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Olivia Colman – From British comedies to Hollywood glory

Olivia Colman (David Parry/PA)
Olivia Colman (David Parry/PA)

Olivia Colman first found fame as Sophie, the girlfriend of David Mitchell’s neurotic Mark, in the British comedy Peep Show.

Before landing an Oscar nomination for her role as Queen Anne in The Favourite, she had a successful career on the small screen in Green Wing, That Mitchell And Web Look and Twenty Twelve, and in British films including Hot Fuzz and Tyrannosaur before she played the role of Carol Thatcher opposite Meryl Streep in The Iron Lady.

It was her part as the hotel manager in 2015’s The Lobster that paired her up with Greek film-maker Yorgos Lanthimos, who would go on to direct her to her Oscar nomination.

The Lobster, which also starred Colin Farrell, and Colman’s The Favourite co-star Rachel Weisz, was set in a surreal dystopian future, where single people are obliged to find a romantic partner within 45 days or are turned into animals.

It was a critical hit and collected a best original screenplay nomination at the Oscars.

Colman, 44, followed up the film’s success with a star turn in the BBC drama The Night Manager opposite Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie, for which she won a Golden Globe and was nominated for an Emmy, and in Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s black comedy Fleabag.

It was her role in the ITV crime series Broadchurch that made her a household name in the UK, playing DS Ellie Miller, but it is her turn in The Favourite that has made her a Hollywood star.

Colman’s portrayal of the petulant, greedy and grieving queen has won her rave reviews and scored her a Golden Globe. She is also nominated for a Bafta and an Oscar for the role.

Her most anticipated role is yet to come, when she steps into the shoes of Queen Elizabeth II in the third series of The Crown as the lavish Netflix drama moves into the 1970s.

She will take over the part from Claire Foy and has said how difficult she has found it.

Comparing the two Queens she plays, she told the Press Association: “It could not be more different.

“I find the harder is Queen Elizabeth because everyone knows what she looks like, everyone knows what she sounds like, everyone has an opinion on whether the casting is right.

“And I am loving the job, I am loving trying to play her, but I find her harder.”

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