Lesley Sharp

Last updated 14 October 2014

Lesley Sharp
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Lesley Sharp

Born: 1964 (age: 58)


Lesley Sharp is an English stage, film and television actress, from Liverpool. She is best known for her roles in Clocking Off, Bob & Rose and afterlife.

She appeared in the 2008 Doctor Who story Midnight.

Sharp attended the Guildhall School of Music and Drama from 1982.

Sharp's screen debut was in Alan Clarke's Rita, Sue and Bob Too (1986), playing Bob's wife, Michelle. She appeared in another Clarke-directed project, as Valerie in the filmed version of Jim Cartwright's successful stageplay Road (1987). Further film appearances included supporting roles in The Rachel Papers (1989) and Stephen Poliakoff's Close My Eyes, with Clive Owen and Alan Rickman. 

Sharp was establishing herself as a talented actor and social realist roles in Mike Leigh's Naked (1993) and the Jimmy McGovern-penned Priest (1994) further raised her profile. By the time she was in Prime Suspect 4: The Lost Child (1995) and The Full Monty (1997) she had become a well-known performer in Britain.

By the late 1990s, she was being offered lead roles in numerous well-written � mostly northern-set � drama series. Common As Muck (1997) was followed by Playing the Field (1998�2002), a drama about a female football team which ran for five series. Sharp had supporting parts in Great Expectations (1999), as Mrs Joe, and in Nature Boy (2000), as Martha Tyler, before landing the role of Trudy Graham in Paul Abbott's BAFTA-award-winning Clocking Off (2000�03), which lasted four series. Russell T Davies then cast her opposite Alan Davies in Bob & Rose, which resulted in a BAFTA nomination for Sharp. Further film roles in From Hell, starring Johnny Depp, and Cheeky (1993), which was directed by Naked co-star David Thewlis, preceded another television drama written by Russell T Davies. In The Second Coming (2003) Sharp was "the woman who killed God" in the form of Stephen Baxter, as played by Christopher Eccleston.

Sharp again worked with Mike Leigh in Vera Drake (2004) which was followed by one-off television dramas including Planespotting, Born with Two Mothers and Our Hidden Lives, all in 2005. The same year, she played the clairvoyant lead role of Alison Mundy opposite Andrew Lincoln's sceptical Robert Bridge in ITV's supernatural drama series afterlife. Although the subject matter was seen as quite controversial, it was generally received positively by critics and audiences.

After a ten-year break from stagework, October 2005 saw Sharp return to the theatre as Emma in Sam Shepard's The God of Hell at the Donmar Warehouse.

Early 2009 saw Sharp playing Petronella Van Daan in the BBC's new version of The Diary of Anne Frank. Next up was a role, playing Paddy Considine's wife, in Channel 4's acclaimed drama series Red Riding. She then joined the cast in the BBC daytime drama series Moving On, for which Jimmy McGovern was the executive producer. Sharp played Sylvie, a woman whose life becomes dominated by fear, in ""Butterfly Effect", the last of five individual stories. Sharp starred in a 2009 revival of The Rise and Fall of Little Voice at the Vaudeville Theatre with Marc Warren and Diana Vickers.