Katherine Parkinson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Katherine Parkinson
Katherine Parkinson 2016 (4hEKoqA3aK0).jpg
Parkinson in 2016
Katherine Jane Parkinson

(1978-03-09) 9 March 1978 (age 44)
Hounslow, London, England
EducationSt Hilda's College, Oxford
London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art
Years active2001–present
(m. 2009)

Katherine Jane Parkinson (born 9 March 1978)[2] is an English actress. She appeared in Channel 4's The IT Crowd comedy series as Jen Barber, for which she received a British Comedy Best TV Actress Award in 2009 and 2014, and was nominated twice for the BAFTA Television Award for Best Female Comedy Performance, winning in 2014.[3] Parkinson studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, and has appeared on stage in the plays The Seagull (2007), Cock (2009), and Home, I'm Darling (2018), for which she was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Play.

Parkinson was also a main cast member of the series Doc Martin for three series (2005–2009). She co-starred in all three series of Humans, a science-fiction drama on AMC/Channel 4, which aired from 2015 until 2018. She has also appeared in the films The Boat That Rocked (2009) and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018).

Early life[edit]

Parkinson was born on 9 March 1978 in Hounslow, London, to an English mother and Northern Irish father, the historian Alan Parkinson.[4] She grew up in Tolworth and Surbiton,[5] and studied at Tiffin Girls' School[6] before reading classics at St Hilda's College, Oxford.[7][8] She then studied at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, although she left before graduating in order to star in the play The Age of Consent, which premiered at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2001.[9]


From 2005 until 2009, Parkinson played Pauline Lamb, a doctor's receptionist and later phlebotomist, in series two to four of the long-running ITV comedy-drama series Doc Martin.

While working on Doc Martin, she was asked by her LAMDA friend Chris O'Dowd to audition for the comedy series The IT Crowd as the show was having trouble casting a female lead.[8] In an interview with The Independent, Parkinson said that the show‘s creator Graham Linehan originally wanted Jen to be "likeable" but that "I know what he wanted now – he wanted her to be the more normal person people could relate to." The IT Crowd premiered in 2006 and ran for four series, ending in 2014. While the character served as a straight man to the two main male characters, Parkinson's performance was well received by critics and audiences, with her being nominated for the BAFTA Television Award for Best Female Comedy Performance in 2011. She went on to win the award in 2014.[3]

In 2007, she appeared in a new production of Chekhov's The Seagull at London's Royal Court Theatre, alongside Kristin Scott Thomas and Mackenzie Crook, for which she received positive reviews.[10]

She also contributed sketch characters to Katy Brand's ITV2 show Katy Brand's Big Ass Show (2007-2009), having been friends with Brand since their time at university.[11] At the end of 2009, she appeared in the Olivier award winning[12] play Cock at the Royal Court Theatre with Ben Whishaw and Andrew Scott.

She has performed several times on BBC Radio 4, including on Laura Solon: Talking and Not Talking; Mouth Trap,[13] which she also co-wrote with Brand; and The Odd Half Hour.[14] She also featured in television advertisements for Maltesers alongside fellow actress and comedian Amanda Abbington.

Parkinson played Sophie, one of the lead roles along with Mark Heap in BBC Four's three-part comedy series The Great Outdoors (2010).[15] In 2010 and 2011, she appeared in two plays: Season's Greetings at the National Theatre; and as Lady Teazle in The School for Scandal at the Barbican Centre. That same year, she appeared in The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff, which premiered on BBC Two in 2011; and in 2012 she made a guest appearance as Kitty Riley in "The Reichenbach Fall", the second series finale of the series Sherlock.

In 2012 and 2013, she played the roles of Diana in Absent Friends at the Harold Pinter Theatre, and Laura in Before the Party at the Almeida Theatre, respectively. In 2014, Parkinson appeared in "Sardines", the first episode of the anthology series Inside No. 9, alongside Ben Willbond, as well as the miniseries The Honourable Woman, which aired in the UK on BBC Two and in the USA on SundanceTV.

In 2015 she starred in the BBC One comedy series The Kennedys, written by Emma Kennedy about growing up on a Stevenage estate in the 1970s.[16] She also played one of the lead roles in all three series of the British-American science fiction series Humans, which aired on Channel 4 and AMC between 2015 and 2018.

In 2016 Parkinson performed in the stage play Dead Funny at the Vaudeville Theatre. In 2018 and 2019 she performed in Home, I'm Darling, for which she was nominated for an Olivier Award,[17] as well as in Defending the Guilty, a legal sitcom which aired for one series on BBC Two and was subsequently renewed for a second,[18] before being cancelled due to coronavirus.[19]

She played Emma Jeanne Desfosses in Marjane Satrapi's film adaptation of Lauren Redniss's Radioactive in 2019, detailing the life of Marie Curie.

In 2019, Parkinson's debut work as a playwright, Sitting, had its London premiere, following a month-long run at the Edinburgh Fringe.[20] The play was well reviewed, with The Guardian[21] writing "Parkinson delicately reveals connections that, by the end, give the play a wistful emotional weight." Parkinson adapted the play for BBC Four in early 2021.[22]

Parkinson appeared in series 10 of Taskmaster in 2020.[23] Parkinson won the second episode but was behind in total points for the majority of the series, and ended up in last place.[24]

Personal life[edit]

Parkinson is married to actor Harry Peacock,[25] and is the daughter-in-law of the late Trevor Peacock.[26]



Year Title Role
2006 Hard to Swallow Katie
2008 Easy Virtue Marion Whittaker
2008 How to Lose Friends & Alienate People PR Woman
2009 The Boat That Rocked Felicity
2009 St. Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold Physics Teacher
2014 Britain Isn't Eating Marion / Sarah
2018 The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society Isola
2019 Radioactive Emma Jeanne Desfosses
2019 How to Fake a War Kate Hemings
2021 Paul Dood's Deadly Lunch Break Clemmie
2022 The Nan Movie Nell Taylor


Year Title Role Notes
2005 Ahead of the Class Vicky Foley
2005 Casualty Helen Gibbons Episode: "The Long Goodbye"
2005 Extras Woman in Queue Episode: "Ross Kemp and Vinnie Jones"
2005–2009 Doc Martin Pauline Lamb Series 2-4 & Christmas special


The IT Crowd Jen Barber British Comedy Award for Best Television Comedy Actress[27]
Nominated – BAFTA for Best Female Comedy Performance[28]
Winner of BAFTA award Best Female Performance in a Comedy Programme 2014[3]
2007 Fear, Stress & Anger Gemma
2007 Christmas at the Riviera Vanessa
2007–2009 Katy Brand's Big Ass Show Various Characters
2009 Jonathan Creek Nicola Episode: "The Grinning Man"
2009 The Old Guys Amber
2010 The Great Outdoors Sophie
2010 Whites Caroline[29]
2011 Psychoville Fiona 1 episode
2011 Comedy Showcase Pip Episode: "Coma Girl"
2011 The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff Conceptiva
2012 Sherlock Kitty Riley[30] Episode: "The Reichenbach Fall"
2012-2015 Would I Lie to You? Herself Series 5 Episode 3

Series 9 Episode 2

2013 Love Matters Jo Pepper Episode: "Officially Special"
2014 The Honourable Woman Rachel Stein
2014 Inside No. 9 Rebecca Episode: "Sardines"
2014 Crackanory Storyteller Second Series – Episode 3 "The Crisis Plan"
2015 Horizon Katherine Parkinson Narrator

Episode: "Which Universe Are We In?"

2014–2016 In the Club Kim Hall
2015–2018 Humans Laura Hawkins Lead role
2015 The Kennedys Brenda Kennedy Lead role
2017 Urban Myths Ange Episode: "Bob Dylan: Knockin' on Dave's Door"
2018 Hang Ups Karen Muller
2019 Defending the Guilty Caroline Bratt Lead role
2020 Taskmaster Herself Series 10
2020 Pandemonium Rachel Jessop One-off BBC One comedy (pilot episode of Here We Go)[31]
2021 Sitting Mary TV adaption of Parkinson's 2018 stage play for BBC Four[22]
2021 Spreadsheet Lauren Lead role. Australian streaming television comedy series from Paramount+
2021 Hitmen Kat Gaitskill Series two; Sky comedy series
2022 Travel Man Herself Travel documentary[32]
Here We Go Rachel Jessop BBC One comedy[33]


Year Title Role
2004 A Certain Smile Catherine
Good Times Role Patient
2008 The Odd Half Hour
2008 Mouth Trap Writer, performer
2010 Sarah Millican's Support Group Kim
2011 The Lost Weekend
2011 The Drover of Clissold Common
Souvenirs Samantha
2011–2015 Don't Start Kim
2011 The One and Only Layla
2012 Welcome to Our Village, Please Invade Carefully Katrina
2012 Diary of a Nobody Carrie Pooter
2012 The Bat Man Colette
The Lady from the Sea Bolette
2013 Start/Stop Alice
2019 Date Night Maddy


Year Title Role Notes
2001 The Age of Consent[34] Stephanie Pleasance Edinburgh Edinburgh Festival
2002 The Age of Consent[35] Stephanie Bush Theatre
2002 Frame 312[36] Maggie / Doris / Marie Donmar Warehouse
2002 Deep Throat Live on Stage[37] Linda Lovelace Assembly Rooms Edinburgh Festival Fat Bloke Productions
2003 Camille[38] Olympe Lyric Hammersmith
2003 The Increased Difficulty of Concentration Anna Balcar The Gate (London)
2003 The Riot Act[39] Antigone The Gate (London)
2004 The Unthinkable[40] Fran Sheffield Crucible
2004 Cigarettes and Chocolate[41] Gail King's Head Theatre
2004 Flush[42] Lily Soho Theatre
2006 Other Hands[43] Lydia Soho Theatre
2006–2007 The Lightning Play[44] Imogen Cumberbatch Almeida Theatre
2007 The Seagull[10] Masha Royal Court Theatre
2009 Cock[45] W Royal Court Theatre
2010 Season's Greetings[46] Pattie Royal National Theatre
2011 The School for Scandal[47] Lady Teazle Barbican Theatre
2011 66 Books[48] Jo Bush Theatre
2012 Absent Friends[49] Diana Harold Pinter Theatre
2013 Before the Party[50][51] Laura Almeida Theatre
2016–2017 Dead Funny Eleanor Vaudeville Theatre
2018–2019 Home, I'm Darling[52] Judy Theatr Clwyd and Royal National Theatre Co-Production

Nominated – Olivier Award for Best Actress

2019 Uncle Vanya[53] Sonya Theatre Royal Bath
2020 Shoe Lady[54] Viv Royal Court Theatre
2022 Much Ado About Nothing Beatrice Lyttelton Theatre

Video games[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2013 Worms Clan Wars Tara Pinkle Narrator
2014 Worms Battlegrounds Tara Pinkle Narrator


  1. ^ Cavendish, Dominic (29 March 2013). "Katherine Parkinson: interview". The Daily Telegraph.
  2. ^ "Katherine Parkinson". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 22 November 2020.
  3. ^ a b c "Winner Katherine Parkinson – The IT Crowd". BAFTA Television Awards. British Academy of Film and Television Arts. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  4. ^ "Katherine Parkinson interview: Sherlock actress on likeability and". Independent.co.uk. 8 June 2015. Retrieved 19 October 2016.
  5. ^ "Katherine Parkinson: interview". The Telegraph. 29 March 2013.
  6. ^ Bruce Dessau (28 December 2007). "Big in 2008: Comedy". Evening Standard. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  7. ^ "Katherine Parkinson – Classics, 1996". St Hilda's College University of Oxford. University of Oxford. Archived from the original on 14 July 2014. Retrieved 9 July 2014.
  8. ^ a b "Katherine Parkinson Interview". Channel 4. 18 December 2008. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  9. ^ "Controversy of consent". 8 August 2001. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  10. ^ a b Michael Billington (26 January 2007). "The Seagull, Royal Court, London". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  11. ^ Harries, Rhiannon (20 December 2009). "How We Met: Katherine Parkinson & Katy Brand". The Independent. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  12. ^ "The Royal Court's Olivier award-winning play Cock by Mike Bartlett to open off-Broadway Spring 2012". Royal Court. 7 October 2011.
  13. ^ "Mouth trap". BBC Radio 4. 20 May 2008.
  14. ^ "The Odd Half Hour". BBC Radio 4.
  15. ^ "The Great Outdoors". BBC Four.
  16. ^ "BBC One announces the cast for brand new family comedy The Kennedys". BBC. 6 March 2015.
  17. ^ Haynes, Natalie (4 July 2018). "Home, I'm Darling review – cupcakes, cocktails and fetishising wifeliness". The Guardian. Retrieved 13 March 2019.
  18. ^ "BBC Two commissions Defending the Guilty for a second series". www.bbc.co.uk. Retrieved 8 January 2021.
  19. ^ "Defending the Guilty's second series cancelled because of coronavirus - News". British Comedy Guide. 30 March 2021.
  20. ^ Paskett, Zoe (14 March 2019). "Katherine Parkinson's debut play Sitting will have London premiere at the Arcola Theatre". Evening Standard. Retrieved 14 May 2019.
  21. ^ Fisher, Mark (8 August 2018). "Sitting review – art models reveal all in Katherine Parkinson's smart debut" – via www.theguardian.com.
  22. ^ a b Richardson, Jay (21 February 2021). "Katherine Parkinson creates BBC Four comedy drama Sitting". www.comedy.co.uk. Retrieved 23 February 2021.
  23. ^ Griffin, Louise (29 October 2020). "Taskmaster's Katherine Parkinson descends into madness in bizarre shoe task". Metro. Retrieved 7 December 2020.
  24. ^ "Dog Meat Trifle". Taskmaster. Season 10. 17 December 2020. Channel 4.
  25. ^ Belotti, Alex (14 March 2013). "Hollywood's lure doesn't work on laughter-loving Katherine Parkinson". Hampstead & Highgate Express. Retrieved 8 August 2015.
  26. ^ "Soundtrack Of My Life: Katherine Parkinson". NME. 14 May 2021. Retrieved 28 August 2021.
  27. ^ "The Winners – 2009". British Comedy Awards. Retrieved 18 October 2012.
  28. ^ "Female Performance in a Comedy Programme 2010". British Academy of Film and Television Arts.
  29. ^ "Whites". BBC Two.
  30. ^ "Sherlock". BBC One.
  31. ^ "Pandemonium". radiotimes.com. Retrieved 15 December 2020.
  32. ^ "Travel Man". channel4.com. Retrieved 22 April 2022.
  33. ^ "Here We Go: Meet the cast of the new BBC comedy series". bbc.co.uk/mediacentre. Retrieved 21 April 2022.
  34. ^ Gibbons, Fiachra (7 August 2001). "The Age of Consent". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  35. ^ "Age of Consent". UK Theatre Archive. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  36. ^ "Frame 312 (Play) archive". UK Theatre Web. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  37. ^ Johann Hari (12 August 2002). "Edinburgh festival – Sex and violence". New Statesman. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  38. ^ "Archive for Camille at Lyric Theatre Hammersmith". UK Theatre Web. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  39. ^ "The Riot Act (play) archive". UK Theatre Web. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  40. ^ John Highfield (1 November 2004). "The Unthinkable". The Stage. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  41. ^ "Archive for Cigarettes and Chocolate/Hang up at the Kings Head Theatre". UK Theatre Web. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  42. ^ Aleks Sierz (26 April 2004). "Flush". The Stage. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  43. ^ Michael Billington (20 February 2006). "Other Hands, Soho Theatre, London". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  44. ^ "The Lightning Play". Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  45. ^ "Cock at the Royal Court". Royal Court. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  46. ^ Ian Shuttleworth (13 December 2010). "Season's Greetings, National Theatre (Lyttelton), London". Theatre and Dance. FT.com. Archived from the original on 11 December 2022. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  47. ^ "The School for Scandal". Barbican Centre. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  48. ^ "66 – Sixty Six Books". Bush Theatre. Archived from the original on 10 May 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  49. ^ Charles Spencer (10 February 2012). "Absent Friends, Harold Pinter Theatre, Review". The Telegraph.
  50. ^ "Before the Party – cast". Almeida Theatre. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  51. ^ Dominic Cavendish (29 March 2013). "Before the Party, Almeida Theatre, review". The Telegraph. Retrieved 2 July 2014.
  52. ^ "Home Im Darling | National Theatre". www.nationaltheatre.org.uk. 11 April 2018.
  53. ^ Akbar, Arifa (31 July 2019). "Uncle Vanya review – Rupert Everett is flamboyant in Hare's comic Chekhov". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 February 2021.
  54. ^ "Shoe Lady". Royal Court.

External links[edit]