Actor Comedian Film actor Stage actor Writer

Celia Imrie

Quick Facts

IntroEnglish actress
A.K.A.Celia Diana Savile Imrie
Is Actor
Comedian
Stage actor
Film actor
Writer
From United Kingdom
Type Film, TV, Stage, Radio
Humor
Literature
Genderfemale
Birth 15 July 1952, Guildford, Guildford, Surrey, United Kingdom
Age68 years
Star signCancer
Family
Mother: Diana Elizabeth Cator
Father: David Andrew Imrie
Children: Angus Imrie
Stats
Height: 1.6637 m
Education
Guildford School of Acting
Guildford High School
Awards
Laurence Olivier Award 

Biography

Celia Diana Savile Imrie (born 15 July 1952) is an English actress and author. She is known for her work with Victoria Wood, including Victoria Wood as Seen on TV (1985–1987), the sitcom Dinnerladies (1998–2000) and Acorn Antiques: The Musical, for which she won the 2006 Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical.

Described in 2003 as “one of the most successful British actresses of recent decades”,
she is also known for her film roles, including the Bridget Jones film series, Calendar Girls (2003), Nanny McPhee (2005), The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2011), The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2015), Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018) and Malevolent (2018).

Early life

Imrie was born in 1952 in Guildford, Surrey, the fourth of five children of Diana Elizabeth Blois (née Cator) and David Andrew Imrie, a radiologist. Her father was from Glasgow, Scotland.

She was educated at Guildford High School, an independent school for girls in her hometown of Guildford, followed by the Guildford School of Acting.

Career

Imrie’s career spans films, television, radio drama and the theatre. Her film credits include Nanny McPhee, Hilary and Jackie (playing Iris du Pré) and the 1997 film of The Borrowers where she played Homily Clock. Other films include Bridget Jones’s Diary, Calendar Girls, Highlander and, as Fighter Pilot Bravo 5, in Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. In 2007 she appeared in St Trinian’s.

Television credits include The Nightmare Man, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Casualty, Absolutely Fabulous, The Darling Buds of May and Upstairs, Downstairs.

In the 2000 miniseries of Gormenghast, she played Lady Gertrude. She also appeared in the 2005 BBC television drama Mr. Harvey Lights a Candle, playing the part of a teacher taking an unruly party of pupils on a day-trip to Salisbury Cathedral. She starred in the BBC sitcom After You’ve Gone (2007–2008), alongside Nicholas Lyndhurst and in the ITV1 drama Kingdom (2007–2009), with Stephen Fry. Her part in After You’ve Gone has, whilst being critically acclaimed, been described as “criminally squandered”.

In 2013, she guest starred in the BBC’s Doctor Who where she played the villainous Miss Kizlet in The Bells of Saint John.

In 2005, she received very positive reviews for her US stage debut in Unsuspecting Susan. In 2009, she appeared in Plague Over England in the West End, a play about Sir John Gielgud, and received positive reviews for her performance, That same year, she appeared in the world premiere of Robin Soans’ Mixed Up North, directed by Max Stafford-Clark. In 2010, she appeared alongside Robin Soans in a production of Sheridan’s The Rivals.

Her radio work includes parts in BBC Radio 4’s No Commitments and Bleak Expectations. In early 2007, she narrated the book Arabella, broadcast over two weeks as the Book at Bedtime.

In May 2016, she made her US television debut in the DC action-adventure series Legends of Tomorrow. Since September 2016 she has starred as Phyllis in the FX series Better Things.

Work with Victoria Wood

Imrie is perhaps best known for her frequent collaborations with Victoria Wood, with whom she appeared in TV programmes such as the sitcom dinnerladies and sketch show Victoria Wood as Seen on TV. It was on the latter show in 1985 that she first played the part of Miss Babs, owner of Acorn Antiques, a parody of the low-budget British soap opera Crossroads.

These sketches became such a British institution that the show was turned into Acorn Antiques: The Musical!, a West End musical, in 2005 starring most of the original cast. Imrie won an Olivier Award in 2006 for her performance. The character has curly blonde hair, and is known for her frequent parodic flirtations with the customers, and her interactions with the housekeeper Mrs Overall (portrayed by Julie Walters).

Books

Her debut novel Not Quite Nice published by Bloomsbury in 2015, had six weeks in the Sunday Times Top Ten and was cited by The Times as a ‘delicious piece of entertainment’, also reaching number 5 in the Apple ibook chart and 8 in Amazon’s book chart. Her second novel Nice Work (If You Can Get It) was published in 2016 and her third, Sail Away was published in February 2018. Her next work, A Nice Cup of Tea, was published in 2019.

  • The Happy Hoofer (2011), Hodder & Stoughton, ISBN 978-1444709278
  • Not Quite Nice (2015), Bloomsbury Publishing, ISBN 978-1632860323
  • Nice Work (If You Can Get It) (2016), Bloomsbury Publishing, ISBN 978-1408876909
  • Sail Away (2018), Bloomsbury Publishing, ISBN 978-1408883235
  • A Nice Cup of Tea (2019), Bloomsbury Publishing. ISBN 978-1408883266

Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again

As part of the cast of the 2018 film Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again, Imrie achieved her first UK Top 40 single alongside Lily James with a cover of the ABBA song “When I Kissed the Teacher”, which reached number 40 in August 2018.

Personal life

Imrie lives in London and in Cowes on the Isle of Wight. She has a son, Angus Imrie, with the actor Benjamin Whitrow, but has said that she “hated the idea of marriage”, describing it as a “world of cover-up and compromise”. Angus appears as her on-screen son in Kingdom and has acted in other productions, having studied drama and performance at the University of Warwick.

When she was fourteen, she was admitted to the Royal Waterloo Hospital suffering from anorexia nervosa. Under the care of controversial psychiatrist William Sargant, she was given electroshock and large doses of the anti-psychotic drug Largactil.

She was the guest on Desert Island Discs on BBC Radio 4 on 13 February 2011. In 2013, she was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of Winchester.

Imrie was featured in the BBC genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are? in October 2012 and discovered that an ancestor on her mother’s side was William, Lord Russell, a Whig parliamentarian executed for treason in 1683, after being found guilty of conspiring against Charles II.

Awards

  • (1992) The Clarence Derwent Award for Best Supporting Actress in The Sea
  • (2006) Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in a Musical in Acorn Antiques:The Musical!
  • (2017) UK WFTV (Women in Film and Television) Award for the EON Productions Lifetime Achievement

Theatre

Source:

  • 1976: Now Here’s a Funny Thing
  • 1976: Sherlock Holmes
  • 1976: The Adventures of Alice
  • 1977: Henry V
  • 1977: Love’s Labour’s Lost
  • 1977: The Boyfriend
  • 1978: As You Like It
  • 1978: Cabaret
  • 1978: Macbeth
  • 1978: ‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore
  • 1979: The Good Humoured Ladies
  • 1979: Pygmalion
  • 1980: Seduced
  • 1981: Heaven and Hell
  • 1981: A Waste of Time
  • 1982: Puntila and Matti, Master and Servant
  • 1982: Puss in Boots
  • 1982: Philosophy of the Boudoir
  • 1982: The Screens
  • 1983: Arms and the Man
  • 1983: Custom of the Country
  • 1983: The Merchant of Venice
  • 1983: Sirocco
  • 1983: Webster
  • 1984: Alfie
  • 1984: The Merchant of Venice
  • 1984: When I Was a Girl I Used to Scream and Shout
  • 1985: Particular Friendships
  • 1985: The Philanthropist
  • 1986: Last Waltz
  • 1987: School For Wives
  • 1987: Yerma
  • 1988: Doctor Angelus
  • 1988: The Madwoman of Chaillot
  • 1990: In Pursuit of the English
  • 1990: Hangover Square
  • 1990: No One Sees the Video
  • 1991: The Sea
  • 1995: The Hothouse
  • 1996: Habeas Corpus
  • 1997: Dona Rosita the Spinster
  • 1998: The School for Scandal
  • 2003: The Way of the World
  • 2003: Unsuspecting Susan
  • 2005: Acorn Antiques: The Musical!
  • 2005: Unsuspecting Susan
  • 2009: Plague Over England
  • 2009: Mixed Up North
  • 2010: The Rivals
  • 2010: Polar Bears
  • 2010: Hay Fever
  • 2011: Drama at Inish
  • 2011–2012: Noises Off
  • 2016: King Lear
  • 2018–2019: Party Time and Celebration

Ancestors

2. David Andrew Imrie (1892–1972)
2. David Andrew Imrie (1892–1972)
1. Celia Imrie
24. Reverend Thomas Cator (1790–1864),
great-grandson of Peregrine Bertie, 2nd Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven
12. Charles Oliver Frederick Cator (1836–1876)
25. Lady Louisa Frances Lumley-Savile (1794–1885),
daughter of John Lumley-Savile, 7th Earl of Scarbrough
6. Charles George Lumley Cator (1872–1954)
26. Sir George Baker, 3rd Bt. (1816–1882)
13. Isabella Maria Baker (?–1927)
27. Mary Isabella Sutton (?–1855),
great-granddaughter of John Manners, Marquess of Granby
3. Diana Elizabeth Blois Cator (1913–1999)
28. John Ralph Blois (1795–1853),
son of Sir Charles Blois, 6th Bt.
14. Sir John Ralph Blois, 8th Bt. (1830–1888)
29. Eliza Knox Barrett (d. 1886)
7. Adeline Louisa Blois (?–1941)
30. Capt. Alfred Chapman
15. Eliza Ellen Chapman (d. 1924)
31. Caroline Macnaghten (d. 1875),
daughter of Sir Francis Macnaghten, 1st Bt. and Letitia Dunkin (d. 1852)
2. David Andrew Imrie (1892–1972)
1. Celia Imrie
24. Reverend Thomas Cator (1790–1864),
great-grandson of Peregrine Bertie, 2nd Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven
12. Charles Oliver Frederick Cator (1836–1876)
25. Lady Louisa Frances Lumley-Savile (1794–1885),
daughter of John Lumley-Savile, 7th Earl of Scarbrough
6. Charles George Lumley Cator (1872–1954)
26. Sir George Baker, 3rd Bt. (1816–1882)
13. Isabella Maria Baker (?–1927)
27. Mary Isabella Sutton (?–1855),
great-granddaughter of John Manners, Marquess of Granby
3. Diana Elizabeth Blois Cator (1913–1999)
28. John Ralph Blois (1795–1853),
son of Sir Charles Blois, 6th Bt.
14. Sir John Ralph Blois, 8th Bt. (1830–1888)
29. Eliza Knox Barrett (d. 1886)
7. Adeline Louisa Blois (?–1941)
30. Capt. Alfred Chapman
15. Eliza Ellen Chapman (d. 1924)
31. Caroline Macnaghten (d. 1875),
daughter of Sir Francis Macnaghten, 1st Bt. and Letitia Dunkin (d. 1852)
1. Celia Imrie
24. Reverend Thomas Cator (1790–1864),
great-grandson of Peregrine Bertie, 2nd Duke of Ancaster and Kesteven
12. Charles Oliver Frederick Cator (1836–1876)
25. Lady Louisa Frances Lumley-Savile (1794–1885),
daughter of John Lumley-Savile, 7th Earl of Scarbrough
6. Charles George Lumley Cator (1872–1954)
26. Sir George Baker, 3rd Bt. (1816–1882)
13. Isabella Maria Baker (?–1927)
27. Mary Isabella Sutton (?–1855),
great-granddaughter of John Manners, Marquess of Granby
3. Diana Elizabeth Blois Cator (1913–1999)
28. John Ralph Blois (1795–1853),
son of Sir Charles Blois, 6th Bt.
14. Sir John Ralph Blois, 8th Bt. (1830–1888)
29. Eliza Knox Barrett (d. 1886)
7. Adeline Louisa Blois (?–1941)
30. Capt. Alfred Chapman
15. Eliza Ellen Chapman (d. 1924)
31. Caroline Macnaghten (d. 1875),
daughter of Sir Francis Macnaghten, 1st Bt. and Letitia Dunkin (d. 1852)