|Born||Helen Margaret Lederer
24 September 1954
Carmarthen, South Wales
Helen Margaret Lederer (born 24 September 1954) is an English comedian, writer and actress who emerged as part of the alternative comedy boom at the beginning of the 1980s. Among her television credits are the BBC Two sketch series Naked Video and BBC One's Absolutely Fabulous, in which she played the role of Catriona.
In 2015 her comedy novel Losing It was published by Pan Macmillan. It was nominated for the P. G. Wodehouse Comedy Literary Award and the Edinburgh Book Festival First Book Award.
Born in Carmarthen to an English mother and Czech father, Lederer grew up in Eltham, south east London and was educated at Blackheath High School (then a direct grant grammar school) and the Central School of Speech and Drama. She also studied at University of Hertfordshire.
She has a BA in applied social science and received a doctorate from Middlesex University.
Helen was the only woman to write and perform in BBC Radio 4 ‘In One Ear’ Produced by Jamie Rix with Clive Mantle and Nick Wilton, it won the Sony Award for best comedy and progressed to the TV version called Hello Mum.
Lederer established a stand-up act at the Comedy Store in London and then won minor parts in episodes of The Young Ones, which had been written by her Comedy Store contemporaries Ben Elton and Rik Mayall. She would be linked with this scene for the rest of the 1980s, with a supporting role as housemaid Flossie in Happy Families and numerous appearances in related shows and live performances.
Lederer broke from the Comedy Store wing of the alternative scene in 1986 to take part in the BBC2 sketch show Naked Video, which had originated without Lederer on the radio in Scotland. Lederer played various roles, including that of a newsreader linking spoof headlines into clips which acted as punchlines, and a drunk Sloane who performed a monologue in each episode from a wine bar.
In the 1990s, Lederer was recruited by her old contemporaries Mayall and Adrian Edmondson to play supporting roles in two episodes of their sitcom Bottom, including a memorable part as a fallen millionairess on the make. Simultaneously, she played Catriona in Absolutely Fabulous, joining forces again with Jennifer Saunders. She had previously worked with Saunders and her comedy partner Dawn French in their sketch show French and Saunders, as well as Happy Families and the ITV sitcom Girls on Top. She also guest-acted in the Gregor Fisher sitcom The Baldy Man.
Lederer has always been a guest or supporting actress on programmes devised by or starring her alternative comedy contemporaries and as such has made a good, consistent career. She was one of the first female stand-up comedians to feature on ITV's Saturday Night Live with her own stand up set. She then took part in The Vagina Monologues on the West End stage. Following ‘The House of Blue leaves’ at the Lilian Baylis Theatre with the late Denis Quilley. ‘Having a Ball’ by Alan Bleasdale at the Comedy Theatre, she then appeared in The Killing of Sister George at the Arts Theatres and Calendar Girls with Kelly Brook at the Wyndham's Theatre.
As a presenter, Lederer has hosted and voiced lifestyle, religious and children's programmes. She guested appeared on numerous radio panel games and writes columns for newspapers and magazines, including Quote Unquote, The News Quiz and Just a Minute and writes columns for newspapers and magazines.
She has written and starred in radio shows Life with Lederer and All Change at BBC Radio 4.
Lederer is also one of eight celebrities chosen to participate in a week learning Welsh in an eco-friendly chic campsite in Pembrokeshire in the series cariad@iaith:love4language shown on S4C in July 2011.
In 2013, Lederer played Miss Bowline-Hitch in the children's television series Old Jack's Boat on the CBeebies channel. This role was alongside veteran actor Bernard Cribbins, playing the role of Jack, and supporting actors Freema Agyeman and Janine Duvitski.
In January 2013 she was a contestant on ITV celebrity diving show Splash!, but was eliminated in the first round.
She also appeared on Celebrity MasterChef, Loose Women and Countdown.
- Ab Fab: The Movie (2016)
- Hollyoaks (Mariam) 2013, 2015
- Old Jack's Boat (TV series) 2013, 2014
- Absolutely Fabulous (TV series) 1992–2012
- Horrid Henry: The Movie (film) 2011
- Agatha Christie: Miss Marple (TV film) 2009
- Hotel Trubble
- Big Brother’s Bit on the Side
- Casualty (TV series) 1992–2011
- Love Soup
- Girls On Top
- The New Statesman with Rik Mayall
- Naked Video (series) 1986
- French & Saunders (TV series) 1988–1998
- Heart Beat
- Virtual Murder
- Filthy Rich and Catflap
- Saturday Night Live
- One Foot in the Grave (TV series) 1993
- Bottom (TV Series) 1991–1992
- Jack Dee Show
- Fat Slags (film)
- Henry Enfield's Television Programme (TV series) 1992
- Happy Families (TV series) 1985
- The Young Ones (TV series) 1984
- The Kid (film) 2010
- Murder Most Horrid
Lederer has married twice and has a daughter, Hannah Lederer-Alton, with her first husband, journalist and The Observer editor Roger Alton. Her second husband is Chris Browne, a GP. Helen Lederer is an ambassador for the Prince's Trust and the Eve Appeal Gynecological Cancer Charity.
Her daughter Hannah Lederer played the lead Abi (Jason Donavon’s daughter) in Echo Beach.
- "Ms Helen Lederer Authorised Biography – Debrett's People of Today". debretts.com. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
- "Preview: Helen Lederer at the Book Festival".
- "Now or never".
- "Helen Lederer". BFI. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
- "Interview: Helen Lederer – My doc's my rock says funnygirl Helen; COMEDIENNE HELEN LEDERER TELLS SHARON FEINSTEIN HOW SHE `GIRDLED' HER LOINS AND WAS SWEPT OFF HER FEET BY A DASHING DOCTOR WHO PROPOSED WITH A pounds 30 RING. – Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com. 2000-05-07. Retrieved 2014-07-29.
- "University of Hertfordshire". The Complete University Guide. Retrieved 15 September 2015.
- "Media Centre – Old Jack's Friends". BBC. 2013-01-14. Retrieved 2014-01-20.
- "Hollyoaks reveals Gloved Hand Killer's third victim in E4 episode". Digital Spy. Retrieved 27 July 2016.
- "Doctors: Helen Lederer to appear as grieving widow Safia". Digital Spy. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
- Sunday Telegraph 13 May 2012
- "Now I'm slim my daughter steals my clothes says Helen Lederer". The Daily Express. Retrieved 8 February 2015.