||Agatha Christie: Poirot||Ruth Chevenix||TV (1 episode: "Dead Man's Mirror")|
|Performance||Joan Clareville||TV (1 episode: "The Maitlands")|
|1996||Kavanagh QC||Caroline Wicks||TV (1 episode: "Job Satisfaction")|
|1997||Drovers' Gold||Elizabeth Watkins||TV|
|A Dance to the Music of Time||Isobel||TV (2 episodes)|
|1998||The Scarlet Tunic||Frances Groves|
|A Respectable Trade||Frances Scott Cole||TV (2 episodes)|
|The Mrs. Bradley Mysteries||Eleanor Bing||TV (1 episode: "Speedy Death")|
|The Life of Confucius||Mother||TV|
|1999‒2001||Big Bad World||Beatrice Dempsey||TV (7 episodes)|
|1999||Horizon||Mrs. Lack||TV (1 episode: "Wings of Angels")|
|Other People's Children||Josie||TV (1 episode)|
|Exposure||Bridget/TV director||Short film|
|2001||The Inspector Lynley Mysteries||Helen Clyde||TV (1 episode: "A Great Deliverance")|
|The Discovery of Heaven||Helga|
|2002||Shooters||D.I. Sarah Pryce|
|The Gist||Harriet Gould||TV|
|The Green-Eyed Monster||Marni McGuire||TV|
|Birthday Girl||Tracey Jones||TV|
|2003||My Uncle Silas||Hermione||TV (1 episode: "A Funny Thing")|
|My Uncle Silas II||Hermione||TV|
|2004||Waking the Dead||Dr. Greta Simpson||TV (2 episodes)|
|2005||The Government Inspector||Susan Watts||TV|
|Beneath the Skin||Jennifer Hintlesham||TV|
|The Ghost Squad||D.I. Carole McKay||TV (5 episodes)|
|2007||Fallen Angel||Janet Byfield||TV (1 episode: "The Office of the Dead")|
|Doragon kuesuto sôdo: Kamen no joô to kagami no tô||Queen Curtana||Video Game|
|Cranford||Miss Galindo||TV (7 episodes)|
|2008||The Other Man||Gail|
|2009||Dragon Age: Origins||Various Voices||Video Game|
|2010||Midsomer Murders||Faith Kent||TV (1 episode: "The Silent Land")|
|2011||Kidnap and Ransom||Naomi Shaffer||TV (3 episodes)|
|The Suspicions of Mr Whicher||Mary Kent||TV|
|The Great Ghost Rescue||Mabel||post-production|
|2014||Father Brown||Mrs Gerard|
|DCI Banks||Liz Forbes||TV (2 episodes)|
|2015||Foyle's War||Joyce Corrigan||TV (1 episode: "Elise")|
|Arthur & George||Charlotte Edalji||TV (3 episodes)|
|This Is England '90||Roma||TV (1 episode: "Summer")|
|Capital||Strauss||TV (1 episode)|
|The Briny||Unnamed character||Short film|
|2016||Close to the Enemy||Miss Clarkson||TV (5 episodes)|
|Dark Angel||Helen Robinson||TV (2 episodes)|
|2018||Les Misérables||Marius Pontmercy’s nurse||TV|
|2018||Doctor Who||Kisar (voice)||TV (1 episode: "Demons of the Punjab")|
- His Dark Materials as Mrs Coulter
- Vanity Fair as Rebecca Sharp Crawley
- The Haunting of Hill House as The Narrator. (By Shirley Jackson. Audiobook, BBC).
- Israbel as Israbel. (By Tanith Lee. Dramatisation, [A Short History of Vampires Episode 3 of 4], BBC).
- Funny Girl as The Narrator. (By Nick Hornby, 2014, Penguin Audio).
She has narrated the following for Naxos Audiobooks:
- Hedda Gabler
- Jane Eyre
- Lady Windermere's Fan
- The Turn of the Screw
- Fanny Hill
for Random House Audio:
- "From the bookies to Stratford's RSC" Archived 5 May 2014 at the Wayback Machine. Worcestershire News - 26 April 2003
- Berkhamsted Collegiate School @ UK Schools Guide 2005 Archived 3 February 2006 at Archive.today
- The Cambridge University List of Members up to December 1991, Cambridge University Press, p. 443
- My hols: actress Emma Fielding The Sunday Times - 10 August 2003
- 403 Forbidden
- Measure For Measure, Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon[permanent dead link] The Independent on Sunday - 6 May 2003
- Fowler, Rebecca. "Triumphant first acts". Sunday Times. 13 March 1994.