Tamsin Greig
Tamsin Greig.jpg
Born Tamsin Greig
23 February 1967 (1967-02-23) (age 50)
Camden, London, England
Other name(s) Tamsin Leaf
Occupation Actress
Spouse(s) Richard Leaf

Tamsin Greig (pronounced /ˈtæmzɪn ˈɡrɛɡ/) (born 23 February, 1967)[1] is an Olivier Award-winning British actress. She is known for two Channel 4 television comedy parts: Fran Katzenjammer in Black Books and Dr. Caroline Todd in Green Wing. Other notable roles include Alice Chenery in BBC One's comedy drama Love Soup and Debbie Aldridge in BBC Radio 4's soap opera The Archers.



Greig has had a long-running part as Debbie Aldridge in the BBC Radio 4 soap opera The Archers since 1991. Due to her other work she is not in the show all the time and her character Debbie spends most of her time living in Hungary.

Greig is also known for her comedy roles. She later guest-starred in five episodes of the second series in the radio version of Absolute Power, playing Gayle Shand, a rival to Prentiss McCabe and Charles Prentiss's former lover. Her comedy roles do pose problems for Greig, who has admitted that she has problems with corpsing.[2]


One of Greig's first television appearances was in an insurance advert three weeks before giving birth to her first son.[3]

Greig subsequently appeared in a number of supporting parts, notably as Lamia in Neverwhere (1996) and The Mother in an episode of People Like Us (2000). Her first major role was Fran Katzenjammer in the sitcom Black Books in 2000, a neurotic who owned "Nifty Gifty", a sort of new-age gift shop. She became unemployed in the first series and eventually became worse at everything she tried as the series went on. Several later roles depict similar characters. In 2004, she had a small part in the movie Shaun of the Dead with Dylan Moran, who also appeared in Black Books. In 2005 she appeared as a nurse in an episode of the BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who entitled "The Long Game", which also featured Simon Pegg, the writer and star of Shaun of the Dead.

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.[4] 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.[5]

Greig appeared in the role of Edith Frank in the BBC's January 2009 production of The Diary of Anne Frank.[6]

In 2009 she appeared as Miss Bates in the Emma (2009 TV serial)


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,[7] and Constance in King John, as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company's The Complete Works season. Whilst the win itself was a surprise,[8] her acceptance speech was received very well as being highly entertaining,[9] claiming that she was so excited that she had wet her dress. To make it worse, the dress was hired. The speech was apparently completely improvised - Greig hadn't prepared anything. 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'.[10] 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,[11] and was nominated for "The FRANCO'S Best Actress in a Play" in the Whatsonstage Theatregoers' Choice Awards.[12][13]

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.[14][15] The play won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best New Comedy in 2009.[16] 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.


Greig starred with Richard E. Grant in the film Cuckoo.[17] She also made a short cameo appearance in the 2004 comedy Shaun of the Dead.


Greig presented a BRIT Award in 2006.

Personal life

Greig grew up in Camden, London, England and is of Scottish and Jewish ethnicity. She moved to Kilburn when she was three with her two sisters. She went to Malorees Junior School, followed by Camden School for Girls where she got A-Levels in English (in which she got an "A"), French ("A") and Maths ("D"), and then graduated with a first class honours degree in Drama and Theatre Arts from the University of Birmingham.[18][19] After that she spent some time working at the Family Planning Association in an administrative role where she worked as a temp until 1996,[18] and also spent some time at a secretarial college.[20] She never planned to move back to London, but she did in 1996, because her father was dying and she wanted to comfort him. She now lives in a flat in Kensal Green.[19] She converted to Christianity at this time, having been raised an atheist.[21]

She is married to actor Richard Leaf, whom she met on the set of Neil Gaiman's 1996 miniseries Neverwhere, and has three children (two sons aged nine and seven, and a three-year-old daughter).[14] The children's names have not been publicised, but their middle names all begin with "Z", and are sometimes comically referred to as "Leaflets".[21] She has previously admitted that she is somewhat embarrassed by the marriage because, "It suddenly hit me one day: after we're married I'll be called Mrs T Leaf!"[22] Before she became a mother, she was keen on parachuting and trampolining.[23][24] She has stated that she is often mistaken for Sharleen Spiteri, the lead singer of the band Texas, for the impressionist Ronni Ancona, for comedian Sue Perkins and is even sometimes mistaken for a man.[21]

Little is known about Greig's political views, but when one review by Charlie Spencer in The Telegraph described her (in her role as Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing) as "not exactly beautiful, a little like Edwina Currie", she refused to read on.[25][26] It is known that she is a supporter of the National Health Service, giving her backing to a rally organised by pro-NHS protest group NHS Together.[27] She also supports more practical teaching of Shakespeare in British schools, supporting the RSC's "Stand Up For Shakespeare" manifesto.[28]


  1. Screen Online Biography of Tamsin Greig, written by Alexander Larman. Accessed 17 June 2007.
  2. Channel 4 Green Wing microsite, Tamsin Greig interview, Page 2. Accessed 17 June 2007.
  3. The Archers Tamsin Greig's biography. Accessed 17 July 2007.
  4. RTS Winners and Nominations list 2005Accessed 17 June 2007.
  5. Woman's Hour Interview with Tamsin Greig on February 2005, Accessed 17 June 2007.
  6. "Anne Frank TV drama heads to BBC". BBC. 2007-10-15. Retrieved 2007-10-16. 
  7. BBC News (18 February 2007) "Sondheim show wins theatre awards". Retrieved 2007-02-18)
  11. Critics Circle Awards for 2006 Albemarle of London. Accessed 17 June 2007.
  12. "WOS Theatregoers' Choice Nominees Announced". What's On Stage. 2007-12-07.'+Choice+Nominees+Announced. Retrieved 2007-12-10. 
  13. "Full List: Your Theatregoers’ Choice Award Winners". What's On Stage. 2008-02-22. Retrieved 2008-02-22. 
  14. 14.0 14.1 Wheatley, Jane (2008-03-19). "Tamsin Greig: from Ambridge to the West End stage in God of Carnage". The Times. Retrieved 2008-03-19. 
  15. Paddock, Terri (2007-12-24). "Greig, McTeer & Stott Join Fiennes God of Carnage". What's on Stage. Retrieved 2007-12-24. 
  16. "2009 Laurence Olivier Awards Winners". The Official London Theatre Guide. Retrieved 2009-03-09. 
  17. "Star on Yarmouth movie set". Norfolk Daily Evening Press. 2007-12-12. Retrieved 2007-12-12. 
  18. 18.0 18.1 Sale, Jonathan (2009-01-08). "Passed/Failed: An education in the life of the actress Tamsin Greig". The Independent. Retrieved 2009-01-08. 
  19. 19.0 19.1 Brent People "Drama Queen". Written by Anna MacArthur, January 2006, Accessed 17 June 2007.
  20. Seriously funny, an interview with The Telegraph with Tamsin Greig. Written by Jasper Rees, 29 July 2006. Accessed 17 June, 2007.
  21. 21.0 21.1 21.2 Nemone, BBC 6 Music, 20 December, 2006, radio interview.
  22. Internet Movie Database Biography of Tamsin Greig Accessed 17 June 2007.
  23. Drama Faces - Tamsin Greig Accessed 23 February, 2007.
  24. Independent Online Edition - Tamsin Greig: Green Goddess Written by Nick Duerden, on 6 May 2006. Accessed 17 June 2007.
  25. The Stage A bumper West End year, the Critics’ Circle and a critical think-tank.... Written by Mark Shenton, 31 January 2007. Accessed 17 June 2007.
  26. The Telegraph Bursting with life, wit and feeling. Written by Charles Spencer, 22 May 2006. Accessed 17 June 2007.
  27. Haynes, Alex (2007-11-01). "Rally backs health service". Harrow Times. Retrieved 2007-11-01. 
  28. "RSC Stands Up For Shakespeare". Official London Theatre Guide. 2008-03-03. Retrieved 2008-03-03. 

External links

ro:Tamsin Greig fi:Tamsin Greig sv:Tamsin Greig

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