Jane Horrocks

Jane Horrocks
Born Barbara Jane Horrocks
(1964-01-18) 18 January 1964
Rawtenstall, Lancashire, England, UK
Residence Twickenham
Occupation Actress, voice artist, musician, singer
Years active 1987–present
Television Absolutely Fabulous
Little Princess
Fifi and the Flowertots
Partner(s) Nick Vivian (1996-present)
Children 2

Barbara Jane Horrocks (born 18 January 1964) is an English stage, film and television actress, voice artist, musician and singer, who played the roles of Bubble and Katy Grin in the BBC sitcom Absolutely Fabulous (1992–2012). She was nominated for the 1993 Olivier Award for Best Actress for the title role in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, and received Golden Globe and BAFTA Award nominations when she reprised the role in the 1998 film Little Voice. Her other film roles include The Witches (1990), Life Is Sweet (1990), Corpse Bride (2005) and Sunshine on Leith (2013).

Early life

Horrocks, the youngest of three children, was born in Rawtenstall, Lancashire, the daughter of Barbara (née Ashworth), a hospital worker, and John Horrocks, a sales representative.[1] She attended Balladen County Primary School and later trained at Oldham College and subsequently at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art with Imogen Stubbs and Ralph Fiennes,[2] and began her career with the Royal Shakespeare Company.[3] She drew critical notice for her performance in the film Life Is Sweet (1991), followed by her award-winning performance in the West End play The Rise and Fall of Little Voice in which she sang all the songs. Horrocks became a name with the role of Bubble in Absolutely Fabulous (1992–2016).

The Rise and Fall of Little Voice

While working on Road, a play directed by Jim Cartwright, Horrocks warmed up by doing singing impressions of Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey and Ethel Merman. Cartwright was so impressed with her mimicry he wrote The Rise and Fall of Little Voice for her. She was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress for her performance in the 1992 West End production, directed by her boyfriend Sam Mendes. She reprised her role in the 1998 screen adaptation, Little Voice, which earned nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, the Satellite Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role - Motion Picture, and the British Independent Film Award for Best Actress.

In 2000, Horrocks made the CD Further Adventures of Little Voice, again singing in the style of favourite divas. The recording includes duets with Ewan McGregor, Robbie Williams and Dean Martin. Horrocks collaborated once more with Robbie Williams the following year, for a cover of the Bobby Darin song "Things" on Williams's album Swing When You're Winning.


Horrocks has appeared on stage in Ask for the Moon (Hampstead, 1986), A Collier's Friday Night (Greenwich, 1987), Valued Friends (Hampstead, 1989), and The Debutante Ball (Hampstead, 1989). She appeared in Catherine Cookson's The Fifteen Streets, alongside Sean Bean and Owen Teale in 1989, Our Own Kind (Bush, 1991), Deadly Advice (Fletcher, 1993), Cabaret (Donmar Warehouse, 1994), Macbeth (Greenwich Theatre, 1995) and Absurd Person Singular (Garrick Theatre, 2007).[1] Her last West End appearance was in Sweet Panic, the 2003 Stephen Poliakoff drama in which she portrayed a neurotic mother locked in a battle of wills with her disturbed son's psychologist. She starred in Richard Jones's critically acclaimed production of The Good Soul of Szechuan at the Young Vic in 2008,[4] and was reunited with Jones in a new musical production of Annie Get Your Gun, which opened at the Young Vic in October 2009.[5]In 2016s If You Kiss Me, Kiss Me Horrocks revisited the songs of her youth, to sing versions of tracks by the likes of Joy Division, The Smiths, Buzzcocks and The Human League at London’s Young Vic.[6]

Horrocks's voiceovers have been used on Chicken Run (2000), Christmas Carol: The Movie (2001), Corpse Bride (2005), Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties (2006) and Tinker Bell (2008) (in which she was Fairy Mary; she reprises the role in the Tinker Bell sequels), and on radio as Fenchurch in the audio adaptation of Douglas Adams' science fiction series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for BBC Radio 4. She has voiced Donner in all three Robbie the Reindeer films in aid of Comic Relief.

Other television credits include Absolutely Fabulous, Victoria Wood - We'd Quite Like To Apologise, Bad Girl, Boon, Heartland, Hunting Venus, La Nonna, Leaving Home, Never Mind the Horrocks, Nightlife, Wyrd Sisters, Foxbusters, Red Dwarf, Some Kind of Life, Suffer the Little Children, The Storyteller, The Garden, Fifi & the Flowertots, Little Princess (the voice of the princess) and Welcome to the Times. She was the subject of an episode of the genealogy documentary series Who Do You Think You Are? in 2006. That year she played the title role in The Amazing Mrs Pritchard, a drama about a woman elected prime minister. For 10 years, Horrocks appeared with Prunella Scales in commercials for the UK supermarket chain Tesco.[7] She narrated BBC Two's television series The Speaker in April 2009.[8]

Also in 2009, Horrocks took the lead in the BBC TV production Gracie!, a drama portraying the life of Gracie Fields during World War II and her relationship with the Italian-born director Monty Banks (played by Tom Hollander).[9]

On Tuesday 14 January 2014, Horrocks appeared as a contestant in The Great Sport Relief Bake Off on BBC Two. This programme is the celebrity version of The Great British Bake Off, whose purpose is to help raise money for the charity Sport Relief, and was hosted by Jo Brand. The other contestants were: TV and radio presenter Kirsty Young, choreographer Jason Gardiner, and Olympic athlete Greg Rutherford.

In October 2014, Horrocks will play Ella Khan in the London revival of East is East at Trafalgar Studios as part of Jamie Lloyd's Trafalgar Transformed season.[10]

On 9 May 2015 she gave a reading at VE Day 70: A Party to Remember in Horse Guards Parade, London that was broadcast live on BBC1.[11]

In 2015 she supplied the voice of the Tubby Phone in the reboot of the popular British children's television series Teletubbies.

Personal life

Horrocks lives with playwright Nick Vivian[12] in Twickenham with their children, son Dylan and daughter Molly.[13]

In 2011, Horrocks caused minor controversy by admitting to no longer shopping in Tesco, stating that '(t)here's always a set type of people doing their shopping ... whether it's pensioners holding everyone up or screeching kids. Or sometimes you can have rather a lot of chavs in, and that gets a bit scary.' Writers Julie Burchill and Barbara Allen branded Horrocks snobbish and hypocritical for her comments, drawing particular attention to the fact that Horrocks had famously fronted a series of adverts for the supermarket chain in the 1990s.[14][15][16]



Year Title Role Directed by
1988 The Dressmaker Rita Jim O'Brien
1989 Getting It Right Jenny Randal Kleiser
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase Pattern Stuart Orme
1990 The Witches Miss Susan Irvine Nicolas Roeg
Memphis Belle Faith Michael Caton-Jones
Life Is Sweet Nicola Mike Leigh
1993 Second Best Debbie Chris Menges
1994 Deadly Advice Jodie Greenwood Mandie Fletcher
1997 Bring Me the Head of Mavis Davis Mavis Davis / Marla Dorland John Henderson
1998 Little Voice LV Mark Herman
1999 Faeries Huccaby (voice) Gary Hurst
1999 Hooves of Fire Donner (voice)
2000 Chicken Run Babs (voice) Peter Lord & Nick Park
Born Romantic Mo David Kane
Lion of Oz Wimsik (voice) Tim Deacon
2001 Christmas Carol: The Movie Ghost of Christmas Past (voice) Jimmy T. Murakami
2002 Legend of the Lost Tribe Donner (voice)
2005 Corpse Bride The Black Widow / Mrs. Plum (voice) Tim Burton
Brothers of the Head Roberta Howe Keith Fulton & Louis Pepe
2006 Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties Meenie (voice) Tim Hill
2007 Close Encounters of the Herd Kind Donner (voice)
2008 Tinker Bell Fairy Mary (voice) Bradley Raymond
2009 Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure Fairy Mary (voice) Klay Hall
2010 No One Gets Off in This Town
2011 Arthur Christmas Lead Elf (voice) Sarah Smith
2012 Secret of the Wings Fairy Mary (voice) Bobs Gannaway & Peggy Holmes
2013 Sunshine on Leith Jean Dexter Fletcher
2014 The Pirate Fairy Fairy Mary Peggy Holmes
2016 Ab Fab: The Movie Bubble


Year Title Role Notes
1987 First Sight Natalie Episode: "Leaving Home" (1.3)
Screenplay Louise Episode: "The Road" (2.13)
1988 The Storyteller Anja Episode: "The True Bride" (1.9)
The Ruth Rendell Mysteries Pippa Bond Episode: "No Crying He Makes" (2.7)
1989 The Jim Henson Hour Anja Episode: "Musicians" (1.8)
Victoria Wood Cathy Warburton Episode: "We'd Quite Like to Apologise" (1.4)
Smith & Jones Episode: "The Unprepared Version" (5.6)
1990 Boon Trisha Downey Episode: "Best Left Buried" (5.11)
1991 Screen One Gail Episode: "Alive and Kicking" (3.7)
Performance Episode: "Nona" (1.2)
1992 Red Dwarf Nirvanah Crane Episode: "Holoship" (5.1)
Screenplay Maggie Hunt Episode: "Bad Girl" (7.3)
Performance Episode: "Roots" (2.3)
1995 Performance Doll Tearsheet Episode: "Henry IV" (5.5)
1996 Tales from the Crypt Cammy Episode: "Cold War" (7.6)
Never Mind the Horrocks Various roles
1997 Wyrd Sisters Magrat Garlick (voice) Television mini-series
The Blobs Various (voice) 26 Episodes (all episodes)
19951998 Crapston Villas Flossie 20 episodes (all episodes)
1999 Foxbusters Jeffries (voice)
19992000 Watership Down Hannah 14 episodes
2000 Mirrorball Yitta Hilberstam Television pilot
2001 Little Big Mouth Krystan (voice)
2002 Linda Green Teresa Franklin Episode: "Teresa" (2.2)
20032004 Wide-Eye Flea (voice) Baby Komodo (Voice) Hetty Hornet (Voice) 26 episodes
2004 Monkey Trousers Various roles
2005 Jericho Sadie Swettenham Episode: "To Murder and Create" (1.3)
2006 The Street Angela Quinn Episodes: "The Accident" (1.1)
"Stan" (1.2)
20052005 Fifi and the Flowertots Fifi Forget-Me-Not (voice) 40 episodes
2006 The Amazing Mrs Pritchard Ros Pritchard 6 episodes (all episodes)
20062007 Little Princess Little Princess (voice)
2011 Coming Up Felicity Episode: "Magic" (6.5)
Phineas and Ferb Eliza Episode: "My Fair Goalie" (3.11)
This is Jinsy Mrs. Stenton Episode: "Vel" (1.6)
Little Crackers Hairdresser Episode: "Jane Horrocks' Little Cracker: Barbara" (2.3)
Pixie Hollow Games Fairy Mary (voice) Television special
2012 Get Your House in Order Narrator (voice) Episode: "Stuart" (1.3)
True Love Sandra Episode: "Sandra" (1.4)
19922012 Absolutely Fabulous Bubble
(also played Katy Grin, Lola and radio voice)
33 episodes
20112013, 2015 Trollied Julie Cook 37 episodes
2014 Lily's Driftwood Bay Wee Rabbit
2015 Inside No. 9 Liz "Cold Comfort" (2.4)
2015 Teletubbies Tubby Phone (voice)
2015 Long Live the Royals Queen Elenor (voice) UK version only

Television films

Year Title Role Notes
1989 The Fifteen Streets Christine Bracken
Heartland Pam
1991 Came Out, It Rained, Went Back in Again Learner Lesbian
1993 Cabaret Sally Bowles
1994 Self Catering Marilyn
Suffer the Little Children Deborah Hayes
1995 Some Kind of Life Alison
1996 Nightlife Helen
1999 Hunting Venus Cassandra
The Flint Street Nativity Zoe
2009 Gracie! Gracie Fields
2010 The Road to Coronation Street Margaret Morris

Short film, television and video

Year Title Role Notes
1994 Butter Begger Television
1995 Combination Skin (voice) Short film
1999 Hooves of Fire Donner (voice) Television
2002 Legend of the Lost Tribe Donner / Arctic Fox (voice) Television
2002 Last Rumba in Rochdale Gran (voice) Short film
2004 Wheeling Dealing Authentic Newsreader Short film
2006 Voices from the Underworld Herself (voice) Video Short
2007 Robbie the Reindeer in Close Encounters of the Herd Kind Donner (voice) Television
2011 The Itch of the Golden Nit (voice) Short film

Music videos

Awards and honours


External links

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