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TV talk Colman cuts the mustard ; Actress Olivia Colman has garnered a string of accolades and fans, but remains refreshingly down-to-earth, says...

May 11, 2013


TV talk Colman cuts the mustard ; Actress Olivia Colman has garnered a string of accolades and fans, but remains refreshingly down-to-earth, says Kate Whiting

If you were to write a list of everything you wanted in a friend, sweet, funny'' and modest'' would probably all feature as desirable traits. And they're all words you could use to describe actress Olivia Colman - who's also one of the most refreshingly honest people you could meet.

Take her thoughts on cosmetic surgery, for example. I'd love my eye bags to be sucked off, I'd love to have a chin again. I think everybody thinks that, but whether you do it or not, I don't know.

If you see me next time and I look amazing, I'll have had something done, she says, giggling.

Colman is riding high at the moment.

She's just starred in the runaway ITV success Broadchurch and has two Bafta nominations: for best leading actress in The Accused and best female comedy Performance in Olympics sitcom 2012.

Whether she wins them both at the Bafta Television Awards tomorrow remains to be seen, but they show her versatility.

Although she's still most recognised for the Channel 4 sitcom Peep Show, in which she made her name alongside David Mitchell and Robert Webb, the 2011 film Tyrannosaur, in which she played a physically-abused wife, revealed she was just as strong at drama. The role also brought her nufriends, merous awards, including a Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival and a British Independent Film Award.

If I was allowed to do both (comedy and drama), I'd be so happy, she says. The more you do one, the more they forget you in the other one, it's so tricky and you don't really ever have a choice. But I love both.

If I was really pushed, if the gun was against my head, I think I might... oh, I don't know! At the moment, I'm really revelling in doing drama though, because I wasn't allowed to do it for so long.

It's drama she's about to do again, as she teams up with Tyrannosaur director Paddy Considine in ITV's follow-up to last year's The Suspicions of Mr Whicher. Colman admits the fact her friend Considine was playing Mr Whicher was a major attraction.

I said yes before I'd read it, because I heard Paddy was in it and then was pleasantly surprised to hear I'd said yes to a good script, so that was lucky!'' She had watched the first drama about the 19th-century Scotland Yard detective who investigates the murder of a wealthy three-year-old boy and correctly points the finger at his jealous half-sister.

I think I've seen everything Paddy's been in, says 39-year-old Colman, excitedly, suddenly aware she sounds slightly obsessed. Luckily, we're so it's all right, but before I met him, I was just in awe of him. I'm one of his biggest fans.

In this feature-length one-off, Jack Whicher rescues respectable country lady Susan Spencer (Colman) from a violent robbery in a dodgy part of London, and she then hires him as a private inquiry agent'' to find her missing teenage niece, who she was looking after. It soon turns into a murder inquiry.

Colman, who has two children with her husband Ed Sinclair, drew on her experience of motherhood for the more emotional scenes.

As soon as they realise you can cry, that's all the parts you get. I can't stop, though, it's awful. If they say, 'This scene doesn't have any crying in it', I think, if there's a dead kid in it, I'm not going to be able to stop.'' Besides having children, Colman is most proud of her performance in Tyrannosaur. And then there was the moment when Meryl Streep, in her Bafta acceptance speech for best actress for playing Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady, thanked Colman (who played Carol Thatcher) and described her as divinely gifted.

I've rewound that and watched it quite a few times... admits the actress. The Suspicions Of Mr Whicher: The Murder In Angel Lane is on ITV tomorrow.

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