Rebecca Front
Born
Rebecca Louise Front

(1964-05-16) 16 May 1964 (age 59)
Alma materSt Hugh's College, Oxford
Occupation(s)Actress, writer, comedian
Years active1991–present
Spouse
Phil Clymer
(m. 1998)
Children2

Rebecca Louise Front (born 16 May 1964) is an English actress, writer and comedian. She won the 2010 BAFTA TV Award for Best Female Comedy Performance for The Thick of It (2009–2012).[1] She is also known for her work in numerous other British comedies, including the radio show On The Hour (1992), The Day Today (1994), Knowing Me, Knowing You… with Alan Partridge (1994), Time Gentlemen Please (2000–2002), sketch show Big Train (2002), and Nighty Night (2004–2005).

Front has also been seen in a number of dramatic roles, including Chief Superintendent Jean Innocent in Lewis (2006–2014), Mrs. Bennet in Death Comes to Pemberley (2013), Mrs. Landau in The Eichmann Show (2015), Vera in Humans (2015), and Death in Paradise (2019). Her theatre credits include the musicals Company and The Fix at the Donmar Warehouse, directed by Sam Mendes.[2]

Early life

Front was born in Stoke Newington, London, to Sheila and Charles Front. Her mother wrote children's books, which her father illustrated.[3] Her father also designed the title-logo on the cover of The Beatles' album Rubber Soul.[4] Her father is Jewish and her mother is of Jewish and Welsh descent.[5][6] Front was brought up in Reform Judaism.[7]

Front became involved in comedy while at St Hugh's College at the University of Oxford,[8] where she read English and became the first female president of The Oxford Revue.[9] She also trained at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art.[8]

Career

While at Oxford in 1984, Front took part in the revue Stop the Weak. The tour played in Oxford itself, the Gate Theatre, Notting Hill, Edinburgh, Salisbury, and Romsey. In 1985, Front teamed up with Sioned Wiliam and Jon Magnusson to take the show The Bobo Girls go BOO to Edinburgh. She made a short promotional video on energy conservation with Michael Simkins in the late 1980s.[citation needed]

Front achieved a higher profile as a result of her work with Stewart Lee and Richard Herring on the radio shows Lionel Nimrod's Inexplicable World and On the Hour, and the television and radio series Fist of Fun. She went on to form a close professional association with Chris Morris, Armando Iannucci, Doon Mackichan and Steve Coogan, who all transferred with Front to The Day Today, the television version of On the Hour. Completing The Day Today were Patrick Marber, who was part of the 1984 Oxford University revue with Front and David Schneider, who took part in the 1985 revue. This cast continued to contribute to the Alan Partridge comedy canon throughout the 1990s.

In recent years[when?] Front has also become a fixture on comedy panel shows on British television and radio including The News Quiz, Have I Got News for You and If I Ruled The World. She has also had minor roles in The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer, Absolute Power and Absolutely Fabulous and she has also played straight acting roles in television drama, including You Can Choose Your Friends, The Rotters' Club, Kavanagh QC, Lewis and Jonathan Creek.

In 2003, she was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy.[citation needed] From 2006, she has written columns for The Guardian. In 2007, she guest-starred in the Doctor Who audio drama The Mind's Eye. Between 2006 until 2014, Front had a recurring role as Chief Superintendent Jean Innocent on the detective drama series Lewis, the successor to Inspector Morse on ITV.

In 2009 and 2012, respectively, she appeared in the third and fourth series of political satire The Thick of It, playing Nicola Murray MP, Secretary of State for Citizenship and Social Affairs and in charge of the dysfunctional 'DoSAC', and later, Leader of the Opposition.[10] Front featured in the 2010 BBC comedy series Grandma's House playing the part of Simon Amstell's mother Tanya,[11] and Just William, as the mother of William Brown and also starred in the 2011 live-action 3D family comedy film Horrid Henry: The Movie as Henry's headmistress, Miss Oddbod.

In 2012 Front starred as the psychiatrist in the Sky Arts sketch series Psychobitches, where Front's character offers therapy to notable women of history and the present day, including Anne Boleyn, Mary Queen of Scots, Mary Shelley, Enid Blyton, Eva Braun, Mary Pickford, Edith Piaf, and Anna Nicole Smith.[12] The series aired on the British television channel Sky Arts 1. The first episode of a second series was broadcast on 25 November 2014.[13] In 2013, she starred in the new Sky Living comedy The Spa, in the role of Alison Crabbe.[14] She plays Cox in The Wrong Mans,[15] a six-part comedy-thriller for BBC Two. The premiere was on 24 September 2013. She reprised this role in December 2014 for a special two-parter. She narrated Fox Wars which was broadcast on 22 October 2013.

In December 2013, Sky Atlantic aired a new comedy series called Little Cracker. The second programme in the series was an autobiographical story written by Front and her brother Jeremy. It concerns the time she witnessed the near-drowning of her father in a lake; that incident was closely followed by the death of her grandfather. The proximity of these two experiences caused Front considerable personal anguish. Front was eleven years old at the time and, because of the trauma she suffered, she went through a period of not wanting to attend school.[citation needed] The programme included a comedic treatment of this time in her life, followed by Front and her brother explaining the background to the story, and how they came to write and dramatise it. In the programme, Front was played by Lucy Hutchinson, and her father was played by the actor Richard Lumsden. Samantha Spiro played her mother and Front played her headmistress, Miss Dyson. Front's school friend character, Karen, was played by Imogen Front.[citation needed]

For their Christmas season, the BBC commissioned Death Comes to Pemberley, a three-part British television drama based on characters created by Jane Austen in her novel Pride and Prejudice. The first episode aired on BBC One at 8.15pm on Boxing Day 2013, was based on the best selling novel by P. D. James, the story returns to the world of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and involves its characters in a new tale of murder and emotional mayhem. Front played the part of Mrs Bennet.

In January 2014, Front appeared in the Midsomer Murders episode "Let Us Prey", about a serial killer who uses medieval torture methods to dispatch their victims.[16] She appeared in the BBC series Outnumbered,[17] playing the headmistress at Karen's school in early 2014. Front portrayed Fiona in the BBC Radio 4 series Love in Recovery. She also starred in the sitcom Up the Women as Helen Bute, the antagonist for three episodes in mid-2013 and a six-episode series in 2015. From 2014 to 2019, she narrated the Channel 4 series The Supervet.[18]

In 2017, she co-wrote and appeared in the sitcom Shush! on BBC Radio 4, a sitcom set in a library.[citation needed]

Personal life

Front is married to Phil Clymer, previously a radio producer at the BBC World Service; they have two children. Front was part of the BBC English/World Service rep company.

Front's book Curious: True Stories and Loose Connections (published 2014) is a collection of autobiographical stories.[19]

Jeremy Front, her brother, is a writer and comic actor. They have collaborated on writing and performance projects. The most recent is a series of spoof documentaries, Incredible Women, for BBC Radio 4.[20]

Filmography

Key
Denotes projects that have not yet been released

Film

Year Title Role Notes
1995 England, My England Mary II
1996 The Office Pru TV film
Never Mind the Horrocks Various roles TV film
Company Sarah TV film
1997 The Missing Postman Sarah Seymour TV film
2002 Promise Land Short film
2003 George Orwell: A Life in Pictures Jura Interviewer TV film
2004 Suzie Gold Barbara Gold
2005 Colour Me Kubrick Maureen
2006 This Is Genius: Lucas Wilson III Guinevere Wilson TV film
2007 You Can Choose Your Friends Amanda Snell TV film
Giles Wemmbley-Hogg Goes Off.... to Glastonbury Narrator TV film
2008 Shush Alice TV film
2009 Planet 51 Various roles Voice only
2011 Horrid Henry: The Movie Ms Oddbod
2015 The Eichmann Show Mrs. Landau TV film
Valentina's Dream Valentina Tereshkova Short film
2016 Billionaire Boy Miss Sharp TV film
Grimsby Lady at Worldcure Event
2017 Comic Relief Hecklers Anonymous Martha Hopkins TV film
Transformers: The Last Knight Aunt Marie
Edmund the Magnificent Shopkeeper Short film
2018 Down a Dark Hall Mrs. Olonsky
2019 The Aeronauts Aunt Frances
2020 Marionette Maureen
2021 Hitman's Wife's Bodyguard Therapist
2022 Batgirl Cancelled

Television

Year Title Role Notes
1990 Up Yer News TV short
1991 Tricky Business Debbie Recurring role; 3 episodes
1992 Dizzy Heights Recurring role; 2 episodes
1993 Saturday Zoo Various roles Series 1, Episode 2
Noel's House Party TV Assistant Series 2, Episode 16
The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer Suzanne Episode: "Water"
1994 Paris Madame Trombaut Episode: "Les Gimmiques"
The Day Today Various roles Series regular, 7 episodes
1994–95 Knowing Me Knowing You with Alan Partridge Various roles Series regular; 8 episodes
1995 Absolutely Fabulous Cherysh Episode: "Happy New Year"
Coogan's Run WPC Cathy Briggs Episode: "Natural Born Quizzers"
1995–96 Fist of Fun Various roles Recurring role; 4 episodes
1996–97 Roger and the Rottentrolls Rottentroll Recurring role; 9 episodes
1997 Have Your Cake and Eat It Claire Gray Miniseries; 4 episodes
1998 In the Red Beth Parsons Miniseries; 3 episodes
1998–99 Kavanagh QC Cathy Winslow Recurring role; 4 episodes
1998–2000 Stressed Eric Liz Series regular; 13 episodes
1999 Sermon from St. Albion's Cherie Blair Series 2, Episode 1
People Like Us Nicola Broadbent Episode: "The Solicitor"
Jonathan Creek Heidi Episode; "The Eyes of Tiresias"
2000–02 Time Gentlemen Please Vicky Jackson Series regular; 31 episodes
2002 Big Train Various roles Series regular; 6 episodes
I'm Alan Partridge Tessa McPherson Episode: "Alan Wide Shut"
2003 Eyes Down Marjorie Episode: "The Clairvoyant"
Monkey Dust Various roles Series 2, Episode 2
Absolute Power Joanne Standing Episode: "Tory Women"
2004–05 Nighty Night Cathy Cole Series regular; 12 episodes[21]
2004–06 The Catherine Tate Show Narrator Recurring role; 9 episodes
2005 The Rotters' Club Sheila Trotter Miniseries; 3 episodes
Monkey Trousers Various roles Series 1, Episode 2
The Comic Strip Present... Carol Episode: "Sex Actually"
2006–2014 Lewis Chief Superintendent Jean Innocent Series regular; 36 episodes
2008 Love Soup Catherine Sumpter Episode: "Smoke and Shadows"
2009 Al Murray's Multiple Personality Disorder Chief Inspector Series 1, Episode 1
2009–2012 The Thick of It Nicola Murray Series regular; 13 episodes
2010 Just William Mrs. Brown Series regular; 4 episodes
2010–12 Grandma's House Tanya Series regular; 12 episodes
2011 New Tricks Bea Mackenna Episode: "The Gentleman Vanishes"
Mr Blue Sky Jacqui Easter Recurring role; 4 episodes
2012 Playhouse Presents The Therapist Episode: "Psychobitches"
Little Crackers Miss Dyson Episode: "Rebecca Front's Little Cracker: Rainy Days and Mondays"
2012–14 Psychobitches The Therapist Series regular; 12 episodes
2013 Agatha Christie's Poirot Miss Brewis Episode: "Dead Man's Folly"
The Spa Alison Series regular; 8 episodes
Death Comes to Pemberley Mrs. Bennett Miniseries; 2 episodes
2013–14 The Wrong Mans Cox Recurring role; 5 episodes
2013–15 Up the Women Helen Series regular; 9 episodes
2014 Midsomer Murders Reverend Martha Hillcott Episode: "Let Us Pray"
Outnumbered Mrs. Raynott Episode: "Communication Skills"
2015 Drunk History Queen Victoria Episode: King Henry VIII/Queen Victoria & Prince Albert/The Black Death
Mr. Bean: Funeral Mourner TV short
Humans Vera Series regular; 7 episodes
Doctor Who Walsh Episode: "The Zygon Invasion"
2016 War & Peace Anna Mikhaylovna Drubetskaya Series regular; 6 episodes
Mid Morning Matters with Alan Partridge Caller Recurring role; 2 episodes
Doctor Thorne Lady Arabella Gresham Miniseries; 4 episodes
2017 Queers Alice Episode: "Missing Alice"
Love, Lies and Records Judy Series regular; 6 episodes
2017–2022 The Other One Tess Walcott Series regular; 9 episodes
2018-19 Poldark Lady Whitworth Recurring role; 6 episodes
2019 Death in Paradise Fiona Tait Episode: "Murder on the Honore Express"
Dark Money Cheryl Denon Miniseries; 4 episodes
2020–22 Avenue 5 Karen Kelly Series regular; 18 episodes
2021 Grantchester Reeny McArthur Series 6, Episode 3
2022 The Chelsea Detective Diana Hopkinson Episode: "The Gentle Giant"

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result
2010 BAFTA TV Awards Best Female Comedy Performance The Thick of It Won
Broadcasting Press Guild Awards Best Actress The Thick of It Nominated
Golden Nymph Awards Outstanding Actress - Comedy Series The Thick of It Nominated
2012 British Comedy Awards Best TV Comedy Actress The Thick of It Won
2014 RTS Television Awards Comedy Performance Psychobitches Nominated

References

  1. ^ Jennifer Lipman "Bafta for Jewish actress Rebecca Front", The Jewish Chronicle. 7 June 2010
  2. ^ "Rebecca Front Theatre Credits and Profile". www.abouttheartists.com.
  3. ^ Saner, Emine (10 February 2020). "Rebecca Front: 'I'd love to do Shakespeare – or be the next Bond!'". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  4. ^ "BBC Two – My Life in Books, Series 1, Sir Trevor McDonald and Rebecca Front". Bbc.co.uk. 10 May 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  5. ^ "Actress Rebecca Front on her new book Curious". Western Daily Press. Archived from the original on 14 June 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  6. ^ Booth, Hannah (28 April 2012). "Rebecca Front: My family values". The Guardian. London.
  7. ^ Lipman, Jennifer (7 June 2010). "Bafta for Jewish actress Rebecca Front". The Jewish Chronicle. London.
  8. ^ a b James Rampton (2 August 1997). "Life on the front line". The Independent. London.
  9. ^ "Rebecca Front". Hachette Book Group. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  10. ^ Ian Burrell, "Strictly no dancing on a channel that’s serious about scientists" in The Independent. 27-04-09
  11. ^ Renshaw, David (12 September 2013). "Grandma's House – box set review". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  12. ^ "Psychobitches". comedy.co.uk. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  13. ^ "Psychobitches series two: Anna Nicole Smith, Elizabeth I, Audrey Hepburn and more – exclusive trailer". the Guardian. 24 October 2014. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  14. ^ "The Spa: Meet The Characters". 16 January 2013. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  15. ^ "Cast announced for The Wrong Mans on BBC Two". BBC. 28 January 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  16. ^ "Midsomer Murders". itv.com. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  17. ^ Susanna Lazarus. "Hugh Dennis, Claire Skinner, Tyger Drew-Honey, Daniel Roche and Ramona Marquez all return for series five of Outnumbered". RadioTimes. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  18. ^ "Rebecca Front on Twitter".
  19. ^ "Curious by Rebecca Front". Orion Books. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  20. ^ "Incredible Women – Radio 4 Comedy Drama – British Comedy Guide". Comedy.co.uk. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  21. ^ Renshaw, David (13 November 2014). "Nighty Night box set review – a viciously funny, downright cruel comedy". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 February 2020.