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Fenella Woolgar

Fenella Woolgar

English actress
Fenella Woolgar
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro English actress
Is Actor
From United Kingdom
Type Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender female
Birth 4 August 1969, London
Age 51 years
The details


Fenella Woolgar (born 4 August 1969) is an English actress. She trained at RADA graduating in 1999. She has worked in film with Mike Leigh, Woody Allen, Stephen Frears and Stephen Fry; television - most recently in Harlots for ITV and Hulu; theatre at the Donmar, National, Old Vic and Royal Court and regularly on radio for BBC Radio 4.


Early life

Woolgar is the daughter of Michael Woolgar and Maureen Woolgar (née McCann). Her mother is of Irish descent. Woolgar's early years were spent in New Canaan, Connecticut. She was educated at Mayfield Convent, Durham University, and then Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). At university, along with acting she directed Murder in the Cathedral in Durham Cathedral and wrote and performed comedy in The Durham Revue.


Following her graduation from RADA in 1999 she worked in rep at The Royal Exchange, Manchester, York Theatre Royal, Sheffield Crucible and for the BBC in both television and radio. In 2002 she was cast as Agatha in Stephen Fry's film Bright Young Things for which she was nominated for multiple awards. She subsequently went on to work with Mike Leigh in Vera Drake and Turner; Conor McPherson in The Veil at the National Theatre and Woody Allen in Scoop and You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger. She played Agatha Christie in Doctor Who in 2008. She has most recently worked in theatre at the Donmar, Royal Court, National Theatre; the Old Vic and in the West End. She won the Clarence Derwent Award for Best Supporting Actress in the West End in 2013 and the Sunday Times Culture Award for Stage Performance of the Year 2014 for playing Margaret Thatcher in Handbagged. She is regularly heard on the radio and was nominated for Best Actress on the radio in 2013 for An American Rose in which she played Rosemary Kennedy. She played the title role in Mrs Dalloway for BBC Radio 4 and Edith Wharton in both The Jinx Element and Ethan Frome. She stars in the BBC Radio 4 comedy Dot. She has narrated several audiobooks and was nominated for Audio Book of the Year 2013. Woolgar starred in 2014 and 2015 as Alison Scotlock in Home Fires.

Awards and award nominations

  • Stage Performance of the Year – The Sunday Times Culture Awards 2014


  • Clarence Derwent Award for Best Supporting Actress in the West End 2013.

Woolgar has been nominated for several awards, including:

  • Best Supporting Actress – What's On Stage Awards 2013
  • Best Actress – BBC Radio Drama Awards 2013
  • Best Audio Book of the Year (for Life After Life) 2013
  • Best Supporting Actress – British Independent Film Awards 2003
  • Best Supporting Actress – Empire Film Awards 2003
  • Best Supporting Actress – London Critics Circle 2003
  • Best Newcomer – Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2003
  • Best Supporting Actress – Manchester Evening News Awards 2000 and 2001


2017 Feature Film, Miss Phipps, Victoria and Abdul, Stephen Frears

2016 Feature Film, Dolly, Whisky Galore, Gillies Mackinnon

2016 Feature Film, Miss Crummock, Swallows and Amazons, BBC Films, Philippa Lowthorpe

2013 Feature Film, Elizabeth Eastlake, Mr Turner, Thin Man Films, Mike Leigh

2011 Feature Film, Nancy Dakin, Cheerful Weather for the Wedding, Donald Rice

2009 Feature Film, Jane, You Will meet a Tall Dark Stranger, Woody Allen

2007 Feature Film, Miss Cleaver, St Trinians, Oliver Parker and Barnaby Thompson

2005 Feature Film, Jane, Scoop, Woody Allen

2004 Feature Film, June, Wah Wah, Richard E Grant

2003 Feature Film, Hester, Vera Drake, Thin Man Films, Mike Leigh

2003 Feature Film, Aurelia Meresvale, Stage Beauty, Richard Eyre

2003 Feature Film, Agatha, Bright Young Things, Stephen Fry


2017 Lady Repton, Harlots, ITV and Hulu, Coky Giedroyc

2016 and 2015 Alison, Home Fires Series 1 and 2, ITV, Robert Quinn

2015 Catiche, War and Peace, BBC

2012 Angela Hope, Spies of Warsaw, BBC, Coky Giedroyc

2010 Amelia Land, Case Histories, BBC, Marc Jobst

2009 Miss Whittaker, Poirot, ITV, Charlie Palmer

2008 Heidi, Freezing, BBC, Simon Curtis

2008 Agatha Christie, Doctor Who, BBC, Graeme Harper

2006 Min, Jekyll, Hartswood Films and BBC, Douglas Mackinnon and Matt Lipsey

2006 Angela, Mr Loveday's Little Outing, BBC, Sam Hobkinson

2003 Arabella French, He Knew He Was Right, BBC, Tom Vaughan

2001 Lady Julia Monogram, The Way We Live Now, BBC, David Yates

2001 Mrs Watson, People Like Us, BBC, John Morton

Year Title Director Character Format Notes
2001 The Way We Live Now Lady Julia Monogram TV serial Episodes: 1 and 2
2003 Bright Young Things Stephen Fry Hon. Agatha Runcible Feature film Nominated – British Independent Film Award for Most Promising Newcomer
Nominated – Empire Award for Best Newcomer
Nominated – London Film Critics Circle Award for British Supporting Actress of the Year
Eroica Princess Lobkowitz TV film
2004 He Knew He Was Right Arabella French TV mini-series
Stage Beauty Richard Eyre Lady Meresvale Feature film
Vera Drake Mike Leigh Susan's Confidante Feature film
2005 Wah-Wah Richard E Grant June Broughton Feature film
2006 Scoop Woody Allen Jane Cook Feature film
2007 Jekyll Min TV series
St. Trinian's Miss Cleaver Feature film
2008 Doctor Who Agatha Christie TV series Episode: "The Unicorn and the Wasp"
How to Lose Friends & Alienate People Bob Weide Post Modern Review Staff No. 3 Feature film
2009 St. Trinian's II: The Legend of Fritton's Gold Miss Cleaver Feature film
2010 BioShock 2 Sofia Lamb Video game Voice only
2010 Agatha Christie's Poirot Elizabeth Whittaker TV series Episode: "Hallowe'en Party"
2010 You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger Woody Allen Jane Feature film
2011 Case Histories Amelia Land TV series Episode: 1.1
2011 Cheerful Weather for the Wedding Donald Rice Nancy Dakin Feature film
2013 Spies of Warsaw Coky Giedroyc Lady Angela Hope TV Mini-series
2014 Mr. Turner Mike Leigh Lady Elizabeth Eastlake Feature film
2015 Home Fires Alison Scotlock TV Series
2016 War and Peace Catiche TV series
2016 Swallows and Amazons Miss Crummock Feature film
2016 Whisky Galore Gillies MacKinnon Dolly Feature film


  • 2016: Valerie, Welcome Home Captain Fox, Donmar Warehouse, London
  • 2014: Margaret Thatcher (Mags) in Handbagged, Vaudeville Theatre, London
  • 2013: Margaret Thatcher (Mags) in Handbagged by Moira Buffini, Tricycle Theatre, London
  • 2013: Theresa in Circle Mirror Transformation, Royal Court Local Theatre, Rose Lipman Building, Haggerston, London
  • 2012: Thea Elvsted in Brian Friel's adaptation of Hedda Gabler, Old Vic, London
  • 2011: Madeleine, The Veil by Conor McPherson, National Theatre, London, directed by Conor McPherson
  • 2010: Charlotte, The Real Thing at the Old Vic, London
  • 2009: Madge, Time and the Conways, National Theatre, London directed by Rupert Goold
  • 2006: Helen, Motortown, Royal Court, London
  • 2005: Charlotte Brontë, Brontë, Shared Experience Theatre Company
  • 2004: Adela, Passage to India, Shared Experience Theatre Company
  • 2002: Helena, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Royal Exchange Theatre, Manchester
  • 2002: Emma, Way Upstream, Derby Playhouse
  • 2001: Teresa, How the Other Half Loves, Watford Palace Theatre
  • 2001: Eleanor, The Miser, Salisbury Playhouse
  • 2000: Celia, As You Like It, Royal Exchange, Manchester
  • 2000: Kitty Verdun, Charley's Aunt, Sheffield Crucible
  • 2000: Lucy, Bring Me Sunshine, Royal Exchange, Manchester
  • 1999: Varya, The Cherry Orchard, York Theatre Royal
  • 1994: Nelly, Playboy of the Western World, Bristol Old Vic
  • 'Handbagged' programme. Vaudeville Theatre. 



  • Book of the Week for Radio 4 including Only In Naples by Katherine Wilson and Millions Like Us by Virginia Nicholson
  • Dot in 'Dot' by Ed Harris
  • Blood Sex and Money - Zola, BBC Radio 4 Polly Thomas written by Dan Rebellato
  • Mrs Dalloway in Mrs Dalloway, BBC Radio 4 Marc Beeby
  • Rosemary Kennedy in An American Rose, BBC Radio 4 Sally Avens
  • Edith Wharton in Ethan Frome and in The Jinx Element, BBC Radio 4 Sally Avens
  • Before They Were Famous, Hat Trick
  • Flaw in the Motor, Dust in the Blood, BBC Radio 4, Toby Swift written by Trevor Preston


Life After Life by Kate Atkinson and The Other Family and Daughters in Law by Joanna Trollope

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