13 May 1958
|Alma mater||University College of North Wales|
Frances Barber (née Brookes, born 13 May 1958) is an English actress. She received Olivier Award nominations for her work in the plays Camille (1985), and Uncle Vanya (1997). Her film appearances include: Li three collaborations with Gary Oldman in Prick Up Your Ears (1987), We Think the World of You (1988) and Dead Fish (2005); as well as Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (1987);Soft Top Hard Shoulder (1992); and latterly Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (2017). Barber's numerous television credits include The Street (2009), Doctor Who (2011), and Silk (2012–2014).
Life and career
Barber was born in Wolverhampton, Staffordshire, England. Her parents are S.W. Brookes and Gladys Simpson; Barber is the fourth of six children. She attended the Wolverhampton Municipal Grammar School.
She appeared in the Pet Shop Boys' musical Closer to Heaven in 2001 as well as being guest singer for the song "Friendly Fire" on the Pet Shop Boys' 2006 live concert at the Mermaid Theatre. She also appeared alongside Ian McKellen and Roger Allam in the Old Vic's pantomime production of Aladdin in the 2005–2006 Christmas season. She again starred with Ian McKellen in 2007 playing Goneril in Trevor Nunn's production of King Lear and as Arkadina in Chekhov's The Seagull with the Royal Shakespeare Company in Stratford-upon-Avon followed by a world tour throughout the year. They again performed the two plays in repertory at the New London Theatre on Drury Lane, opening in November 2007 and closing mid-January 2008.
In 2011, she guest-starred in the Doctor Who episodes "A Good Man Goes to War" and "The Wedding of River Song" (and five other episodes, sometimes uncredited) as Madame Kovarian. She also acted in the television film We'll Take Manhattan as Diana Vreeland.
In 2019, she starred in the Pet Shop Boys' musical Musik.
Barber is a British unionist. She signed a letter supporting a No vote ahead of the 2014 Scottish independence referendum. After the Scottish National Party won 56 seats at the 2015 general election, she caused controversy after making comments on Twitter comparing the SNP to the Third Reich, further stating "God help us all is all I can say when the racist S.N.P. try to take over, England will react we will have civil war."
She supported Remain during the 2016 United Kingdom European Union membership referendum.
Barber urged a vote for the Labour Party at the 2017 UK general election. Critical of Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, she said "I will vote Labour holding my nose. Urge you too." In September 2017, she resigned from the party, saying: "I can't belong to a party full of Misogyny, Anti-Semitism and Thuggery". In the 2019 United Kingdom general election, she backed the Liberal Democrats.
In 2018, she was among the signatories to a letter published in The Observer arguing that debate surrounding reforms of the Gender Recognition Act were being silenced. In September 2020, she signed a further letter in support of J.K. Rowling, against the abuse Rowling had received following her comments on gender identity.
- Ooh La La (Hull Truck Theatre, 1979)
- Riff Raff Rules (Theatre Royal Stratford East)
- Space Ache (Tricycle Theatre, 1980)
- Emilia in Othello (Oxford Playhouse)
- La Guerra (The Battle), Desperado Corner and Madame Louise (Glasgow Citizens', 1980, and Venice Biennale Festival, 1981)
- The Treat (Institute of Contemporary Arts)
- The Mission (Soho Poly)
- Hard Feelings (Oxford Playhouse and The Bush, 1983)
- Turning Over (The Bush, 1983)
- Marguerite in Camille (Royal Shakespeare Company, The Other Place, 1984, and Comedy Theatre, 1985 – Olivier nomination for Most Promising Newcomer)
- Ophelia in Hamlet (RSC Barbican Theatre, 1985)
- Love's Labour's Lost (RSC The Other Place, Comedy Theatre, 1985)
- The Dead Monkey (RSC The Pit, 1986))
- Summer and Smoke (Haymarket Theatre)
- Viola in Twelfth Night (Renaissance, Riverside Studios, 1987)
- Lady Macbeth in Macbeth (Royal Exchange, Manchester, 1988)
- My Heart's a Suitcase (Royal Court, 1990)
- Over a Barrel (Watford Palace Theatre)
- Imagine Drowning (Hampstead Theatre, 1991)
- Maxine Faulk in The Night of the Iguana (National Theatre, 1992)
- Eliza Doolittle in Pygmalion (National Theatre, 1992)
- Insignificance (Donmar Warehouse, 1995)
- Uncle Vanya (Minerva Theatre, Chichester and Albery Theatre, 1996 – TMA Award and Olivier nomination for Best Supporting Actress)
- Closer (Lyric Theatre, National Theatre West End transfer, 1998)
- Billie Trix in Closer to Heaven (Arts Theatre, 2001)
- Valerie in Tales from the Vienna Woods (National Theatre, 2003)
- Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (Gielgud Theatre, 2004)
- Dim Sum in Aladdin (Old Vic pantomime, 2005)
- The Narrator in Shane Cullinan's The Pieta St Paul's, Covent Garden, 2006)
- Cleopatra in Antony and Cleopatra (Shakespeare's Globe, London, 2006)
- Arkadina in The Seagull and Goneril in King Lear (RSC, Courtyard Theatre Stratford-upon-Avon, and New London Theatre, 2007)
- Madame de Sade (Donmar West End, Wyndham's Theatre, 2009)
- Afterplay (Edinburgh Festival, then Gate Theatre, Dublin, 2009)
- Julius Caesar (Donmar Theatre, 2012–2013)
- Lady Sneerwell in The School for Scandal (Lucille Lortel Theatre, New York City, 2016)
- Mrs Cheveley in An Ideal Husband (Vaudeville Theatre, London, May 2018)
- Billie Trix in Musik (Edinburgh Festival Fringe, August 2019 & Leicester Square Theatre, London, September 2019 and February 2020)
- Polonius in Hamlet (Theatre Royal Windsor, 2021)
- The Missionary (1982) as Mission Girl
- A Flame to the Phoenix (1983) as Wanda Grabinska
- Acceptable Levels (1985) as Jill
- A Zed & Two Noughts (1985) as Venus de Milo
- White City (1985) as Alice
- Castaway (1986) as Sister Saint Winifred
- Prick Up Your Ears (1987) as Leonie Orton
- Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (1987) as Rosie Hobbs
- We Think the World of You (1988) as Megan
- Victim of the Brain (1988)
- Twelfth Night (1988, TV Movie) as Viola / Cesario
- Chambre à part (1989) as Gert
- Behaving Badly (1989, TV Mini-Series) as Rebecca
- Red Dwarf (1989, Episode: "Polymorph") as Genny
- Agatha Christie's Poirot (1990, Episode: "The Veiled Lady") as Lady Millicent
- Young Soul Rebels (1991) as Ann
- Secret Friends (1991) as Angela
- Inspector Morse (1992, TV Series, Episode: "The Death of the Self") as Nicole Burgess
- Soft Top Hard Shoulder (1992) as Miss Trumble
- The Leaving of Liverpool (1992, TV Movie) as Ellen, Lily's mother
- Inspector Alleyn Mysteries (1993, Episode: "Scales of Justice")
- Du fond du coeur (1994) as Anna Lindsay
- Giorgino (1994) as Marie
- Space Precinct (1995, TV Series) as Erika Brandt
- Rhodes (1996, TV Mini-Series) as Princess Catherine Radziwill
- The Ice House (1997, TV Mini-Series) as Diana Goode
- Photographing Fairies (1997) as Beatrice Templeton
- A Royal Scandal (1997, TV Movie) as Lady Jersey
- Dalziel and Pascoe (1998, Episode: "The Wood Beyond") as Amanda 'Cap' Marvell
- Still Crazy (1998) as Lady in Black
- Murder Most Horrid (1999, TV Series) as Gloria Twigge
- Mauvaise passe (1999) as Jessica
- Bremner, Bird and Fortune (1999, TV Series)
- Esther Kahn (2000) as Rivka Kahn
- Shiner (2000) as Georgie
- Superstition (2001) as Isabella Flores
- Manchild (2002, TV Series) as Elizabeth
- The Red Siren (2002) as Eva
- 24 heures de la vie d'une femme (2002) as Betty
- Flyfishing (2002) as Frances
- My Family (2003, TV Series) as Vanessa
- Boudica (2003) as Agrippina
- Monkey Dust (2003, TV Series) (voice)
- Suzie Gold (2004) as Joyce Spencer
- Evilenko (2004)
- Goal! (2005) as Carol Harmison
- Dead Fish (2005) as S & M Prostitute
- Agatha Christie's Marple (2005, Episode: "A Murder Is Announced") as Lizzie Hinchcliffe
- Funland (2005, TV Mini-Series) as Connie Woolf
- The IT Crowd (2006, Episode: "Aunt Irma Visits") as Doctor Mendall
- New Tricks (2006, Episode: "Dockers") as Anita Walsh
- Goal II: Living the Dream (2007) as Carol Harmison
- Hustle (2007, TV Series) as Clarissa
- Beautiful People (2008, TV Series) as Miss Prentice
- King Lear (2008, TV Movie) as Goneril
- ’’Agatha Christie’s Poirot’’ (2009, Episode: “The Clocks”) as Merlina Rival
- The Fattest Man in Britain (2009, TV Movie) as Janice
- The Royal (2009)
- Midsomer Murders (2010, Episode: "Master Class") as Constance Fielding
- Doctor Who (2011, TV Series) as Eye Patch Lady / Madame Kovarian
- Great Expectations (2011, TV Mini-Series) as Mrs. Brandley
- Friday Night Dinner (2011, TV Series) as Sheila Bloom
- We'll Take Manhattan (2012, TV Movie) as Diana Vreeland
- May I Kill U? (2012) as Bernice
- Vexed (2012, TV Series) as Pat Poynter
- Silk (2012–2014, TV Series) as Caroline Warwick QC
- The Life of Rock with Brian Pern (2014, TV Series)
- Mapp and Lucia (2014, TV Mini-Series) as Amelia, Contessa Di Faraglione
- Mr. Holmes (2015) as Matinee 'Madame Schirmer'
- Benidorm (2016, TV Series) as Daisy
- The Chosen (2016) as Natalia Sedova
- Medici: Masters of Florence (2016, TV Series) as Piccarda
- Father Brown (2017, Episode: “The Labyrinth of the Minotaur”) as Davina Malmort
- Midsomer Murders (2017, Episode: "Crime and Punishment") as Ingrid Lockston
- Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool (2017) as Joy
- The Escape (2017) as Alison
- The Bookshop (2017) as Jessie
- An Ideal Husband (2018) as Mrs. Cheveley
- Blue Iguana (2018) as Princess
- The Queen and I (2018, TV Movie) as Margaret
- Casualty (2019, TV Series) as Claire Wakelins
- Cold Feet (2020) as Maxine Ibsen
- Whitstable Pearl (2021, TV Series) as Dolly Nolan
- A Bird Flew In (TBA)
- Sleeman, Elizabeth, ed. (2001). The International Who's Who of Women 2002 (3rd ed.). London: Europa Publications. p. 41. ISBN 1-85743-122-7. OCLC 59532283 – via Google Books.
- "Wolverhampton Municipal Grammar School". Tameclan.me.uk.
- Barnett, Laura (21 April 2009). "Portrait of the artist: Frances Barber, actor". The Guardian. London. ISSN 1756-3224.
- British Theatre Guide – RSC Double Press Archived 26 September 2007 at the Wayback Machine. Britishtheatreguide.info. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
- "The British Theatre Guide : Reviews – The Seagull (RSC at the New London Theatre)". Britishtheatreguide.info. 12 January 2008. Archived from the original on 5 July 2008. Retrieved 13 August 2009.
- "The British Theatre Guide : Reviews – King Lear (RSC at the New London Theatre)". Britishtheatreguide.info. 12 January 2008. Archived from the original on 16 May 2008. Retrieved 13 August 2009.
- BBC One – Doctor Who, Series 6, A Good Man Goes to War. BBC. (23 August 2011). Retrieved 8 June 2012.
- "Actress Frances Barber receives honorary award". University of Wolverhampton. 21 August 2006. Archived from the original on 18 February 2007. Retrieved 13 August 2009.
- "Actress sparks fury with 'Nazi' SNP comparison". The Herald. Glasgow. 10 May 2015. ISSN 0965-9439. Retrieved 18 December 2019.
- "Labour Used to be the Party of Democracy - I Don't See That Any More". 2 October 2017.
- Adejobi, Alicia (8 June 2017). "Labour vs Conservatives: Who are celebrities voting for in the general election 2017?". International Business Times. Newsweek Media Group. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
- Wearmouth, Rachel (26 September 2017). "Labour in Fresh Anti-Semitism Row as Speaker Calls for Free Speech to Cover Holocaust Denial". HuffPost UK. Oath Inc. Retrieved 26 September 2017.
- "General election: Celebrities reveal who they're backing".
- "Women's groups claim 'silencing' on transgender concerns". TheGuardian.com. 14 October 2018.
- "JK Rowling receives support from Ian McEwan and Frances Barber amid 'transphobia' row".
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- Thaxter, John (6 July 2006). "Reviews: Antony and Cleopatra". The Stage. London. ISSN 0038-9099. Retrieved 13 August 2009.
- "Off Broadway Reviews – The School For Scandal", The Stage Review, 27 April 2016