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Alison Steadman OBE (born 26 August 1946) is an award-winning Englishmarker actress.

Personal life

Steadman was born in Liverpoolmarker, Merseyside, Englandmarker, the daughter of Marjorie (née Evans) and George Percival Steadman, who worked for an electronics firm as a production controller. As a child she attended a youth theatre and after leaving school at 16 she trained as a secretary and worked in a probation office as a clerical assistant. She moved to Londonmarker and in her 20s enrolled in the East 15 Acting Schoolmarker, where she met Mike Leigh. They married in 1973 and had two sons, Toby in 1979 and Leo in 1981. They separated in 1995 and divorced in 2001. Her present partner is Michael Elwyn and she currently lives in Highgatemarker, London.


Stage work

She created the role of the monstrous Beverly in Mike Leigh's Abigail's Party, which she reprised with the original cast on television. Steadman also appeared in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Entertaining Mr Sloane, Hotel Paradiso, and others in locations as diverse as the Royal Courtmarker, the Theatre Royal, the Old Vicmarker, the Hampstead Theatremarker, the Nottingham Playhousemarker, the Everyman Liverpoolmarker and the National Theatremarker. She also starred as Elmire in the 1983 RSC production of Molière's Tartuffe, which was adapted for BBC television.


She has appeared in many films, including Shirley Valentine, Confetti, Clockwise, Wilt and A Private Function, although she is perhaps most noted for her work in films directed by Leigh such as Life Is Sweet. She appeared opposite James Bolam in the TV-Film The Missing Postman.


Her television work include Fat Friends as Betty, Grumpy Old Women, Selling Hitler, Let Them Eat Cake, The Singing Detective, No Bananas The Caucasian Chalk Circle, and Pride and Prejudice as Mrs. Bennet. She also provides a voice over in the children's TV show Bob the Builder. Television productions directed by Leigh in which she has appeared include Nuts in May, and most famously Abigail's Party. She also appeared in the BBC comedy The Worst Week of My Life. In 2007 she has been seen in the BBC Three comedy Gavin & Stacey as Gavin's proud mother Pamela, and in Fanny Hill on BBC Four.2007 BBC Play The Dinner Party An update of Mike Leigh’s 1977 classic Abigail’s Party, with Lee Evans

She appeared in Girl, a 1974 BBC play, which had the first lesbian kiss on British television which Alison performed with Myra Frances.


On radio, Alison's talent for mimicry and 'character voices' was given full rein in shows such as Week Ending, Castle's on the Air and The Worst Show on the Wireless, in both the latter of which she played the over-protective mother to Eli Woods' long-suffering Bunty/Precious. From 1982 to 1984 she joined Eli Woods and Eddie Braben (Morecambe and Wise's scriptwriter) in the UK radio show The Show with No Name for the 13 episodes, in what can be described as an updated version of Round the Horne comedy sketch show. More recently, since 2002, she has starred as Mrs Naughtie in the series Hamish and Dougal.

Awards and recognition


  2. The Alison Steadman Page accessed 21 Mar 2007
  3. accessed 21 Mar 2007
  4. Alison Steadman: Britain's lady-in-waiting, The Sunday Times, November 30, 2008

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