Lesley Sharp

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Lesley Sharp
Born(1960-04-03) 3 April 1960 (age 53)
Manchester, England
Years active1986–present
Spouse(s)Nicholas Gleaves
Children2 sons
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Lesley Sharp
Born(1960-04-03) 3 April 1960 (age 53)
Manchester, England
Years active1986–present
Spouse(s)Nicholas Gleaves
Children2 sons

Lesley Sharp (born 3 April 1960) is an English stage, film and television actress, particularly well known for her variety of British television roles including Clocking Off, Bob & Rose and afterlife.

Early life[edit]

Sharp was born in Manchester, England.[1]

Sharp has stated that she started acting because, as a child, she felt "invisible" and didn't "quite fit in."[2] She has said that her inspiration to act came from watching Dick Emery on television.[3]

Sharp moved to London at 18 and, after initially failing to get into drama school, worked at the Department of Education and Science at the Victoria & Albert Museum.[2] Responsible for filling in the warders' overtime sheets, her poor numeracy skills resulted in frequent mistakes before she was eventually asked "very nicely, but firmly" to leave.[2]

Sharp attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama from 1982.[4]


Sharp's screen debut was in Alan Clarke's Rita, Sue and Bob Too (1986), playing Bob's wife, Michelle. She appeared in another Clarke-directed project, as Valerie in the filmed version of Jim Cartwright's successful stageplay Road (1987).[citation needed] Further film appearances included supporting roles in The Rachel Papers (1989) and Stephen Poliakoff's Close My Eyes, with Clive Owen and Alan Rickman. Sharp was establishing herself as a talented actress and social realist roles in Mike Leigh's Naked (1993) and the Jimmy McGovern-penned Priest (1994) further raised her profile. By the time she was in Prime Suspect 4: The Lost Child (1995) and The Full Monty (1997) she had become a well-known performer in Britain.[citation needed]

Although Sharp has appeared in a variety of films throughout her career, she is probably best known by television audiences. By the late 1990s, she was being offered lead roles in numerous well-written – mostly northern-set – drama series. Common As Muck (1997) was followed by Playing the Field (1998–2002), a drama about a female football team which ran for five series. Sharp had supporting parts in Great Expectations (1999), as Mrs Joe, and in Nature Boy (2000), as Martha Tyler, before landing the role of Trudy Graham in Paul Abbott's BAFTA-award-winning Clocking Off (2000–03), which lasted four series. Russell T Davies then cast her opposite Alan Davies in Bob & Rose, which resulted in a BAFTA nomination for Sharp.[citation needed] Further film roles in From Hell, starring Johnny Depp, and Cheeky (1993), which was directed by Naked co-star David Thewlis, preceded another television drama written by Russell T. Davies. In The Second Coming (2003) Lesley Sharp was "the woman who killed God" in the form of Stephen Baxter, as played by Christopher Eccleston.

Lesley Sharp again worked with Mike Leigh in Vera Drake (2004) which was followed by one-off television dramas including Planespotting, Born with Two Mothers and Our Hidden Lives, all in 2005.[citation needed] The same year, she played the clairvoyant lead role of Alison Mundy opposite Andrew Lincoln's sceptical Robert Bridge in ITV's supernatural drama series Afterlife. Although the subject matter was seen as quite controversial, it was generally received positively by critics and audiences.[citation needed] Sharp's performance was highly praised and she was nominated for several awards.[citation needed] She commented, in a This Morning television interview, that the guest stars – including Natalia Tena, David Threlfall and Mark Benton — for the second series "were amazing".[citation needed]

After a ten-year break from stagework, October 2005 saw Lesley Sharp return to the theatre as Emma in Sam Shepard's The God of Hell at the Donmar Warehouse.[citation needed] In what she described as "a black comedy about the poison at the heart of America", she was directed by her friend Kathy Burke — someone she had previously competed with for screen roles. Lesley Sharp concentrated on theatrical work for the next few years,[citation needed] until re-appearing on television screens in 2008 in the three-part Lucy Gannon-penned drama The Children. Later in 2008, she worked with Russell T. Davies for a third time when she played Sky Silvestry in the Doctor Who episode "Midnight". Davies later tipped Sharp to become the first woman to play The Doctor.[5]

Early 2009 saw Sharp playing Petronella van Daan in the BBC's new version of The Diary of Anne Frank. Next up was a role, playing Paddy Considine's wife, in Channel 4's acclaimed drama series Red Riding. She then joined the cast in the BBC daytime drama series Moving On, for which Jimmy McGovern was the executive producer. Sharp played Sylvie, a woman whose life becomes dominated by fear, in ""Butterfly Effect", the last of five individual stories. Sharp starred in a 2009 revival of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at the Vaudeville Theatre with Marc Warren and Diana Vickers,[6] which ran from October to the following January. Since May 2011 Sharp has starred in ITV1's crime drama series Scott & Bailey as Janet Scott. From May 2012 she stars in the Sky1 comedy series Starlings as Jan Starling.[7]

Personal life[edit]

Sharp has been married to actor Nicholas Gleaves since 1994.[3] They have two sons and live in London.[2] Gleaves plays the role of DS Andy Roper in Scott & Bailey.

In an interview relating to Afterlife, Sharp stated that she is "not religious", and thinks "you should live your life as if it's all there is."[2]

List of credits[edit]


Dandelion DeadConstance Martin
Prime SuspectAnne Sutherland
Series 4, "The Lost Child"
Playing the FieldTheresa Mullen
Series 1–3
Daylight RobberyCarol Murphy
Clocking OffTrudy Graham
Series 1, 2
Bob & RoseRose Cooper
The Second ComingJudith Roach
two-part drama
afterlifeAlison Mundy
Doctor WhoSky Silvestry
Series 4, Episode 10 "Midnight"
The ChildrenAnne
The Diary of Anne FrankPetronella Van Daan
Red RidingJoan Hunter
Channel 4
Part 2 "In the Year of Our Lord 1980"
Moving OnSylvie
Series 1, Episode 5 "Butterfly Effect"
Agatha Christie's PoirotMiss Martindale
Series 12, Episode 4 "The Clocks"
Whistle and I'll Come to YouHetty the nurse
Leah's StoryNarrator
Scott & BaileyDC Janet Scott
The Shadow LineJulie Bede
Protecting Our ChildrenNarrator
Corfu - A Tale of Two IslandsNarrator
StarlingsJan Starling
Sky 1
Who Do You Think You Are?Self
Series 10, Episode 4


1986Rita, Sue and Bob TooMichelle
1989The Rachel PapersJenny
1993NakedLouise Clancy
1994PriestMrs. Unsworth
1997The Full MontyJean
2001From HellCatherine Eddowes
2004Vera DrakeJessie Barnes


In October 2005, Sharp starred in her first theatre role for a decade in the play The God of Hell at the Donmar Warehouse, London.[citation needed]

In 2008, she played the lead character in the play Harper Regan at Royal National Theatre.[citation needed]

Awards and nominations[edit]

1988Olivier AwardsBest Comedy PerformanceA Family AffairNominated
1992Olivier AwardsBest Supporting ActressUncle VanyaNominated
1998BAFTA Film AwardsBest Supporting ActressThe Full MontyNominated
1998Screen Actors Guild AwardsOutstanding Cast in a FilmThe Full MontyWon
2002BAFTA TV AwardsBest ActressBob and RoseNominated
2002Royal Television SocietyBest Female ActorBob and RoseNominated
2006Royal Television SocietyBest Female ActorAfterlifeWon

References and notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Lesley Sharpe". Who Do You Think You Are?. Series 10. Episode 4. 14 August 2013. BBC One. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b038nxx8. Retrieved 17 August 2013.
  2. ^ a b c d e McLean, Gareth; "A truly visible woman" Guardian.co.uk, 10 September 2005 (Retrieved: 21 July 2009)
  3. ^ a b Billen, Andrew; "Lesley Sharp shows she's married to the job in The Children" TimesOnline.co.uk, 30 August 2008 (Retrieved: 21 July 2009)
  4. ^ "Guildhall School of Music and Drama: Alumni" GSMD.ac.uk (Retrieved: 21 July 2009)
  5. ^ Wallis, Sara; "Writer Russell T Davies backs Lesley Sharp to be first female Doctor Who" DailyRecord.co.uk, 19 December 2008 (Retrieved: 21 July 2009)
  6. ^ Michael Billington "The Rise and Fall of Little Voice – Vaudeville", The Guardian, 21 October 2009
  7. ^ "A quick chat with Lesley Sharp". What's on TV. 10 May 2012. Retrieved 11 May 2012. 

External links[edit]