Tamsin Greig

Tamsin Greig

Greig in 2010
Born Tamsin Margaret Mary Greig
(1966-07-12) 12 July 1966[1]
Maidstone, Kent, England
Nationality British
Other names Tamsin Leaf
Education Bachelor of Arts
Alma mater University of Birmingham
Occupation Actress
Television Dr. Caroline Todd in Green Wing
Fran Katzenjammer in Black Books
Alice Chenery in Love Soup
Debbie Aldridge in The Archers
Beverly Lincoln in Episodes
Mum (Jackie) in Friday Night Dinner
Religion Anglican
Spouse(s) Richard Leaf (1997-present)
Awards Royal Television Society Programme Awards: Comedy Performance
2004 Green Wing
Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress
2007 Much Ado About Nothing
Whatsonstage.com Best Supporting Actress in a Play
2011 The Little Dog Laughed

Tamsin Margaret M. Greig (/ˈtæmzɪn ˈɡrɛɡ/; born 12 July 1966) is an English actress. She played Fran Katzenjammer in Black Books and Dr. Caroline Todd in Green Wing. She currently stars in two sitcoms: as Beverly Lincoln in the transatlantic sitcom Episodes, and as Jackie in the Channel 4 sitcom Friday Night Dinner. Other roles include Alice Chenery in BBC One's comedy drama Love Soup, Debbie Aldridge in BBC Radio 4's soap opera The Archers, Miss Bates in the 2009 BBC version of Jane Austen's Emma, and Beth Hardiment in the 2010 film version of Tamara Drewe. Greig is also an acclaimed stage actress; she won a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in 2007 for Much Ado About Nothing, and was nominated again in 2011 and 2015 for her roles in The Little Dog Laughed and Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown.

Early life

Greig was born in Maidstone, Kent,[2] the second of three sisters. Her father, Eric, worked as a colour chemist creating dyes, and her mother, Ann, was enthusiastic about amateur dramatics.[3][4] The family moved to Kilburn when she was three. She went to Malorees Junior School, followed by Camden School for Girls where she passed A-Levels in English, French and Mathematics, and graduated with a first in Drama and Theatre Arts from the University of Birmingham (BA in Drama and Theatre Arts 1988).[5][6] After graduating, she worked at the Family Planning Association and continued doing temporary work until 1996.[6] She also spent some time at a secretarial college.[7]


Greig is known for both dramatic and comedic roles. Comedy roles generally pose problems for Greig, who has admitted that she has problems with corpsing.[8]


Greig has had a long-running part as Debbie Aldridge in the BBC Radio 4 soap opera The Archers since 1991. As her other work increased, her appearances in the show decreased and her character Debbie spends most of her time living in Hungary.[9][10]

Her other radio work includes narrating the Radio 4 comedy Warhorses of Letters,[11] and guest-starring in five episodes of the second series of the radio version of Absolute Power, playing Charles Prentiss's former lover Gayle Shand, who now runs a rival firm.


Greig appeared in a number of supporting parts, notably as Lamia in Neverwhere (1996) and The Mother in an episode of People Like Us (2000).[12] Her first major role was Fran Katzenjammer in the sitcom Black Books, which ran for three series from 2000. Fran was a friend of the main character, Bernard, and originally owned a gift shop called "Nifty Gifty" next door to his bookshop.[13]

In 2004, she played constantly embarrassed surgical registrar Dr. Caroline Todd, the lead character in the Channel 4 comedy drama series Green Wing. Her performance won her "Best Comedy Performance" in the 2005 Royal Television Society Awards.[14] She also appeared as Caroline in an appearance at The Secret Policeman's Ball.

She starred in the BBC comedy drama series Love Soup (2005), as Alice Chenery, a lovelorn woman working on a department store perfume counter, in a role specifically written for her by David Renwick, whom she met in 2003 when she appeared in an episode of Jonathan Creek.[15] In 2005 she also appeared as a nurse in an episode of the BBC series Doctor Who, entitled "The Long Game".

Greig appeared in the role of Edith Frank in the BBC's January 2009 production of The Diary of Anne Frank.[16] Also in 2009, she appeared as Miss Bates in the BBC serial Jane Austen's Emma. In 2010, she played Sacharissa Cripslock in the two part mini-series Terry Pratchett's Going Postal.

In 2011, she starred in the BBC/Showtime sitcom Episodes, alongside Matt LeBlanc and Green Wing co-star Stephen Mangan.[17] Greig and Mangan play a husband-and-wife writing duo who travel to America to work on an adaptation of their successful series. Greig also stars in the Channel 4 sitcom, Friday Night Dinner, as the mother of a North London Jewish family.

She played Beth in the 2012 BBC series White Heat. She also is the lead in The Guilty in the 3 part series on ITV in 2013, playing DCI Maggie Brand investigating the death of a young child who went missing five years ago. [18] In 2014, she played Sally in the Inside No. 9 episode "Last Gasp".

In 2015 the fourth season of Episodes was aired, and in 2016 a nine-episode fifth series, still starring Greig alongside Stephen Mangan and Matt LeBlanc, will begin filming in London.[19]


During 2006 and early 2007, Greig played Beatrice in a much acclaimed production of Much Ado About Nothing for which she won a Laurence Olivier Award,[20] and Constance in King John, as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company's The Complete Works season. Whilst the win itself was a surprise,[21] her acceptance speech was received very well as being highly entertaining,[22] claiming that she was so excited that she had wet her dress. The speech was apparently completely improvised. Backstage, when told not to tell her mother about her wetting her dress, she told the host that her mum was dead before dedicating her award to her "dead mum".[23] She also won the Critics' Circle Theatre Award for "Best Shakespearean Performance" in Much Ado About Nothing, becoming the first woman to win the award,[24] and was nominated for "The FRANCO'S Best Actress in a Play" in the Whatsonstage Theatregoers' Choice Awards.[25][26]

At the Gielgud Theatre in March 2008, she co-starred with Ralph Fiennes, Janet McTeer and Ken Stott in the UK premiere of Yasmina Reza's The God of Carnage (Le Dieu du carnage) translated by Christopher Hampton and directed by Matthew Warchus.[27][28] The play won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy in 2009.[29] In 2008, she co-starred in the surreal sci-fi film Captain Eager and the Mark of Voth.

In November 2008, she made her National Theatre debut in Gethsemane, a new play by David Hare which toured the UK.[30] Greig was starring in The Little Dog Laughed by Douglas Carter Beane at the Garrick Theatre in London, which did run a limited season until 10 April 2010. She starred alongside Rupert Friend, Gemma Arterton and Harry Lloyd, and the play was directed by Jamie Lloyd. She won the 2011 WhatsOnStage Theatregoers Choice Award for Best Supporting Actress in a play for her portrayal.[31] Her performance as Diane in The Little Dog Laughed garnered her a second Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress.[32] In October 2011 she was Hilary, the central character, in Jumpy at the Royal Court, London.,[33] which later transferred to the Duke of York's Theatre in the West End. In March 2013 she played Varia in Longing, a new play by William Boyd based on two short stories by Chekov, at the Hampstead Theatre. Greig previously performed in the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown at the Playhouse Theatre, London, until May 2015. In March 2015, she received a nomination for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical.

In October 2016, she returned to the Hampstead Theatre to play Empty in The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures by Tony Kushner.


Greig starred with Richard E. Grant in the film Cuckoo,[34] and with Roger Allam and Gemma Arterton in Tamara Drewe.[35] She also made a short cameo appearance in the 2004 comedy Shaun of the Dead, and co-starred in 2015's The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. 2016 saw the release of Breaking The Bank, which sees her portray Penelope Bunbury opposite Kelsey Grammer as Charles Bunbury.

Personal life

Greig lives in a flat in Kensal Green, having moved back in 1996 to be with her dying father. She became a Christian at this time, having been brought up as an atheist.[10] Greig is also a vegetarian.[36] She is married to actor Richard Leaf, whom she met on the set of Neil Gaiman's 1996 miniseries Neverwhere, and has three children.[37]

She is a supporter of the National Health Service, giving her backing to a rally organised by pro-NHS protest group NHS Together.[38] She also supports more practical teaching of Shakespeare in British schools, supporting the RSC's "Stand Up For Shakespeare" manifesto.[39] In August 2014, Greig was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.[40]


  1. https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:QVWQ-L3ZW
  2. "findmypast.co.uk". Search.findmypast.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-08-26.
  3. Mountford, Holly (12 August 2012). "'Intriguing isn't it?': Tamsin Greig mulls over life's mysteries". The Independent on Sunday. Retrieved 12 August 2012.
  4. "Crowded flats (Sunday Times)". bryanappleyard.com. 21 December 2014. Retrieved 11 March 2015.
  5. "Celebrities tell us about their first year at university". The Guardian. 14 August 2008.
  6. 1 2 Sale, Jonathan (2009-01-08). "Passed/Failed: An education in the life of the actress Tamsin Greig". London: The Independent. Retrieved 2009-01-08.
  7. Seriously funny, an interview with The Telegraph with Tamsin Greig. Written by Jasper Rees, 29 July 2006. Accessed 17 June 2007.
  8. Channel 4 Green Wing microsite, Tamsin Greig interview, Page 2. Accessed 17 June 2007.
  9. "Debbie Aldridge Played by Tamsin Greig". The Archers. BBC. 8 February 2010. Retrieved 29 June 2011.
  10. 1 2 Saner, Emine (3 March 2011). "Tamsin Greig: 'I always think I'll never work again'". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 January 2012.
  11. "Warhorses of Letters".
  12. Accessed 18 March 2012.
  13. 'Cooking The Books', Black Books episode 1, series 1
  14. RTS Winners and Nominations list 2005 Archived May 22, 2006, at the Wayback Machine. Accessed 17 June 2007.
  15. Woman's Hour Interview with Tamsin Greig on February 2005, Accessed 17 June 2007
  16. "Anne Frank TV drama heads to BBC". BBC. 2007-10-15. Retrieved 2007-10-16.
  17. "Showtime Plans a Trio of Premieres for January". The Wrap. 2010-09-22. Retrieved 2010-10-08.
  18. The Guilty Archived May 12, 2014, at the Wayback Machine.
  19. http://www.sho.com/sho/episodes/home
  20. BBC News (18 February 2007) "Sondheim show wins theatre awards". Retrieved 2007-02-18
  21. "Spamalot actress attacks Olivier awards snub" Archived May 26, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. 19 Feb 2007, This Is London
  22. "Sondheim show wins theatre awards". BBC News. 19 February 2007. Retrieved 24 May 2010.
  23. "IN DEPTH: Tamsin Greig talks to us" Archived July 22, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. 26 February 2009, Maidenhead Advertiser
  24. Critics Circle Awards for 2006 Archived September 26, 2007, at the Wayback Machine. Albemarle of London. Accessed 17 June 2007.
  25. "WOS Theatregoers' Choice Nominees Announced". What's On Stage. 2007-12-07. Retrieved 2007-12-10.
  26. "Full List: Your Theatregoers' Choice Award Winners". What's On Stage. 2008-02-22. Retrieved 2008-02-22.
  27. Wheatley, Jane (2008-03-19). "Tamsin Greig: from Ambridge to the West End stage in God of Carnage". London: The Times. Retrieved 2008-03-19.
  28. Paddock, Terri (2007-12-24). "Greig, McTeer & Stott Join Fiennes God of Carnage". What's on Stage. Retrieved 2007-12-24.
  29. "2009 Laurence Olivier Awards Winners". The Official London Theatre Guide. Archived from the original on March 12, 2009. Retrieved 2009-03-09.
  30. Paddock, Terri (18 August 2008). "Hare Gethsemane Debuts With Greig at NT, 11 Nov". Whatsonstage.com. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
  31. "Full List 2011 Whatsonstage.com Award Winners". What's On Stage. 2011-02-20.
  32. "Full List of 2011 Award Nominees". Olivier Awards. 2011-02-20.
  33. Spencer, Charles (19 October 2011). "Jumpy, Royal Court". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 4 November 2011.
  34. "Star on Yarmouth movie set". Norfolk Daily Evening Press. 2007-12-12. Archived from the original on 2011-09-28. Retrieved 2007-12-12.]
  35. Tamara Drewe Cast-list at IMDb
  36. Nathanson, Hannah; Hunter Johnston, Lucy (8 June 2012). "Tamsin Greig welcomes in the summer". Evening Standard. Retrieved 8 June 2012.
  37. Tamsin Greig on Friday Night Dinner series two, going grey and growing up
  38. Haynes, Alex (2007-11-01). "Rally backs health service". Harrow Times. Retrieved 2007-11-01.
  39. "RSC Stands Up For Shakespeare". Official London Theatre Guide. 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2008-03-03.
  40. "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories | Politics". theguardian.com. 2014-08-07. Retrieved 2014-08-26.
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