Jessica Hynes, born Talula Stevenson, is one of my favorite actresses. Like many people, I discovered her through Spaced, and she hasn’t stopped being impressive, whether it’s comedy acting, dramatic acting, or TV writing. Her suffragette sitcom Up the Women is definitely worth a look.
Daisy Steiner – Spaced (1999-2001)
Daisy is one of sitcom’s greatest characters. She can be obnoxious–the way she throws a party, her procrastination, her disregard for her flatmate’s fear of dogs–but you can’t help but love her: the way she wears glasses with no lenses and makes a disco ball out of Bacofoil. Despite that she says “Girl power!” during a job interview, Daisy is an empowering character for women in the sitcom space, which usually muscles female roles into preordained archetypes.
Siobhan Sharpe – Twenty Twelve / W1A (2011-present)
In this mockumentary TV series, Twenty Twelve, Siobhan is head of brand for her PR company that’s working on the 2012 London Olympics. She’s what you call a go-getter, but with snappy little phrases that don’t make much sense. She’s about as confident and competent as David Brent. Siobhan is back for the sequel series W1A where her PR company is asked to redesign the BBC logo.
Joan Redfern – Doctor Who (2007)
One of TV’s saddest couples, Joan Redfern and John Smith, or shall we call him the Doctor? When the Doctor hides his Timelordness and becomes human, he loses his memory of having ever been an extraterrestrial and instead thinks he’s just your average schoolmaster. He falls in love with the school nurse, Joan, who knows nothing of his alien history. When he’s reverted back to his old self, Joan wants nothing to do with him, even when he offers her a ride in the TARDIS. As John Smith is worked out of the Doctor’s consciousness, we see flashes of the life he could have had with Joan, all the way up until death. Hynes also plays a descendant of Joan’s, Verity Newman, in “The End of Time.”
Lucky – Burke and Hare (2010)
Easily the best character in the whole film, Lucky is the inn-keeper. She starts off drunk enough to fall asleep face-first in her porridge, but when she learns her lodgers Burke and Hare are making a mint on selling dead bodies, she sobers up and marries Hare to get in on the dealings. She is a businesswoman and just as willing, perhaps more so, to have blood on her hands in the name of making a profit as the boys. Hynes is back alongside writing pal Simon Pegg in this one.
Yvonne – Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Aw, Daisy and Tim reunite! Oh, wait, this is a movie. Shaun (Simon Pegg) occasionally bumps into his friend Yvonne while traveling around London, trying to escape the zombies. Her situation looks much like his situation (same types of people she’s schlepping with her), except she seems to be making better choices–She’s not using the pub as a hideout! In the end, it’s Yvonne who brings the cavalry.
Mary Proudfoot – Son of Rambow (2007)
Mary is the mother of Will Proudfoot, the imaginative little bow who fancies himself the son of Rambo to escape the realities of his situation (his father is dead) and makes a movie.
Mitchell & Webb Role
Linda Jones – Magicians (2007)
In this quirky film written by and starring comedy duo Mitchell and Webb, Linda is a friend of Harry’s, and after he’s too embarrassed to tell her how much he hates her dancing, she becomes his assistant in a magic show competition. When she finds out that Harry killed his wife, she disappears. In a great romantic gesture, he flies to London to win her back, but it turns out she just switched hotel rooms and doesn’t mind that he’d kept the secret of his wife’s death from her. In the end, he confesses his love to her on stage, but later admits it was just to win the audience over. The reality is he doesn’t know her very well but really likes her and says that one day he could see himself loving her. Aw.
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