Sharon Horgan

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Sharon Horgan
Rob Delaney, Sharon Horgan, Trending Report.jpg
Sharon Horgan (right), with Rob Delaney, interviewed about Catastrophe in 2015
Born Sharon Lorencia Horgan
(1970-07-13) 13 July 1970 (age 47)
Hackney, London, England
Residence Hackney, London
Occupation Actress, writer, comedian
Years active 2001–present
Spouse(s) Jeremy Rainbird (m. 2005)
Children 2
Relatives Shane Horgan (brother)

Sharon Lorencia Horgan (born 13 July 1970)[1] is an Irish actress, writer, director, and producer, based in London. She is known for the comedy series Pulling and Catastrophe, both of which she starred in and co-wrote.

Pulling was nominated for two British Academy Television Awards, and won two British Comedy Awards. In 2016, she won the BAFTA Craft Award for Best Writer: Comedy, along with Rob Delaney, for Catastrophe. In July 2016, she was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series.

Early life[edit]

Horgan was born in Hackney, London,[2] to an Irish mother, Ursula (née Campbell) from County Kildare whose parents before her originated from Midfield near the towns of Kilkelly Kiltimagh and Swinford in County Mayo, and a New Zealand father, John [3] who ran a pub. When she was four years old, Horgan's parents moved the family to Bellewstown, County Meath in Ireland, to run a turkey farm.[2][3][4][5]

One of five siblings,[2] in interviews Horgan has described her childhood as happy. She has also spoken fondly of growing up on the farm, where she helped with plucking the turkeys – “you pluck down, not up”, she once told an interviewer. Horgan later used her childhood experiences for the semi-autobiographical short film The Week Before Christmas for Sky Arts 1.[6] Horgan went to the Sacred Heart convent school in Drogheda, which she described in an interview with The Observer in December 2012 as an unhappy experience. “I didn't enjoy it at all”, she said.[6]

Early career[edit]

In her early twenties, Horgan moved back to London and attended various drama courses. As a young actress struggling to make ends meet she took a series of odd-jobs, including working in call centres and waitressing. For nearly two years she earned her living selling bongs in a head shop in Camden, London.[6] At the age of 27, Horgan started a degree in English and American Studies at Brunel University in west London, graduating in 2000.[7] Around that time, Horgan met British writer Dennis Kelly, while they were both working in youth theatre, and they started writing together, producing material they then sent to the BBC, for which they won the BBC New Comedy Award in 2001[8] for Sketch Writing and Performance.[2][6][9]


Horgan has appeared on stage, television and screen. Her first credited appearances on television were in The State We're In (2002) and Monkey Dust (2003), two sketch shows based on news and current affairs. She also contributed material to Monkey Dust. Her first named acting role on television was as Theresa O'Leary in Absolute Power (2003), a comedy set in the world of public relations and starring Stephen Fry. In 2005, she made her big-screen debut as Beth in Imagine Me & You, a British-American romantic comedy directed by Ol Parker.

Horgan made a cameo appearance in BBC's Extras before appearing as a guest booker in two series of Rob Brydon's Annually Retentive (2006–07), also on the BBC, a spoof comedy set behind the scenes of a chat show presented by Rob Brydon.[9] She won a British Comedy Award in 2007[10] for Best Female Newcomer for her performance.

In 2010, Horgan appeared in The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret. The US/UK comedy series was written by David Cross, who also appeared as the eponymous anti-hero, an incompetent American who takes a job leading the London sales team for an energy drink. Horgan played Alice Bell, the café owner on whom he developed a crush. After a three-year hiatus following the second series, IFC announced a third series would be broadcast in late 2015.[11]

In September 2011, Horgan appeared in the world premiere of Saul Rubinek's play Terrible Advice at the Menier Chocolate Factory in London. The play is a four-hander set in Los Angeles and she played Delila, one half of its two warring couples.[12]

In June 2012, Horgan was part of the ensemble cast for the pilot episode of Psychobitches,[13] shown as part of Sky Arts 1's Playhouse Presents strand. In the sketch show, famous women from history are psychoanalysed by Rebecca Front's therapist; Horgan played the novelist Jane Austen in the pilot, and later characters included Eva Peron, Cleopatra, Boudicca and Carmen Miranda. Two series of Psychobitches followed; the first was shown in May 2013, and the second in November 2014. No announcement has yet been made for a third series.[citation needed]

Also, Horgan has voiced characters in the film Valiant (2005),[14] CBBC's Big Babies (2010) and the short film Miss Remarkable & Her Career (2010). She has made guest appearances in series including Moone Boy (2015), Crackanory and on panel shows including So Wrong It's Right and We Need Answers. In May 2015, she appeared as Elaine in Man Up, a romantic comedy written by Tess Morris, starring Simon Pegg and directed by Ben Palmer.[15] In 2017, Horgan provided the voices of Minerva Mertens (the long-lost mother of the protagonist, Finn the Human) in the Cartoon Network animated series Adventure Time,[16] and Courtney Portnoy in the animated series Bojack Horseman.[17]


Horgan's career breakthrough was Pulling, which she co-wrote with Dennis Kelly and starred in. She played Donna, an irresponsible marketing manager who calls off her wedding at the last minute, and one of three women sharing a flat in Penge, south London. It was noted for its broad humour about sex and the consumption of alcohol. Pulling was first shown on BBC Three in 2006, then repeated on BBC Two in 2008. The six-episode series became a ‘sleeper hit’, which gained iconic status with fans and was lauded by critics.[18] A second series of six episodes ran March–April 2008 on BBC Three.[19]

Despite good ratings and critical plaudits, Pulling was cancelled after two series,[20] although an hour-long final episode was broadcast in May 2009. In 2007, the show was nominated for a British Academy Television Award and Horgan was nominated for a British Comedy Award. In 2008 she won a British Comedy Award for Pulling. In 2009, she was nominated for a British Academy Television Award and the show won a British Comedy Award.[21]

In 2007, Horgan wrote Angelo's[22] directed by Chloe Thomas. Horgan starred as Karen, a police officer. The sitcom was set in a café near Trafalgar Square in London. It ran for one series on Channel 5.[22]

In June 2012, Horgan starred in Dead Boss,[23] a sitcom set in a prison, which she wrote with comic Holly Walsh. In it she played Helen,[24] a woman wrongly imprisoned for killing her boss, and starred Jennifer Saunders. It was well received by critics and ran for one six-part series on BBC Three in June–July 2012. In 2013, Horgan starred in and co-wrote Bad Management with Holly Walsh, their second project together, and Horgan was the self-centred and demanding boss of an upmarket store in Los Angeles. ABC commissioned the pilot episode, which was not aired. But it was released online in December 2013.[25]

In January 2015, she co-starred and co-wrote the sitcom Catastrophe with American comic Rob Delaney.[26] The two first met on Twitter, and because they made each other laugh decided to work together. They have both said Catastrophe was broadly based on their own personal experiences.[27] In it she played Sharon, an Irishwoman living in London who falls pregnant by Rob, an American she met while he was on a business trip to London. Carrie Fisher played his mother. It was an instant critical success[28] and after the second episode of the six-part series was aired Channel 4 announced it had commissioned a second series. Horgan was nominated for a Best Female Comedy Performance BAFTA for her role.[29] in 2016, Channel 4, ordered a third and fourth season.[30]

Horgan has written Divorce,[31][26] a US comedy series starring Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays a New York woman going through a lengthy divorce. In April 2015, HBO announced it had picked up the series after the pilot episode, and the show is Parker's first major acting commitment since Sex and the City. She is also an executive producer.[31]


In December 2012, Horgan made her directorial debut with the semi-autobiographical film The Week Before Christmas, which was broadcast as part of the Little Crackers[6] series of short films on Sky 1. It was set on a turkey farm in Ireland, and in it she played her own mother, while her father was played by actor Conleth Hill. In September 2013, it was announced that Horgan was attached to the film Meet Me in Ten Years, a futuristic comedy written by Frances Poletti.[32]


In February 2005, Horgan co-presented the first series of The Friday Night Project (later The Sunday Night Project), a comedy variety show on Channel 4. Her co-presenters in the eight-week series were Jimmy Carr, Rob Rouse, and Lucy Montgomery. On 3 June 2011, Horgan was the guest host of Have I Got News for You on BBC1. A scripted joke about Mecca and suicide bombers brought some complaints from Muslims; Horgan defended the show as “political satire”, but apologised for any offence caused.[33]

Horgan has presented a series of documentaries for Channel 4. In January 2012, in How to Be a Good Mother[34] she talked to several families about their approach to child-rearing. In January 2013 in Secrets of a Good Marriage[35] she discovered how various couples make their relationships work; and in On the Verge of a Midlife Crisis,[36] she spoke to six women who had coped with the experience.

Horgan appeared on the BBC Radio 4 show Chain Reaction in March and April 2015. One week she was interviewed by Olivia Colman and the following week she interviewed Dennis Kelly.[5]

Merman (production company)[edit]

In 2014, Horgan established Merman, an independent production company, with Clelia Mountford, who produced A Young Doctor's Notebook, Mr. Sloane, and Cockroaches. Horgan is creative director of Merman and Mountford managing director. The two women met while working on The Week Before Christmas. Horgan's husband, Jeremy Rainbird, also works for the company. Merman is co-producing Divorce,[31] an American comedy series starring Sarah Jessica Parker, who plays a New York woman going through a lengthy divorce. In April 2015, HBO announced it had picked up the series after the pilot episode. Horgan has also written the series. Shooting begins in New York in late 2015. She is developing U.S. versions of Pulling and Dead Boss for Merman.[31]

In October 2014, IFC announced[37] that Merman is producing the third series of The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret, which will be aired in late 2015. Merman also co-produces Catastrophe.[30]

Awards and nominations[edit]

  • 2001 — BBC New Comedy Award for Sketch Writing and Performance (won)
  • 2007 — British Academy Television Award for Best Situation Comedy — Pulling (nominated)
  • 2007 — British Comedy Award for Best Female Newcomer — Rob Brydon's Annually Retentive/Pulling (nominated)
  • 2008 — British Comedy Award for Best TV Comedy Actress — Pulling (won)
  • 2009 — British Comedy Award for Best TV Comedy Drama — Pulling: Special (won)
  • 2009 — British Academy Television Award for Best Comedy Performance — Pulling (nominated)
  • 2013 — International 3D Award for International Jury Prize — The Week Before Christmas (won)
  • 2015 — TV Choice Award for Best Comedy — Catastrophe (nominated)
  • 2015 — Edinburgh Television Award for Best New Programme — Catastrophe (nominated)
  • 2016 - British Academy Television Award for Best Female Comedy Performance — "Catastrophe" (nominated)

Personal life[edit]

Horgan married businessman Jeremy Rainbird on 16 October 2005 at Chelsea Register Office, London.[9] As of 2015, the couple live in Victoria Park Hackney, London,[2] with their two daughters.[3]

Horgan's younger brother Shane is a former international rugby union player who played wing or centre for Leinster and Ireland, and is now a rugby analyst for RTÉ Sports.[38] Her other younger brother, Mark Horgan, is a producer for Second Captains, a multi-platform media production company.[4] She is also a second cousin of Jockey Leighton Aspell and his brother Paddy.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 31 December 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Sophie Wilson (23 March 2008). "Sharon Horgan: late starter". The Telegraph. Retrieved 14 February 2011. 
  3. ^ a b c "Sharon Horgan: comedian with a keen eye and a sharp tongue". The Observer. 1 February 2015. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  4. ^ a b "Sharon Horgan: 'These days female comedy sells, and people want to watch it'". The Irish Times. 23 November 2014. Retrieved 1 April 2015. 
  5. ^ a b "The week in radio: The Media Show; Chain Reaction". The Observer. 22 March 2015. Retrieved 11 April 2015. 
  6. ^ a b c d e Elizabeth Day (16 December 2012). "Sharon Horgan: 'There is a black streak in everything I've done'". The Guardian. Retrieved 6 September 2013. 
  7. ^ Brunel University (2008). "Brunel Link newsletter" (PDF). Brunel Link. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  8. ^ British Comedy Guide (2008). "Sharon Horgan Interview'". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  9. ^ a b c "The funniest woman you've never heard of". The Guardian. 14 January 2007. Retrieved 2 April 2015. 
  10. ^ "British Comedy Awards 2007". The Guardian. 7 November 2007. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  11. ^ "IFC Bringing back Todd Margaret". The Hollywood Reporter. 7 October 2014. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  12. ^ Kellaway, Kate (2 October 2011). "Terrible Advice review". The Observer. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  13. ^ "Psychobitches". British Comedy Guide. 2012. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  14. ^ Tom Reilly (9 August 2006). "Local comedian Sharon setting UK scene alight". Drogheda Independent. Retrieved 22 May 2015. 
  15. ^ Ross, Deborah (30 May 2015). "Man Up review: a film that treats female singledom as if it were cancer". The Spectator. Retrieved 12 September 2016. 
  16. ^ Grebey, James (February 2, 2017). "Finn Finally Meets His Mom, Minerva, on 'Adventure Time: Islands'". Retrieved February 20, 2017. 
  17. ^  Missing or empty |title= (help)
  18. ^ Gareth McLean (15 May 2009). "A Paean to Pulling". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  19. ^ "Pulling Series 2". Retrieved 12 September 2016. 
  20. ^ Andrew Williams (13 December 2011). "Bored of Talking about Pulling Getting Cancelled". Metro. Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  21. ^ "2009 British Comedy Award nominations". British Comedy Guide. 18 November 2009. Retrieved 12 September 2016. 
  22. ^ a b British Comedy Guide (2007). "About 'Angelo's". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  23. ^ Terry Ramsey (15 June 2012). "Dead Boss Review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  24. ^ Serena Davies (14 June 2012). "Dead Boss Review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  25. ^ Staff (12 December 2013). "Bad Management Pilot". Variety. Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  26. ^ a b "Sharon Horgan profile". An Irishman Abroad (Podcast) (156 ed.). SoundCloud. 10 September 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2016. 
  27. ^ Toby Earle (19 January 2015). "Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan Talk Bunk-ups and Arranged Marriages". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  28. ^ Toby Earle (20 February 2015). "Grace Dent on TV". The Independent. Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  29. ^ "2016 BAFTA Television Awards Female Performance in a Comedy Programme". BAFTA. Retrieved 12 September 2016. 
  30. ^ a b "Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney reunite for Catastrophe 3 and 4" (Press release). Channel 4. 12 July 2016. Retrieved 12 September 2016. 
  31. ^ a b c d Nellie Andreeva (16 April 2015). "'Divorce' picked up by HBO". Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  32. ^ Staff (9 September 2013). "Sharon Horgan to Direct First Film". Chortle. Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  33. ^ Catriona Wightman (6 June 2011). "Sharon Horgan Defends 'HIGNFY' Mecca Joke". Digital Spy. Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  34. ^ Sam Wollaston (11 January 2012). "'How to be a Good Mother' Review". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  35. ^ Ben Bryant (3 January 2013). "'Secrets of a Good Marriage' Review". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  36. ^ Channel 4 (17 December 2012). "'On the Verge of a Midlife Crisis' Programme information". Channel 4. Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  37. ^ Jon Creamer (8 October 2014). "Merman to make Series 3 of 'Todd Margaret'". Retrieved 24 May 2015. 
  38. ^ Cormac Murphy (25 March 2009). "Rugby star Shane's big sister Sharon tries for Bafta success". Retrieved 14 August 2012. 

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