Alison Steadman, OBE (born 26 August 1946) is an English actress. She
won the 1991
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress
Mike Leigh film Life is Sweet, and the 1993
Olivier Award for
Best Actress for her role as Mari in the original production of The
Rise and Fall of Little Voice. In a 2007
Channel 4 poll, the "50
Greatest Actors" voted for by other actors, she was ranked No. 42.
Steadman made her professional stage debut in 1968 and went on to
establish her career in Mike Leigh's 1970s TV plays
Nuts in May
Nuts in May (1976)
Abigail's Party (1977). She received
BAFTA TV Award nominations
for the 1986
BBC serial The Singing Detective, and in 2001 for the ITV
Fat Friends (2000–05). Other television roles include
Pride and Prejudice (1995), Gavin & Stacey (2007–10) and Orphan
Black (2015–16). Her other film appearances include A Private
Function (1984), Clockwise (1986), Shirley Valentine (1989), Topsy
Turvy (1999) and
The Life and Death of Peter Sellers
The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004).
1 Early life
3 Life and career
3.1 Stage work
4 Personal life
5 Awards and recognition
7 External links
Steadman was born in Liverpool, the youngest of three sisters born to
Marjorie (née Evans) and George Percival Steadman, who worked as a
production controller for Plessey, an electronics firm.
Steadman was educated at
Childwall Valley High School for Girls, a
state grammar school in the
Liverpool suburb of Childwall, followed by
East 15 Acting School, to which she secured a place in the autumn of
1966 and where she met
Mike Leigh during her second year.
Life and career
Having left the
East 15 Acting School
East 15 Acting School in Loughton, Essex, Steadman
worked in various regional repertory theatres, starting at Lincoln in
1968, where her first role was that of the seductive schoolgirl Sandy
in The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie. She created the role of the
monstrous Beverly in Mike Leigh's Abigail's Party, which she reprised
with the original cast on television. She won an
Olivier Award for The
Rise and Fall of Little Voice, and also appeared in 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 starred as Elmire in the 1983 RSC
production of Molière's Tartuffe, which was adapted for BBC
television. In 2010, Steadman was cast as Madame
Arcati in a revival of Noël Coward's Blithe Spirit, which was
scheduled for a national tour from November 2010 to March 2011. In
2014, Steadman appeared as Madame Raquin in Helen Edmundson's
adaptation of Emile Zola's Therese Raquin.
Steadman has appeared in many films, including P'tang, Yang,
Kipperbang (1982), Champions (1983),
A Private Function (1984), Number
One (1985), Clockwise (1986), Stormy Monday (1988), The Adventures of
Baron Munchausen (1988), Shirley Valentine (1989), Wilt (1989), Life
Is Sweet (1990),
Blame It on the Bellboy
Blame It on the Bellboy (1992), Secrets & Lies
Topsy-Turvy (1999), The Life and Death of Peter Sellers
(2004), Confetti (2006) and
Burn Burn Burn (2015).
Steadman's television work includes
Fat Friends as Betty, Grumpy Old
Women, Stressed Eric, Let Them Eat Cake, The Singing Detective, No
Bananas, The Caucasian Chalk Circle, Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years
as Pauline Mole, opposite
James Bolam in the television film The
Missing Postman, and Pride and Prejudice as Mrs. Bennet. In 1991, she
also appeared as
Edda Göring in
Selling Hitler and as Lauren
Patterson in Gone to the Dogs, which was then followed up by Gone to
Television productions directed by Leigh in which she has appeared
include Nuts in May, Hard Labour and Abigail's Party. She also
appeared in the
BBC comedy The Worst Week of My Life. In 2007 she
featured in the
BBC Wales programme Coming Home about her Welsh family
history, with roots in Trefarclawdd and Ruabon.
In October 2007, Steadman appeared in Fanny Hill on
From May 2007 to January 2010, Steadman starred in the
Gavin & Stacey as Pam Shipman.
Steadman starred with
Myra Frances in Girl, a 1974
BBC play in the
Second City Firsts series, performing the first lesbian kiss on
In 2014 Steadman starred in the first series of the
BBC comedy Boomers
as Joyce. The show returned with a Christmas
Special in 2015 and a
second series in 2016. In 2016, she presented the three part series
Little British Islands with
Alison Steadman on Channel 4. The series
visited Gigha, Jura, Colonsay and Oronsay in episode 1, Jersey,
Alderney and Sark in episode 2, and the Isles of Scilly in episode 3.
In 2018, Steadman made a return to BBC1 with the much anticipated
sitcom comeback of
John Cleese in Hold the Sunset.
On radio, Steadman'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 thirteen episodes, in what can be described as an updated version
Round the Horne comedy sketch show. More recently, since 2002, she
has starred as Mrs Naughtie in the series Hamish and Dougal. In
December 2009, she starred in the late Mike Stott's My Mad Grandad on
BBC Radio 4.
In Manchester in 1972, shooting his television film Hard Labour,
Mike Leigh drove over to
Liverpool to see Ted Whitehead's
play The Foursome, (Steadman was in the
Liverpool Everyman cast). He
asked Steadman to be in his film. "During the preparation of the film,
Mike and Alison, as they both say, 'got together.'" They married
in 1973 and had two sons, Toby (b. February 1978) and Leo (b. August
1981). The couple separated in 1995 and divorced in 2001.
Steadman's present partner is Michael Elwyn;the couple live in
Steadman and other celebrities, including Tom Hiddleston, Jo Brand, E.
L. James and Rachel Riley, designed and signed cards for the UK-based
charity Thomas Coram Foundation for Children. The campaign was
launched by crafting company Stampin' Up! UK and the cards were
auctioned off on eBay during May 2014.
In November 2016, Steadman became an ambassador for London Wildlife
Awards and recognition
1987: Nominated for Best Actress by
BAFTA for The Singing Detective
1992: Awarded Best Actress by the US National Society of Film Critics
for Life Is Sweet
1993: Awarded the Olivier for Best Actress for The Rise and Fall of
1998: Nominated for the Olivier for Best Actress for The Memory of
2000: Invested as Officer of the Order of the British Empire
2001: Nominated for Best Actress by
BAFTA for Fat Friends
^ "The Stage Talk". The Stage. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
^ "Alison Steadman"
Liverpool John Moores University Honorary
Fellowship Award speech July 2010 Archived 16 October 2011 at the
Wayback Machine.. Retrieved 7 June 2011
Alison Steadman Biography (1946-)". www.filmreference.com.
^ Michael Coveney, The World according to Mike Leigh, p.90
^ Bamigboye, Baz (16 July 2010). "From Spooks to a seance". Daily Mail
^ "Theatre Royal Bath - Main House". Theatre Royal Bath.
^ Cavendish, Dominic (8 August 2014). "Thérèse Raquin, Theatre Royal
Bath, review: 'rudimentary'". The Daily Telegraph.
^ "Alison Steadman: Britain's lady-in-waiting", The Sunday Times, 30
^ "My Mad Grandad", BBC, 28 December 2009
^ Coveney, p.90
^ Michael Coveney, p.18
^ Alison Steadman. "The
Alison Steadman Page".
Pandp2.home.comcast.net. Archived from the original on 16 July 2007.
Retrieved 23 May 2012.
^  Archived 11 January 2005 at the Wayback Machine.
Alison Steadman is standing up for London's wildlife as our
latest ambassador". www.wildlondon.org.uk.
Alison Steadman on IMDb
Biodata at Debrett's
Olivier Award for Best Actress
Yvonne Bryceland (1985)
Lindsay Duncan (1986)
Judi Dench (1987)
Fiona Shaw (1989/1990)
Kathryn Hunter (1991)
Juliet Stevenson (1992)
Alison Steadman (1993)
Fiona Shaw (1994)
Clare Higgins (1995)
Judi Dench (1996)
Janet McTeer (1997)
Zoë Wanamaker (1998)
Eileen Atkins (1999)
Janie Dee (2000)
Julie Walters (2001)
Lindsay Duncan (2002)
Clare Higgins (2003)
Eileen Atkins (2004)
Clare Higgins (2005)
Eve Best (2006)
Tamsin Greig (2007)
Kristin Scott Thomas
Kristin Scott Thomas (2008)
Margaret Tyzack (2009)
Rachel Weisz (2010)
Nancy Carroll (2011)
Ruth Wilson (2012)
Helen Mirren (2013)
Lesley Manville (2014)
Penelope Wilton (2015)
Denise Gough (2016)
Billie Piper (2017)
ISNI: 0000 0001 1471 0116
BNF: cb14044166q (data)