Five peeps into the life of Bafta winner Olivia Colman

May 13, 2013

She found fame as Sophie in Peep Show, but Bafta wins confirm her as 'national treasure'

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OLIVIA COLMAN was the big story of the Bafta TV Awards last night, winning best supporting actress for the BBC courtroom drama Accused and best female in a comedy programme for the Olympics satire Twenty-Twelve. The double win confirms the 39-year-old actress as a "national treasure", says The Independent. But who is she exactly?

She might have been a primary teacher: Colman was born in Norfolk and enjoyed a "boringly happy" childhood, the Daily Telegraph says. She first caught the acting bug at 16 playing Miss Jean Brodie in a play at her all-girls private school. Colman enrolled in a teacher training college at Cambridge, but was lured back to the stage when she joined the famous Footlights student drama society. It was there she met future stars including Peep Show's David Mitchell and Robert Webb and comedian Peter Serafinowicz.

She met her future husband in a play: Colman was cast in a Cambridge production of Alan Ayckbourn's Table Manners when she first glimpsed her future husband, the writer Ed Sinclair. His "right-hand profile" was enough to convince her that she'd met the man she would marry, although he took some convincing. "I still feel I'm punching above my weight," Colman says. "We've been together 18 years now, half our lives, and we've loved it." The couple have two young sons.

Peep Show was her big breakthrough: Colman became famous in 2003 playing David Mitchell's "sensible" girlfriend Sophie in the award-winning comedy, Peep Show. Sophie was "manipulative and conniving," says Colman.

She researched the role of Carol Thatcher by watching reality TV: Colman did not meet Baroness Thatcher's daughter prior to making the 2011 movie The Iron Lady with Meryl Streep in the title role. Instead, Colman studied Thatcher's appearances in the 2005 series of I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out Of Here!. "She [Thatcher] was hilarious. And if you're ever going to be stuck in the jungle you'd want her on your team," Colman said.

She still worries about getting work: Acclaimed roles in TV shows such as Rev, Broadchurch and Twenty-Twelve have confirmed her as "Britain's most versatile actress", The Independent says. But the actress insists the fear of not working still keeps her awake at night.

Bafta TV Awards winners:

Best actor - Ben Whishaw, Richard II (The Hollow Crown)

Best actress - Sheridan Smith, Mrs Biggs

Female comedy performance - Olivia Colman, Twenty Twelve

Male comedy performance - Steve Coogan, Welcome To The Places Of My Life

Supporting actor - Simon Russell Beale, Henry IV Part 2 (The Hollow Crown)

Supporting Actress - Olivia Colman, Accused (Mo's Story)

Drama series - Last Tango in Halifax

Sport and live event - The London 2012 Paralympic Games

News coverage - Hillsborough - The Truth at Last (Granada Reports)

Current Affairs - The Shame of the Catholic Church

Sitcom - Twenty Twelve

Soap and continuing drama - EastEnders

Audience award - Game of Thrones

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