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Alison Steadman

Steadman during a recording of You'll Have Had Your Tea for BBC Radio 4 in 2006
Born 26 August 1946 (1946-08-26) (age 63)
Liverpool, England

Alison Steadman OBE (born 26 August 1946) is an award-winning English actress.


Personal life

Steadman was born in Liverpool, Merseyside, England, the daughter of Marjorie (née Evans) and George Percival Steadman,[1] who worked for an electronics firm as a production controller. As a child she attended a youth theatre and after leaving school at 16 she trained as a secretary and worked in a probation office as a clerical assistant. She moved to London and in her 20s enrolled in the East 15 Acting School, where she met Mike Leigh. They married in 1973 and had two sons, Toby in 1979 and Leo in 1981. They separated in 1995 and divorced in 2001. Her present partner is Michael Elwyn[2] and she currently lives in Highgate, London.[3]



Stage work

She created the role of the monstrous Beverly in Mike Leigh's Abigail's Party, which she reprised with the original cast on television. Steadman also appeared in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Entertaining Mr Sloane, Hotel Paradiso, and others in locations as diverse as the Royal Court, the Theatre Royal, the Old Vic, the Hampstead Theatre, the Nottingham Playhouse, the Everyman Liverpool and the National Theatre. She also starred as Elmire in the 1983 RSC production of Molière's Tartuffe, which was adapted for BBC television.


She has appeared in many films, including Shirley Valentine,The Adventures Of Baron Munchausen, Confetti, Clockwise, Wilt and A Private Function, although she is perhaps most noted for her work in films directed by Leigh such as Life Is Sweet. She appeared opposite James Bolam in the TV-Film The Missing Postman.


Her television work include Fat Friends as Betty, Grumpy Old Women, Selling Hitler, Let Them Eat Cake, The Singing Detective, No Bananas, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, and Pride and Prejudice as Mrs. Bennet. She also provides a voice over in the children's TV show Bob the Builder. Television productions directed by Leigh in which she has appeared include Nuts in May, and most famously Abigail's Party. She also appeared in the BBC comedy The Worst Week of My Life. From 2007 to 2010 she appeared in the BBC comedy Gavin & Stacey as Gavin's proud mother Pamela. She was also in Fanny Hill on BBC Four in 2007. 2007 BBC Play The Dinner Party An update of Mike Leigh’s 1977 classic Abigail’s Party, with Lee Evans. She also starred in P'tang Yang Kipperbang in 1982 on Channel 4.

She appeared in Girl, a 1974 BBC play, containing the first lesbian kiss on British television which Alison performed with Myra Frances.[4]


On radio, Alison's talent for mimicry and 'character voices' was given full rein in shows such as Week Ending, Castle's on the Air and The Worst Show on the Wireless, in both the latter of which she played the over-protective mother to Eli Woods' long-suffering Bunty/Precious. From 1982 to 1984 she joined Eli Woods and Eddie Braben (Morecambe and Wise's scriptwriter) in the UK radio show The Show with No Name for the 13 episodes, in what can be described as an updated version of Round the Horne comedy sketch show. More recently, since 2002, she has starred as Mrs Naughtie in the series Hamish and Dougal.

Awards and recognition


External links


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