About Celia Diana Savile Imrie
Celia Diana Savile Imrie (born 15 July 1952) is an English actress. In a career starting in the early 1970s, Imrie has played Marianne Bellshade in Bergerac, Philippa Moorcroft in Dinnerladies, Miss Babs in Acorn Antiques, Diana Neal in After You've Gone and Gloria Millington in Kingdom. She has been described as "one of the most successful British actresses of recent decades".
Imrie was born in 1952 in the county town of Guildford in Surrey, the fourth of five children of Diana Elizabeth Blois (née Cator) and David Andrew Imrie, a radiologist from Glasgow, Scotland.
Imrie was educated at Guildford High School, an independent school for girls in her hometown of Guildford, followed by the Guildford School of Acting.
Life and career
Imrie's varied career spans films, television and radio drama, and the theatre. Her film credits include Nanny McPhee, Hilary and Jackie (playing Iris du Pré) and the 1997 film of The Borrowers where she played Homily Clock. Other films include Bridget Jones's Diary, Calendar Girls, Highlander and, as Fighter Pilot Bravo 5, in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace. In 2004, Imrie played Doctor Imogen Reed in the schoolgirl thriller, Out of Bounds. She appeared in St Trinian's in 2007 as the Matron, alongside Stephen Fry, Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Russell Brand and Mischa Barton.
Television series to feature Imrie include The Nightmare Man, Bergerac, Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, Absolutely Fabulous, The Darling Buds of May and Upstairs, Downstairs. In the 2000 miniseries of Gormenghast, she played Lady Gertrude. She also had a guest appearance in an episode of the BBC Scotland sitcom Still Game in 2003, where she played a home help called Mrs Begg. She also appeared in the 2005 BBC television drama Mr. Harvey Lights a Candle, playing the part of a teacher taking an unruly party of pupils on a daytrip to Salisbury Cathedral. She starred in the BBC sitcom, After You've Gone, alongside Nicholas Lyndhurst and in the ITV1 drama Kingdom, with Stephen Fry. Her part in After You've Gone has, whilst being critically acclaimed, been described as "criminally squandered".
In 2005, she received very positive reviews for her US stage debut in Unsuspecting Susan. In 2009, Imrie appeared in Plague Over England on the West End, a play about John Gielgud, and received positive reviews for her performance, Charles Spencer of The Daily Telegraph calling her performance "delicious" and "touchingly sympathetic". In the same year, she appeared in the world premiere of Robin Soans' Mixed Up North, directed by Max Stafford-Clark. In 2010, she appeared alongside Robin Soans in a production of Sheridan's The Rivals. She has appeared with Martin Clunes twice, first in the 2002 John George Haigh biopic A Is For Acid and later in the successful ITV series Doc Martin.
Her radio work includes parts in BBC Radio 4's No Commitments, Adventures of a Black Bag, and Bleak Expectations. In early 2007, she narrated the book Arabella, broadcast over two weeks as the Book at Bedtime.
Victoria Wood & Miss Babs
Imrie is perhaps best known for her frequent collaborations with Victoria Wood, with whom she has appeared in TV programmes such as the sitcom dinnerladies and sketch show Victoria Wood As Seen On TV. It was on the latter show in 1985 that she first played the infamous part of Miss Babs, owner of Acorn Antiques, a parody of the low budget British soap opera Crossroads.
These sketches became such a British institution that the show was turned into a West End musical in 2005 starring most of the original cast (see the picture on the right). Imrie won an Olivier Award for her performance. The character has curly blonde hair, and is known for her frequent parodic flirtations with the customers, and her abuse of the housekeeper Mrs Overall (portrayed by Julie Walters).
By the actor Benjamin Whitrow, Imrie has a son, Angus, who appears as her on-screen son in Kingdom. She lives in London and in Cowes (on the Isle of Wight).
When Celia Imrie was fourteen, she was admitted to St Thomas' Hospital for anorexia under the care of psychiatrist William Sargant, where she was given electroshock and large doses of the anti-psychotic drug Largactil. Imrie has written that Sargant still features in her nightmares.
(1992) The Clarence Derwent Award for Best Supporting Actress in The Sea
(2006) The Laurence Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role in Acorn Antiques:The Musical!
Real life quotes
Whilst filming Kingdom: "I've got a gorgeous place in Swaffham [in Norfolk] with a beautiful garden and I really love the market there. I also love Wells and Holkham. I love walking on the pathway from Wells Quay to the beach. Wells is naturally beautiful and has the candy floss as well. It is a marvellous mix."