9 Roles You Forgot Olivia Colman Played Before Her Rise To Global Fame

Including playing a talking horse, a foul-mouthed nurse and appearing in one very divisive car ad.

Olivia Colman has been on a roll for quite some time, but the past few years have seen her really go global.

Last year, she appeared in the lead role of Queen Anne in The Favourite, which earned the actress her second Golden Globe and first ever Oscar.

Following this, she was recognised for her services to drama in by none other than Queen Elizabeth II, before she was then cast as the monarch herself in the third series of The Crown, which debuted in November.

Whether she first caught your eye in Broadchurch or The Night Manager, or you’ve been a fan since her days as Sophie in Peep Show, we all have an Olivia Colman role that sticks in our mind.

However, there have been a fair few over the years that you might have forgotten...

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Bruiser (2000)

Considering its impressive cast of British comics who have since gone on to become known as among the best in the business, we’re surprised that Bruiser is so often overlooked in the comedy history books.

The six-part comedy sketch show was the first small-screen collaboration between David Mitchell and Robert Webb, who met at Cambridge years earlier, where they began their comedy partnership.

Ricky Gervais and Richard Ayoade also worked on Bruiser as writers, while Martin Freeman and Olivia Colman were among the cast, with the latter later going on to appear in their shows Peep Show and That Mitchell And Webb Look.

Take a look at her in (rather explicit, actually) action below:

The Office (2002)

Two years later, Olivia reunited with Ricky Gervais, in an episode of his hugely successful BBC comedy The Office.

Olivia appeared in a small role as Helena, a writer for the company’s internal newspaper who interviews David Brent about his approach to management, with predictable results.

Terkel In Trouble (2004)


Olivia’s first foray into the world of cinema was with a voice acting role in the English-language version of Terkel In Trouble, originally released in Denmark in 2004.

The CGI film – billed as being aimed at “lovers of Beavis And Butthead, The Simpsons and South Park” – tells the story of teenage Terkel, played by comic Adrian Edmondson, with other comedians including Bill Bailey and Johnny Vegas also lending their voices to the film.

Confetti (2006)

BBC Films

Confetti features an impressive cast including Jimmy Carr, Julia Davis, Alison Steadman, Martin Freeman, Jessica Hynes and Stephen Mangan, but Olivia told The Guardian in 2011 she’s never been able to bring herself to watch it.

In the film, she and frequent co-star Robert Webb play a naturist couple, though Olivia told the newspaper she’d been misled about how much of her body would be in the film, and what would be pixelated.

“It was the worst experience of my life,” she said. “I now never trust anybody. I love people, I believe in the goodness of people, but ever since that, there’s a bit of me that died... it’s not funny to me at all. I didn’t sleep for a year.”

Skins (2009)

Millennial viewers might remember Olivia from her brief role in the second generation of Skins, where she played the brilliantly-named Naomi Campbell’s free-spirited mum.

Here she is in character, musing about why she thinks bananas might be too “patriarchal” for her commune’s shopping list...

Hyde Park On Hudson (2012)

Between her stint in The Crown and her Oscar-winning turn in The Favourite (not to mention being recognised in the Queen’s birthday honours list), 2019 is certainly the year that things went regal for Olivia Colman.

As it turns out, she already had a bit of practise, though, having starred as the previous Queen Elizabeth, wife of King George VI, in the historical comedy-drama Hyde Park On Hudson.

The film saw Bill Murray in the role of President Roosevelt, while Daisy Suckley was portrayed by Laura Linney.

Pudsey The Dog: The Movie (2014)

Yes, in addition to her Bafta and Golden Globe-winning acting work, Olivia also voiced Nelly the horse in the big screen debut of Britain’s Got Talent-winning canine star Pudsey The Dog, produced, of course, by Simon Cowell.

While the titular mutt was voiced by BGT judge David Walliams, other cast members included Jessica Hynes, Lorraine Kelly and comedian John Sessions.

Fleabag (2016)


An Olivia Colman role that’s oft-forgotten not because of the quality of her performance, but because the character is so far removed from what we’re used to seeing her do.

The actress’ jam-packed 2019 also saw her starring in the second series of Fleabag, opposite the show’s creator and writer, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, who recently enjoyed massive success on both sides of the Atlantic with Killing Eve.

And while Olivia’s CV features mostly sympathetic comedic characters, eccentrics and strong leading women, she truly brought her A-game to the BBC Three series, playing the main character’s truly odious step-mother.

Oh yeah, and that AA Advert (2004)

“Bev!” “Kev!” Yep, that was Olivia Colman.

Lady Gaga

Golden Globes 2019 Red Carpet Pics


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