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Joanna Scanlan

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Joanna Scanlan
Born (1961-10-27) 27 October 1961 (age 59)
  • Actress
  • screenwriter
Years active1997–present

Joanna Scanlan (born 27 October 1961) is an English actress and screenwriter. She is known for her roles in British television series such as The Thick of It (2005–2012),[1] Getting On (2009–2012), Puppy Love (2014), and No Offence (2015–present). She was nominated for three BAFTA TV Awards for Getting On, including two for Best Writing. Her film appearances include Girl With a Pearl Earring (2003), Notes on a Scandal (2006), The Invisible Woman (2013), and Bridget Jones's Baby (2016).[2]

Early life

Scanlan was born on 27 October 1961 in West Kirby, Cheshire, the daughter of hoteliers Michael and Patricia Scanlan. She moved to North Wales with her parents at the age of three, and her parents later bought the Castle Hotel in Ruthin.[3] She attended Brigidine Convent and Howell's School in Denbigh, as well as New Hall School in Chelmsford, Essex. She studied history at Queens' College, Cambridge and joined the Cambridge Footlights, where she became friends with Tilda Swinton.[4]


After graduation, Scanlan joined the academic staff of Leicester Polytechnic lecturing in drama for five years, before she undertook a similar role at the Arts Council of Great Britain for three years.[5] After the Arts Council of Great Britain was split in 1994, at age 34 Scanlan decided to try becoming a professional actor, quickly gaining the role as a nurse in ITV1's Peak Practice. This formed some what of a theme in her early career, then playing a midwife in The Other Boleyn Girl with Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson, before playing a nurse again alongside Ade Edmondson's doctor in ill-fated Doctors and Nurses, and latterly Dr Diana Dibbs in Doc Martin with Martin Clunes.[6]

Scanlan is known for her portrayal of Terri Coverley, the notoriously useless senior press officer for the Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship in the British comedy television series The Thick of It from 2005–2012.

Among her successes is Scanlan's critically acclaimed dark satirical NHS drama Getting On, which she starred and co-wrote with Jo Brand and Vicki Pepperdine. The series earned her a BAFTA nomination for 'Best Female Performance in a Comedy' and a BAFTA Television Craft nomination for screenwriting in both 2011 and 2013.[7] They were also nominated for 'Best Comedy Screenwriting' at The Royal Television Awards in 2010[8] and 'Best Comedy' at the South Bank Sky Arts Awards in 2011. The comedy series was adapted for an American audience with HBO, with Scanlan onboard as an executive producer to closely work on script development. Scanlan was a guest star in the American version, reprising her role as 'Denise Flixter'. The Emmy-nominated show ran for three seasons between 2013–2015.

Scanlan and Vicki Pepperdine teamed up again to write and star in their BBC Four comedy series Puppy Love, which follows two women at their dog training classes on the Wirral. Under their production company George and George Co., they are currently adapting Puppy Love with HBO for America and have a new sitcom This Land is Ours[9] in development for US Network IFC.

Scanlan plays lead character DI Inspector 'Viv Deering' in Paul Abbott's BAFTA nominated and RTS award-winning primetime drama, No Offence.

Scanlan returned to the big screen as Cathy in Bridget Jones's Baby.

Other film credits include Charles Dickens' wife in The Invisible Woman and roles in Get Santa, Testament of Youth, In the Loop, The Bad Education Movie, The Other Boleyn Girl, Stardust, Notes on a Scandal, Girl With A Pearl Earring, and Kinky Boots.

Additional television credits include Death Comes To Pemberley, Fungus the Bogeyman, Mapp and Lucia, Heading Out, Stella, Doc Martin, and Spaced.

On stage, Scanlan has worked with Thea Starrock in her production of Cloud 9 at the Almeida Theatre and Top Girls, with Rufus Norris in Vernon God Little at The Young Vic, and featured in Polly Teale's Madame Bovery.

Personal life

Scanlan and her husband (Neil) live in South Croydon, London.[10]



Year Title Role
2003 Girl with a Pearl Earring Tanneke
2005 A Little Trip to Heaven Josie
2005 Kinky Boots Trish
2006 Notes on a Scandal Sue Hodge
2007 Stardust Mormo
2007 Grow Your Own Barbara
2008 The Other Boleyn Girl Mary's Midwife
2009 In the Loop Roz
2011 Hot Hot Hot Mary-Ann
2013 The Invisible Woman Catherine Dickens
2014 Get Santa Ruth
2014 Testament of Youth Aunt Belle
2015 The Bad Education Movie Susan Poulter
2016 How to Talk to Girls at Parties Marion
2016 Bridget Jones' Baby Cathy
2017 Tulip Fever Mrs. Overvalt
2018 Pin Cushion Lyn
2019 How to Build a Girl Mrs. Belling


Year Title Role Notes
1997 Jane Eyre Bessie
2000 Spaced Tina
2000 Coming Soon Claudia
2001 My Family Dental Assistant
2001 Fun at the Funeral Parlour Mrs Marion Boubes
2005–2012 The Thick of It Terri Coverley Main role
2009 Home Time Mrs Pitman
2009–2012 Getting On Sister Den Flixster Also written by Scanlan
2011 Doc Martin Dr Diana Dibbs
2012 Stella Nancy
2013 Heading Out Toria
2013 Death Comes To Pemberley Mrs Reynolds
2013–2014 Big School Mrs Janine Klebb
2014 Puppy Love Nana V Main Role
2014 The Killings of Copenhagen Clara Trout
2014 Rev. Jill Mallory
2014 Mapp and Lucia Ursula "Ursy" Pillson
2015 Fungus the Bogeyman Mildrew
2015–2018 No Offence DI Vivienne Deering Main role
2016 Hooten & the Lady Penny McQuinn
2017 Requiem Janice Gray Main role
2017 Philip K. Dick's Electric Dreams Su
2018 Sally4Ever Stella
2018 The Woman in White Mrs Vesey
2018–present Hold the Sunset Sandra 2 series
2019 The Accident Angela Griffiths
2020–present Dracula Mother Superior
2020 McDonald & Dodds Kelly Mulcreevy 1 episode


  1. ^ BBC Comedy Blog: The Thick of It's Joanna Scanlan on playing Terri
  2. ^ Joanna Scanlan, one of Britain's great comic actors
  3. ^ Womensfilmandtelevisionhistory (7 March 2014). "Joanna Scanlan and the Invisibility of Women".
  4. ^ Saner, Emine (27 January 2014). "Joanna Scanlan: 'Depression was like turning around a liner across the ocean'". Retrieved 23 June 2015.
  5. ^ Veronica Lee (10 February 2013). "Joanna Scanlan: From bumbling Whitehall press officer in The Thick of It to lifestyle coach in Heading Out". The Independent. Retrieved 11 March 2013.
  6. ^ "BBC – Press Office – The Thick Of It Joanna Scanlan biography".
  7. ^ "Television Awards Winners in 2010". BAFTA. Archived from the original on 30 May 2010. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  8. ^ "RTS Programme Awards 2009". Royal Television Society. Archived from the original on 22 June 2010. Retrieved 6 June 2010.
  9. ^ "Getting On stars create new American sitcom This Land is Ours". British Comedy Guide. 22 April 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2017.
  10. ^ Mance, Henry (25 November 2015). "interview: Joanna Scanlan, one of Britain's great comic actors". Financial Times. Retrieved 21 November 2019.

External links

This page was last edited on 8 January 2021, at 09:33
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