Lesley Manville

Lesley Manville OBE

Born (1956-03-12) 12 March 1956
Brighton, Sussex, England
Occupation Actress
Years active 1972present
Spouse(s) Gary Oldman (1987–1990)
Joe Dixon (2000–2004)
Children Alfie

Lesley Manville OBE (born 12 March 1956)[1] is an English actress of film, theatre and television who frequently collaborates with director Mike Leigh. For her work in his 2002 film All or Nothing and his 2010 film Another Year, she won the London Film Critics Circle Award for British Actress of the Year. For the latter, she also won the National Board of Review Award for Best Actress and was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role.

Manville's extensive stage career includes roles in As You Like It (RSC 1985), Les Liaisons Dangereuses (RSC 1986), His Dark Materials (National Theatre 2005), The Alchemist (National Theatre 2006), All About My Mother (Old Vic 2007) and Six Degrees of Separation (Old Vic 2010). In 2012, she was nominated for an Olivier Award for her role in Leigh's play Grief (National Theatre 2011), before going on to win the 2014 Olivier Award for Best Actress for her role in the revival of Ghosts (Almeida 2013).

Early life

Manville was born in Brighton, Sussex, to a former ballet dancer mother and a taxicab driver father.[2] She was brought up in nearby Hove, as one of three daughters.[3][4] Training as a soprano singer from age 8, she twice became under-18 champion of Sussex.[3] She began acting as a teenager, appearing in television series such as King Cinder. As a result, at age 15, she gained a place at the Italia Conti Academy of Theatre Arts.[5]


After turning down teacher Arlene Phillips' invitation to join her new dance troupe Hot Gossip, she was taught improvisation by Italia Conti teacher Julia Carey.[3][3][4][5] She made her professional stage debut in the 1972 West End musical I and Albert directed by John Schlesinger and paid for her first flat taking a part in the ITV soap opera Emmerdale Farm (1974–76), which lasted for 80 episodes.[3]

Manville built a career as a distinctive theatre actress, appearing in new plays at the Royal Shakespeare Company's Warehouse and Royal Court Theatre from 1978.[6] She met Mike Leigh in 1979, when he was looking for RSC actors who could improvise.[4] In the 1980s, her work for the Royal Court included Andrea Dunbar's Rita, Sue and Bob Too (1981) and Caryl Churchill's Top Girls (1982) and Serious Money (1987). She also starred in the Top Girls Off-Broadway production in 1983. For the RSC, she starred in As You Like It (1985) and Les Liaisons Dangereuses (1985–86). She made her film debut in 1985s Dance with a Stranger directed by Mike Newell, and went on to appear in Sammy and Rosie Get Laid (1987) directed by Stephen Frears, and High Season (1987). Back on the stage, she starred in The Cherry Orchard at the Aldwych Theatre in 1989, directed by Sam Mendes, and in Three Sisters at the Royal Court in 1990.

In 1994, Manville starred in the first series of the BBC sitcom Ain't Misbehavin'. For her work in the 2000 miniseries Other People's Children, and the 2002 TV film Bodily Harm, she received nominations for Best Female Actor at the Royal Television Society Awards.[7][8] Her extensive television credits include prominent roles in the dramas Holding On (1997), Real Women (1998–99), The Cazalets (2001), North & South (2004) and Cranford (2007).[9] She also starred in Cards on the Table, a 2006 feature-length episode of Agatha Christie's Poirot.

Since 2005, Manville has starred in several National Theatre productions, including His Dark Materials (2005), The Alchemist (2006) and Her Naked Skin (2008). She also starred in The Old Vic productions of All About My Mother (2007) and Six Degrees of Separation (2010). In 2009, she played Margaret Thatcher in the Channel 4 drama The Queen.

Manville has appeared in numerous Mike Leigh films throughout her career, including High Hopes (1988), Secrets & Lies (1996), Topsy-Turvy (1999), Vera Drake (2004) and Mr. Turner (2014). Her most notable Mike Leigh films are All or Nothing in 2002 and Another Year in 2010. For both, she won the London Film Critics Circle Award for British Actress of the Year.[10] For Another Year, she also won the National Board of Review Award for Best Actress, and was nominated for the British Independent Film Award for Best Supporting Actress and the European Film Award for Best Actress, as well as the Chicago Film Critics Award for Best Actress.[11][12] She also won Best Supporting Actress from the San Diego Film Critics Society.[13] On 18 January 2011, she received a BAFTA nomination in the Best Supporting Actress category.[14] On 7 February 2011, former Charlie's Angels stars Jaclyn Smith and Cheryl Ladd presented the Best Actress Award to her at the "Movies for Grownups Awards".[15]

In 2011, Manville starred in Mike Leigh's play Grief at the National Theatre which earned her a Best Actress Olivier Award nomination.[16] For her role as Helene Alving in the 2013 revival of the Ibsen play Ghosts, she won the 2014 Olivier Award for Best Actress and the Critics' Circle Theatre Award for Best Actress. Her other film appearances include Romeo and Juliet (2013) and Maleficent (2014). She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2015 Birthday Honours. She starred opposite Stellan Skaarsgaard in the 2015 BBC drama River, which earned her a nomination for the 2016 BAFTA TV Award for Best Supporting Actress.

Personal life

She met her first husband actor Gary Oldman while working at the Royal Court Theatre. Oldman left her in 1989, three months after their son, Alfie, was born. Her second marriage was to Joe Dixon.[4] In 2007 Manville was living with her son in East Grinstead, West Sussex.[5]

Film and television

1982 Our Winnie Student Alan Bennett TV short
1985 Dance with a Stranger Maryanne
1987 Sammy and Rosie Get Laid Margy
1987 High Season Carol
1988 High Hopes Laetitia Boothe-Braine
1989 The Firm Sue Bissel
1996 Secrets & Lies Social Worker
1999 Milk Fiona
1999 Topsy-Turvy Lucy Gilbert Nominated—London Film Critics Circle Award for Best British Supporting Actress of the Year
2002 All or Nothing Penny Evening Standard British Film Award for Best Actress
London Film Critics Circle Award for Best British Actress of the Year
2004 Vera Drake Mrs. Wells
2005 The Great Ecstasy of Robert Carmichael Sarah Carmichael
2007 Richard Is My Boyfriend Mother
2007 Sparkle Jill
2010 Another Year Mary London Film Critics Circle Award for Best British Actress of the Year
National Board of Review Award for Best Actress
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress (3rd place)
San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Supporting Actress
Santa Barbara International Film Festival Virtuoso Award
Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Nominated—BIFA Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
Nominated—European Film Award for Best Actress
Nominated—San Diego Film Critics Society Award for Best Ensemble Performance
2010 Womb Judith
2013 Romeo and Juliet The Nurse
2013 A Five Star Life Kate Sherman
2013 Spike Island Margaret
2014 Maleficent Flittle
2014 Mr. Turner Mary Somerville
2015 Molly Moon and the Incredible Book of Hypnotism Miss Adderstone
2016 Rupture Dr. Nyman
YearTelevision Feature or SeriesRoleNotes
1974 Village Hall Merle episode: "Dancing in the Dark"
1974 Softly Softly: Task Force Janet episode: "Pop Goes the Weasel"
1974–1976 Emmerdale Farm Rosemary Kendall
1975 Barlow at Large Christine West episode: "Protection"
1976 The Emigrants Janice Parker episode: "13,000 Miles Away"
episode: "Endeavour"
episode: "Chances for the Children"
1977 A Bunch of Fives Helen Wyatt episode: "The Critic"
episode: "Do It Yourself"
1977 Leap in the Dark Julie episode: "The Fetch"
1977i King Cinder Nikki
1978 Wings Francoise episode: "Dawn Attack"
1980 The Gentle Touch Shirley Davies
Shirley Davis
episode: "Loyalties"
episode: "Hammer"
1980 BBC2 Playhouse Mandy episode: "Grown-Ups"
1982 Objects of Affection Liz episode: "Our Winnie"
1982 Coronation Street Jill Mason episode: "Episode #1.2211"
episode: "Episode: #1.2208"
1984 Play for Today Vivienne episode: "Dog Ends"
1985 Bullman Karen Tait episode: "The Name of the Game"
1991 Performance Marlene episode: "Top Girls"
1992 Soldier Soldier Rachel Fortune
Rachel Elliot
5 episodes
1993 The Mushroom Picker Margot 3 episodes
1993 A Statement of Affairs Carol episode: "Episode #1.1"
1993 Goggle-Eyes Rosalind Killin 4 episodes
1993 Crime Story Gail episode: "When the Lies Run Out: The Ian Spiro Story"
1994 Ain't Misbehavin' Melissa Quigley 6 episodes
1994 Little Napoleons Judith Silver episode: "Sleeping with the Enemy"
episode: "The Godfather of Education"
episode: "The Big Interview"
episode: "Path to Power"
1994 A Skirt Through History Bessie Parkes episode: "A Lady's Portion"
1995 Tears Before Bedtime Beattie Freman 4 episodes
1996 The Bite Ellie Shannon 2 episodes
1996 Kavanagh QC Lucy Cartwright episode: "The Commitment"
1997 Holding On Hilary 7 episodes
1997 Painted Lady Susie Peel
1998 Real Women Karen episode: "The Hitch"
episode: "The Hangover"
episode: "The Hen Night"
1998 Silent Witness Suzy Franklin episode: "Fallen Idol"
1999 Toy Boys Mrs. Allen
1999 Real Women II Karen Turner 4 episodes
2000 Other People's Children Nadine 2 episodes
Nominated— Royal Television Society Award for Best Actor - Female
2000 Black Cab Yvonne episode: "Lost & Found"
2000 David Copperfield Mrs. Micawber
2001 The Cazalets Villy Cazalet 6 episodes
2002 Bodily Harm Mandy Greenfield 2 episodes
Nominated— Royal Television Society Award for Best Actor - Female
2002 Plain Jane Dora Bruce
2003 Promoted to Glory Capt. Annie Sullivan
2004 Rose and Maloney Professor Diane Marquis 1 episode
2004 North & South Maria Hale 4 episodes
2005 Poirot: Cards on the Table Mrs. Lorrimer episode: "Cards on the Table"
2006 Perfect Parents Sister Antonia
2007 Cranford Mrs. Rose episode: "May 1843"
episode: "April 1843"
episode: "November 1842"
episode: "August 1842"
episode: "June 1842"
2009–2011 Law & Order: UK Phyllis Gladstone episode: "Tick Tock"
episode: "Alesha"
episode: "Vice"
2009 The Queen Margaret Thatcher episode: "The Rivals"
2011 Midsomer Murders Phoebe Archbold episode: "Fit for Murder"
2013 An Adventure in Space and Time Heather Hartnell
2013 Mayday Gail Spicer
5 episodes
2014 Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond Evelyn St. Croix Fleming 4 episodes
2015 River DCI Chrissie Read Nominated— BAFTA TV Award for Best Supporting Actress
2016 Mum (TV Series) Cathy


AliSavage Amusement (John Caird) RSC - Warehouse


Sister CroyThe Sons of Light (Ron Daniels) RSC - Warehouse


JenFear of the Dark (Walter Donohue) Royal Shakespeare Company


?Chorus Girls (Adrian Shergold) Theatre Royal, Stratford East


Second StudentWho Needs Enemies? (Walter Donohue) RSC - Warehouse


?Borderline (Max Stafford-Clark) Royal Court


SueRita, Sue and Bob Too (Andrea Dunbar) Royal Court


Patient Griselda [17]Top Girls (Caryl Churchill) Royal Court


?Falkland Sound (Max Stafford-Clark) Royal Court


PatThe Pope's Wedding (Max Stafford-Clark) Royal Court


LizSaved (Danny Boyle) Royal Court


PolyaPhilistines Royal Shakespeare Company


DoloresThe Dead Monkey (Roger Michell) Royal Shakespeare Company


PhebeAs You Like It (Adrian Noble) RST


CécileLes Liaisons Dangereuses (Howard Davies) Pit


ScillaSerious Money (Max Stafford-Clark) Royal Court


SandraAmerican Bagpipes (Lindsay Posner) Royal Court


VaryaThe Cherry Orchard (Sam Mendes) Aldwych


NatashaThree Sisters (Adrian Noble) Royal Court


Miss JulieMiss Julie Greenwich Theatre


Lindsay [18]Some Girl(s) Gielgud Theatre


Mrs. CoulterHis Dark Materials National Theatre


LonaPillars of the Community (Marianne Elliott) National Theatre (Lyttelton)


Dol CommonThe Alchemist National Theatre


ManuelaAll About My Mother The Old Vic


Celia CainHer Naked Skin National Theatre


Ouisa KittredgeSix Degrees of Separation The Old Vic


DorothyGrief National Theatre


Helene AlvingGhosts Almeida Theatre


Mary TyroneLong Day's Journey into Night (Eugene O'Neill's play) Bristol Old Vic 2016


  1. "Index entry". FreeBMD. ONS. Retrieved 30 May 2014.
  2. Cooper, Glenda (2014-04-23). "After four decades on the stage, Manville is in no mood to slow down". Telegraph. Retrieved 2014-07-26.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Kellaway, Kate (2007-08-12). "The mother superior". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2010-05-20.
  4. 1 2 3 4 Nick Curtis (2010-01-06). "Lesley Manville's six degrees of success". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 2010-05-20.
  5. 1 2 3 Naomi West (2007-08-04). "The world of Lesley Manville, actress". London: daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2010-05-20.
  6. "Patrons". Hub Theatre Bio of Manville. Retrieved 3 August 2014.
  7. "Programme Award Winners 2000". Royal Television Society. 2000. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  8. 2002 "Programme Award Winners" Check |url= value (help). Royal Television Society. 2002. Retrieved 4 August 2014.
  9. "All-star announced to star alongside Judi Dench in Cranford". BBC. 20 April 2007. Retrieved 15 June 2015.
  10. London Critics Circle British Actress of the Year Critics Circle web site
  11. Chicago Film Critics Award for Best Actress Archived 24 February 2010 at the Wayback Machine. Chicago Film Critics web site
  12. London Critics Circle for British Actress of the Year
  13. San Diego Film Critics Society San Diego Film Critics Society web site
  14. "Search Results". BAFTA site. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  15. Cohrs, Jocelyn (2011). "AARP The Magazine's Movies for Grownups Awards Gala - An Evening of Congratulations, Class, and Circumstance | Splash Magazines | Los Angeles". lasplash.com. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
  16. "Mike Leigh: Profile of a Playwright". Daily Telegraph. 22 September 2011. Retrieved 16 June 2015.
  17. Denes, Melissa (16 January 2012). "How we made: Max Stafford-Clark and Lesley Manville on Top Girls". The Guardian. London.
  18. Quarmby, Kevin (Spring 2005). "Interview with Lesley Manville, Some Girl(s), The Gielgud Theatre". Retrieved 2 August 2014.

External links

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