Olivia Colman is in everything. She says so herself in the beginning of The Five-ish Doctors Reboot. (“Am I not in this?” she asks. “I’m usually in everything.”) In the 2014 BAFTA Craft Awards, host Stephen Mangan said that now TV can get back to doing what TV does best: Olivia Colman. And not only is she in everything, but she’s darn good at it. Let’s take a look at a few (okay, ten) key roles.
Ellie Miller – Broadchurch (2013-present)
Detective Ellie Miller’s role in cop drama Broadchurch is the local one. She’s the cop who knows the beat, in contrast to the new boy, DI Hardy (David Tennant). While in some ways this gives her the upper hand, it’s also a professional disability because she’s more emotionally attached to the victims.
Doris Thatcher – Hot Fuzz (2007)
Doris is the only “policewoman” in Sanford, but she doesn’t play the role of the lady cop. Her jokes are just as off color as the boys’. In fact, her main role in this movie seems to be making rude jokes, which just shows how comfortable she is in her position.
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Sophie Chapman – Peep Show (2003-2010)
Sophie works with Mark (David Mitchell). She fancies him, he fancies her, but they are constantly running up against walls with each other and are never quite able to make it work in the long term.
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Sally Owen – Twenty Twelve/W1A (2011-2014)
Sally is the PA of Ian Fletcher (Hugh Bonneville) and her unrequited love for him is never reciprocated during Twenty Twelve. However…stick around for the sequel series, W1A. This isn’t the only time Colman has played a secretary, though. You might recognize her voice in the Dirk Gently radio drama as Dirk’s secretary.
Read more about Twenty Twelve >>>
Harriet Schulenburg – Green Wing (20014-20016)
Harriet is the sweet office worker in the HR division of the hospital that is picked on by the others. She’s scatterbrained because she’s up to her ears in children, and she becomes pregnant yet again. Finally, she’s able to have a bit of fun when she has an affair with the hot IT guy, Lyndon (Paterson Joseph).
Prisoner Zero – Doctor Who (2010)
A bit role, admittedly, but not an irrelevant one. Colman plays one of the many faces of Prisoner Zero in Matt Smith’s debut episode as the Doctor.
Nancy Ronstadt – Exile (2011)
After her brother ran away when he was a teenager, Nancy was left to take care of her family. Now it’s just her and her father, who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. With no one else to help out and no ability to leave her father alone even for a minute, Nancy watches her life get thrown away. Finally, her brother Tom (John Simm) returns, but he’s more trouble than it’s worth.
Alex Smallbone – Rev. (2010-2014)
As a preacher’s wife, there’s no rest for Alex. Her husband, Adam (Tom Hollander), is trying to keep a doomed inner city church afloat. But Alex wants to have a life, too. She wants to have a baby. She wants just two seconds to herself with her husband without another person-in-need banging on the front door. The relationship between Adam and Alex is really what makes this show thrive.
Julie – London Road (2015)
Julie is based on a real person who was interviewed following the London Road murders in Ipswitch. She is the most complicated and interesting character because it’s not exactly a P.C. stance to take to say that you’re glad some prostitutes were murdered because it resulted in the road being cleaned up, but at the same time you sympathize with her wanting a safe environment for her children. Definitely check out Olivia Colman in this unique, true, musical film.
Hannah – Tyrannosaur (2011)
If Olivia Colman should be taking home an Oscar for anything, it ought to be for her performance in Paddy Considine’s film Tyrannosaur. At first you think Hannah is a static character, a do-gooder who works in a charity shop, but she is being abused by her husband and we get to see during the course of the film the full range that Colman can play and the full capabilities of the character Hannah.