|Born||26 August 1946|
(m. 1973; div. 2001)
Steadman's voice (0:10) recorded 2012, as part of an audio description of the pelicans in St James's Park for VocalEyes
Alison Steadman(born 26 August 1946) is an English actress. She received the 1991 National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress for the 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 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 (1976) and Abigail's Party (1977). She received BAFTA TV Award nominations for the 1986 BBC serial The Singing Detective and in 2001 for the ITV drama series Fat Friends (2000–2005). Other television roles include Pride and Prejudice (1995), Gavin & Stacey (2007–2010, 2019) and Orphan Black (2015–2016). Her other film appearances include A Private Function (1984), Topsy-Turvy (1999), The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004), Dad's Army (2016) and The King's Man (2021).
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, at which she secured a place in the autumn of 1966 and where she met Mike Leigh during her second year.
Having left the East 15 Acting School in Loughton, Essex, Steadman worked in various regional repertory theatres, starting at Lincoln in 1968, where her first role was the 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 played Madame Arcati in a revival of Noël Coward's Blithe Spirit. In 2014 Steadman appeared as Madame Raquin in Helen Edmundson's adaptation of Emile Zola's Thérèse 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 (1992), Secrets & Lies (1996), Topsy-Turvy (1999), The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004), Confetti (2006), Burn Burn Burn (2015) and 23 Walks (2020).
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 Seed.
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 BBC Four.
From May 2007 to January 2010 Steadman starred in the BBC comedy Gavin & Stacey as Pam Shipman. She returned in the role in the 2019 Christmas special. She appeared in Lewis as the Reverend Martha Steadman in ‘Intelligent Design’ in 2013.
Steadman starred with Myra Frances in Girl, a 1974 BBC play in the Second City Firsts series, performing the first lesbian kiss on British television.
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 2016 she appeared as Abigail in the Midsomer Murders episode ‘The incident at Cooper Hill’.
In 2018 Steadman made a return to BBC1 with John Cleese in Hold the Sunset. On 9 December 2018 Steadman appeared in the BBC1 Drama ‘Care’ in the role of Mary.
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 the second and third of these 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 13 episodes of the UK radio show The Show with No Name, which can be described as an updated version of Round the Horne comedy sketch show. Later, from 2002, she starred as Mrs Naughtie in the series Hamish and Dougal. Steadman had a spell in Roy Hudd's long-running comedy show The News Huddlines in the early to mid 1980s. In December 2009 she starred in Mike Stott's My Mad Grandad on BBC Radio 4. From 2012 she played Ginny Fox, a parody of Virginia Woolf, in the sitcom Gloomsbury. In 2018 she made a guest appearance in Radio 4's The Archers as Olwen, a friend of Jill Archer.
In 1972 director Mike Leigh drove to Liverpool to see Ted Whitehead's play The Foursome, which featured Steadman. He asked her to be in his film Hard Labour, during which, both said, they "got together". They married in 1973 and had two sons, Toby (b. 1978) and Leo (b. 1981). The couple lived with their sons in Wood Green, London. They separated in 1995 and divorced in 2001.
Steadman's partner is actor Michael Elwyn. The couple live in Highgate, London.
She is a birdwatcher and in November 2016 became an ambassador for London Wildlife Trust.
|1975||Nuts in May||Candice Marie||TV film|
|1977||Abigail's Party||Beverly||TV film|
|1980||Moving Pictures||Mrs. Arnolfini||TV film|
|1982||P'tang, Yang, Kipperbang||Miss Land||TV film|
|1983||Tartuffe, or the Impostor||Elmire||TV film|
|A Private Function||Mrs. Allardyce|
|Number One||Doreen||TV film|
|1985||The Caucasian Chalk Circle||Kato/Natella/Aniko||TV film|
|1987||The Finding||Mum||TV film|
|1988||Coming Through||Kate||TV film|
|The Adventures of Baron Munchausen||Daisy|
|1990||Life Is Sweet||Wendy|
|1992||Blame It on the Bellboy||Rosemary Horton|
|1996||Secrets & Lies||Dog Owner|
|The Snow Queen's Revenge||Pearl||Voice role|
|1997||The Missing Postman||Christine Peacock||TV film|
|The Ugly Duckling||The Hen||Voice role|
|Happy Now?||Bronwyn Race|
|2003||Philip Larkin: Love and Death in Hull||Narrator||Voice role|
|Hans Christian Andersen: My Life as a Fairytale||Mrs. Meisling|
|2004||Bosom Pals||Joan||TV film, voice role|
|The Life and Death of Peter Sellers||Casting Agent||TV film|
|Loony in the Woods||Crazy Butcher|
|2007||The Dinner Party||Juliet||TV film|
|Who Gets the Dog?||Jenny Evans||TV film|
|2010||Come Rain Come Shine||Dora Mitchell||TV film|
|2015||Burn Burn Burn||Diana|
|2016||Dad's Army||Mrs. Fox|
|2017||We Can Be Heroes||Granny Evans|
|Roald & Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse||Dora||TV film|
|2021||The King's Man||Rita|
|1971||Bel Ami||Fencer||Episode: "Madeleine"|
|1973||Z-Cars||WPC Bayliss||2 episodes|
|1973–1974||Frost's Weekly||Various roles||Series regular|
|1973–1981||Play for Today||Various roles||Series regular|
|1974||Crown Court||Mary Chatham||Episode: "Good and Faithful Friends: Part 1"|
|Second City Firsts||Jackie||Episode: "Girl"|
|1975||Helen||Episode: "Early to Bed"|
|Tarbuck and All That!||Series regular|
|Oil Strike North||Paula Webber||Episode: "First Lion"|
|The Wackers||Bernadette Clarkson||Series regular|
|1976||Crown Court||Cheryl Baker||Episode: "Scard: Part 1"|
|Red Letter Day||Margaret Hudson||Episode: "Bag of Yeast"|
|1977||Esther Waters||Sarah||3 episodes|
|1978||ITV Playhouse||Norma Hardy||Episode: "Ten Days That Shook the Branch"|
|1979||Two's Company||Pamela||Episode: "The Silence"|
|1986||The Singing Detective||Mrs. Lili Marlow||Mini-series|
|In Sickness and in Health||Mother||Episode: "Christmas Special"|
|1989||Screen Two||Brenda Ogdon||Episode: "Virtuoso"|
|The Jim Henson Hour||Perriwinkle||Episode: "Monster Maker"|
|Screenplay||Marjorie||Episode: "A Small Mourning"|
|1990||Screen One||Jackie Johns||Episode: "News Hounds"|
|1991||Selling Hitler||Edda Goering||Mini-series|
|Gone to the Dogs||Lauren Patterson||Mini-series|
|1992||Gone to Seed||Hilda||Series regular, 6 episodes|
|1994||The Wimbledon Poisoner||Elinor Farr||Mini-series, 2 episodes|
|1995||Kavanagh QC||Evelyn Marie Kendall||Episode: "Nothing But the Truth"|
|Pride and Prejudice||Mrs. Bennet||Mini-series, 6 episodes|
|Coogan's Run||Annette||Episode: "The Curator"|
|1995–1998||Crapston Villas||Marge Stenson||Series regular|
|1996||Karaoke||Mrs. Haynes||2 episodes|
|Cold Lazarus||Mrs. Haynes||1 episode|
|No Bananas||Evelyn Hamilton||Series regular|
|1998–2000||Stressed Eric||Mrs. Perfect||Series regular, voice role|
|1999||Let Them Eat Cake||Madame de Plonge||4 episodes|
|2000–2005||Fat Friends||Betty Simpson||Series regular|
|2001||Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years||Pauline Mole||Series regular|
|2002||Celeb||Grandma||Episode: "The Love Child"|
|2003||Lenny Henry in Pieces||4 episodes|
|2004||Dalziel and Pascoe||Marion Mattis||Episode: "Soft Touch"|
|2004–2005||The Lenny Henry Show||Mrs. Twelvetrees||2 episodes|
|2004–2006||The Worst Week of My Life||Angela Cook||Series regular, 17 episodes|
|2005||Twisted Tales||Margery Faversham||Episode: "Fruitcake of the Living Dead"|
|Bob the Builder||The Mayoress||Episode: "Bob's Big Plan"|
|2007||The Last Detective||Karen Horner||Episode: "The Man from Montevideo"|
|Agatha Christie's Marple||Kirsten Lindstrom||Episode: "Ordeal by Innocence"|
|Fanny Hill||Mrs. Brown||2 episodes|
|The Omid Djalili Show||Mrs. Dashett||1 episode|
|2007–2010, 2019||Gavin & Stacey||Pamela Shipman||Series regular|
|2012||Playhouse Presents||Tina||Episode: "King of the Teds"|
|Inspector George Gently||Esther Dunwoody||Episode: "The Lost Child"|
|Little Crackers||2 episodes|
|2013||Lewis||Rev. Martha Seager||Episode: "Intelligent Design"|
|The Syndicate||Rose Wilson||Series regular|
|Love and Marriage||Pauline Paradise||Series regular|
|2014||The Great War: The People's Story||Hallie Miles||3 episodes, documentary|
|The Secrets||Angela||Episode: "The Dilemma"|
|2015||Inside No. 9||Madam Talbot||Episode: "Seance Time"|
|2015–2016||Orphan Black||Kendall Malone||5 episodes|
|2016||Midsomer Murders||Abigail Tonev||Episode: "The Incident at Cooper Hill"|
|Yonderland||Barbara Maddox||Episode: "It's The Thought That Counts"|
|Comedy Playhouse||Brenda||Episode: "Broken Biscuits"|
|We Have Been Watching||Narrator||Series regular|
|Yours Faithfully Edna Welthorpe (Mrs)||Edna Welthorpe||Short|
|The Reluctant Landlord||Debbie||Episode: "Mama's Boy"|
|2018–2019||Hold the Sunset||Edith||Series regular|
|2019||Moominvalley||Emma the Stage Rat||Voice; 2 episodes|
|2020||Life||Gail Reynolds||Series regular|
|2020||Roald & Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse||Dora|
|2020||Pandemonium||Sue||BBC One comedy|
|2022||Rules Of The Game||Anita Jenkins||TV mini-series|
|2022||Here We Go||Sue||BBC One comedy|
|1987||The Singing Detective||BAFTA TV Award||Best Actress||Nominated|
|1991||Life Is Sweet||Taormina International Film Festival||Golden Mask||Won|
|1992||Life Is Sweet||National Society of Film Critics Awards||Best Actress||Won|
|1993||The Rise and Fall of Little Voice||Olivier Award||Best Actress||Won|
|1996||Pride and Prejudice||CableACE Award||Supporting Actress in a Movie or Miniseries||Nominated|
|1998||The Memory of Water||Olivier Award||Best Actress||Nominated|
|2001||Fat Friends||BAFTA TV Award||Best Actress||Nominated|
|2016||N/A||British Independent Film Award||Richard Harris Award||Won|