Tamsin Greig
Greig in 2010
Tamsin Margaret Mary Greig

(1966-07-12) 12 July 1966 (age 57)[1]
Maidstone, Kent, England
Other namesTamsin Leaf
Alma materUniversity of Birmingham (BA)
Years active1990–present
(m. 1997)

Tamsin Margaret Mary Greig (/ˈtæmzɪn ˈɡrɛɡ/; born 12 July 1966) is a British actress. She is known for both dramatic and comedic roles. She played Fran Katzenjammer in the Channel 4 sitcom Black Books, Dr Caroline Todd in the Channel 4 sitcom Green Wing, Beverly Lincoln in British-American sitcom Episodes and Jackie Goodman in the Channel 4 sitcom Friday Night Dinner. Other roles include Alice Chenery in BBC One's comedy-drama series 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. In 2020, Greig starred as Anne Trenchard in Julian Fellowes' ITV series Belgravia.

Greig is also a stage actress. She won a Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in 2007 for Much Ado About Nothing, and was nominated 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 (1906–1998), worked as a colour chemist creating dyes, and her mother, Ann (1933–2001), was enthusiastic about amateur dramatics.[3] There was a 27-year age gap between her parents, with her father being 60 years old when Greig was born.[4][5][6] Her maternal grandfather was a Polish Jew. The family moved to Kilburn when she was three.

She went to Malorees Junior School, followed by Camden School for Girls later graduating with a first-class BA in Drama and Theatre Arts from the University of Birmingham in 1988.[7][8] After graduating, she worked at the Family Planning Association and continued doing temporary work until 1996.[8] She also spent some time at a secretarial college.[9]



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.[10][11]

Her other radio work includes narrating the Radio 4 comedy Warhorses of Letters,[12] 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).[13] 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.[14]

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.[15] 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.[16] In May 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.[17] 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.[18]

In 2011, she starred in the BBC/Showtime sitcom Episodes, alongside Matt LeBlanc and Green Wing co-star Stephen Mangan.[19] 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 Jackie Goodman, the mother of a North London Jewish family.

She played Beth in the 2012 BBC series White Heat. She is also the lead in The Guilty in the three-part series on ITV in 2013, playing DCI Maggie Brand who investigates the death of a young child who went missing five years previously. [20] 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 seven-episode fifth season, still starring Greig alongside Stephen Mangan and Matt LeBlanc, was filmed in London.[21]

Greig narrated the sixth series of The Secret Life of the Zoo, taking over from Olivia Colman, in 2018.

Greig has received three BAFTA nominations for her TV work. She was nominated for Best Comedy Performance for Green Wing in 2005, and for Best Female Comedy Performance for Friday Night Dinner in 2012 and Episodes in 2015.


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,[22] and Constance in King John, as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company's The Complete Works season. Whilst the win itself was a surprise,[23] her acceptance speech was received very well as being highly entertaining,[24] 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".[25] 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,[26] and was nominated for "The FRANCO'S Best Actress in a Play" in the Whatsonstage Theatregoers' Choice Awards.[27][28]

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.[29][30] The play won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy in 2009.[31] 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.[32] Greig starred in The Little Dog Laughed by Douglas Carter Beane at the Garrick Theatre in London, which ran 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.[33] Her performance as Diane in The Little Dog Laughed garnered her a second Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress.[34] In October 2011 she was Hilary, the central character, in Jumpy at the Royal Court, London.,[35] 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 Women on 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. In February 2017 she returned to the Royal National Theatre to play Malvolia in a new production of Twelfth Night at the Olivier Theatre.[36] As a Labour constituency agent spanning a period of 27 years, she gave a "polished ... magnificent" performance in James Graham's Labour of Love at the Noël Coward Theatre, London, in October 2017.[37]


Greig made a cameo appearance in the 2004 comedy Shaun of the Dead. She starred with Richard E. Grant in the 2009 film Cuckoo,[38] and with Roger Allam and Gemma Arterton in Tamara Drewe (2010). The latter role earned Greig a British Independent Film Awards nomination for Best Supporting Actress. She co-starred in 2015's comedy-drama The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and in the 2016 release of Breaking the Bank, opposite Kelsey Grammer.

Personal life

As of 2011 Greig lived in a flat in Kensal Green, having moved back to the area in 1996 to be with her dying father. She became a Christian at this time, despite being brought up as an atheist.[11] Greig is also a vegetarian.[39]

Since 1997 she has been married to actor Richard Leaf, whom she met at a wrap party of Neil Gaiman's 1996 miniseries Neverwhere,[5] and has three children.[40][41]

She is a supporter of the National Health Service, giving her backing to a rally organised by pro-NHS protest group NHS Together.[42] She also supports more practical teaching of Shakespeare in British schools, supporting the RSC's "Stand Up For Shakespeare" manifesto.[43] Greig was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to the 2014 referendum on that issue.[44]



Year Title Role Notes
1997 So This is Romance? Carmen
2002 Miranda Receptionist
2002 Pure Liaison Officer
2004 Shaun of the Dead Maggie
2008 Captain Eager and the Mark of Voth Jenny
2009 Cuckoo Simon
2010 Tamara Drewe Beth Hardiment
2014 Breaking the Bank Penelope
2015 The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel Lavinia Beech
2019 Official Secrets Elizabeth Wilmshurst
2020 Days of the Bagnold Summer Astrid
2023 My Happy Ending Nancy


Year Title Role Notes
1994 Blue Heaven Prof. Wiseman 1 episode
1996 Neverwhere Lamia 3 episodes
Faith in the Future Emma 1 episode
1997 Wycliffe Dr. Hinkley 1 episode
1997–1998 Blind Men Valerie Marsden 6 episodes
1998 The Great Egyptians Cleopatra TV Miniseries documentary
1999–2001 People Like Us Jenny/Sarah 2 episodes
2000–2004 Black Books Fran Main Role
2001 High Stakes Delphina 1 episode
Happiness Emma 3 episodes
World of Pub Julia Robbins 1 episode
2002 Falling Apart Jackie TV movie
2003 Jonathan Creek Pam 1 episode
Ready When You Are, Mr. McGill Liane TV movie
2004 The Lenny Henry Show various 1 episode
When I'm 64 Denny TV movies
2005 Doctor Who Nurse Episode: "The Long Game"
2004–2006 Green Wing Dr. Caroline Todd Main role
2005–2008 Love Soup Alice Chenery
2009 The Diary of Anne Frank Edith Frank Miniseries
Emma Miss Bates TV serial
2010 Masterpiece Classic Edith Frank 1 episode
Terry Pratchett's Going Postal Miss Cripslock TV miniseries
2011 White Heat Beth Pew TV miniseries, 6 episodes
2011–2017 Episodes Beverly Lincoln Main role
2011–2020 Friday Night Dinner Jackie Goodman
2013 The Guilty DCI Maggie Brand
2014 Inside No. 9 Sally Episode: 'Last Gasp'
2015 Royal Cousins at War Narrator 2 episodes
Crackanory Storyteller 1 episode, "Bob's House"
2016 Behold the Monkey Narrator TV film
Revolting Rhymes Babysitter/Miss Maclahose/Grandma


TV film
2017 Diana and I Mary McDonald TV film
2018–2021 The Secret Life of the Zoo Narrator Series 6–10
2018 To Provide All People GP TV film
2019 Elementary DCI Athelney Jones 1 episode[45]
The Tiger Who Came to Tea Mummy (voice) TV short
2020–present Love Monster Narrator 54 episodes
2020 Belgravia Anne Trenchard Lead Role – TV Series
Talking Heads Rosemary Horrocks Episode: "Nights in the Gardens of Spain"
2021 Romeo and Juliet Lady Capulet Television film
Friday Night Dinner: 10 Years and A Lovely Bit of Squirrel Self TV documentary
The Amazing Mr Blunden Mrs Wickens Television film
2024 Sexy Beast Cecilia Main cast


Year Title Role Notes
2006 King John Constance Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC)
2006–2007 Much Ado About Nothing Beatrice
2008 God Of Carnage Anette Gielgud Theatre, West End
Gethsemane Meredith National Theatre, London
2010 The Little Dog Laughed Diane Garrick Theatre, West End
2011 Jumpy Hilary Royal Court Theatre, Duke of York's Theatre
2013 Longing Varia Hampstead Theatre
2015 Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown Pepa Marcos Playhouse Theatre, West End
2016 The Intelligent Homosexual's Guide to Capitalism and Socialism with a Key to the Scriptures Empty Hampstead Theatre
2017 Twelfth Night Malvolia National Theatre, London
Labour of Love Jean Whittaker Noël Coward Theatre, West End
2018 Pinter 3: Landscape/A Kind of Alaska Beth/Deborah Harold Pinter Theatre, West End
2020 Talking Heads Live: Nights in the Garden of Spain Rosemary Bridge Theatre
2021 Peggy For You Peggy Ramsay Hampstead Theatre


Year Title Role Notes
2012 The Minister of Chance The Sage of the Waves

Awards and nominations

This section needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources in this section. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.Find sources: "Tamsin Greig" – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (February 2024) (Learn how and when to remove this template message)
Year Award Category Nominated work Result
2005 British Comedy Awards Best TV Comedy Actress Green Wing, Love Soup Nominated
Royal Television Society Awards Best Comedy Performance Green Wing Won
British Academy Television Awards Best Comedy Performance Nominated
2006 British Comedy Awards Best TV Comedy Actress Nominated
Critics’ Circle Theatre Awards Best Shakespearean Performance Much Ado About Nothing Won
2007 Olivier Awards Best Actress Won
2008 Monte-Carlo Television Festival Golden Nymph – Outstanding Actress in a Comedy Series Love Soup Nominated
2010 British Independent Film Awards Best Supporting Actress Tamara Drewe Nominated
2011 Olivier Awards Best Actress The Little Dog Laughed Nominated
WhatsOnStage Awards Best Supporting Actress Won
British Comedy Awards Best TV Comedy Actress Friday Night Dinner Nominated
2012 British Academy Television Awards Best Female Comedy Performance Nominated
2015 Episodes Nominated
Olivier Awards Best Actress Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown Nominated


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