Anna Chancellor

Last updated

Anna Chancellor
Anna Theodora Chancellor

(1965-04-27) 27 April 1965 (age 57)
Richmond, London, England
Years active1990–present
Relatives Edward Chancellor, brother

Anna Theodora Chancellor (born 27 April 1965) is a British actress who has received nominations for BAFTA and Olivier Awards.


Background and early life

Chancellor was born in Richmond, England to barrister John Paget Chancellor, eldest son of Sir Christopher Chancellor, and Mary Jolliffe, a daughter of Lord Hylton. The Chancellor family were Scottish gentry who had owned land at Quothquan since 1432. [1]

Chancellor was brought up in Somerset and educated at St Mary's School, Shaftesbury, which was a Roman Catholic boarding school for girls in Dorset, but left at sixteen to live in London, later describing her early years there as "quite wild". [2] In her early twenties she married the poet Jock Scot (1952–2016), with whom she had a daughter in 1988 while still studying at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art. She separated from Scot a few years later. [3] She got her first acting role on television playing Mercedes Page in Jupiter Moon , a BSkyB soap, then came a commercial for Boddingtons beer and a part in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), [2] playing Henrietta (nicknamed "Duckface") opposite Hugh Grant.

Chancellor is a niece of the journalist Alexander Chancellor, a great-granddaughter of Raymond Asquith (son of the liberal prime minister H. H. Asquith), a first cousin of both the actress Dolly Wells [4] and the model Cecilia Chancellor, a second cousin of the actress Helena Bonham Carter, and the great niece of Jane Austen eight generations removed. [5] [6] [7] Chancellor herself has spoken of her lineage, stating:

You've worked hard all your life to be an actress, or whatever you've done, and that is what's presented to you. Don't you think that's embarrassing? I don't enjoy being quoted as saying that's who I am, because I don't feel that is who I am. [6]


Chancellor played Julia Piper in series 1 to 3 of Kavanagh QC . She also played Caroline Bingley in the 1995 BBC adaptation of Pride and Prejudice, and Questular Rontok in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (2005). The same year, she joined the cast of BBC One television drama series Spooks as Juliet Shaw. She has also appeared in The Vice , Karaoke , Cold Lazarus , The Dreamers , Tipping the Velvet and Fortysomething , and had a leading role in the satirical black comedy Suburban Shootout . In 2011, she took a supporting role in the BBC thriller serial The Hour , for which she was nominated for the British Academy Television Award for Best Supporting Actress. [8]

In 1997, she was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her performance in Stanley , and in 2013 she was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress for her part in Private Lives .


She is a patron of the London children's charity Scene & Heard. [9]


Dagger-14-plain.pngDenotes works that have not yet been released


1990Killing Dad or How to Love Your MotherBarmaid
1993 Century Woman in Police Station
1994 Four Weddings and a Funeral Henrietta ‘Duck Face’– Wedding Four
Tom and Viv Woman
Staggered Carmen Svennipeg
Princess Caraboo Mrs. Peake
1997 FairyTale: A True Story Peter Pan
The Man Who Knew Too Little Barbara Ritchie
1999 Heart Nicola Farmer
2001 Crush Molly Cartwright
2003 What a Girl Wants Glynnis Payne
The Dreamers Mother
ConfusedShort film
2004 Agent Cody Banks 2: Destination London Lady Josephine Kenworth
2005 The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Questular Rontok
FeederDoctorShort film
The Best Man Dana
2006 Breaking and Entering Kate
2007 St. Trinians Miss Bagstock
2010Critical EyeLaura
2012More Afraid of YouLucyShort film
2011 Hysteria Mrs Bellamy
2012More of YouLucyShort film
2013 How I Live Now Aunt Penn
Confessions of an Alien AbducteeNarrator
Noël Coward's Private Lives Amanda Prynne
2014Death Knight Love StoryMiriaVoice role
Testament of Youth Mrs. Leighton
2016The CarerMilly
This Beautiful Fantastic Bramble
2017 Love of My Life Grace
2018 The Happy Prince Mrs Arbuthnot
Benjamin Tessa
Nativity Rocks! Clara Hargreaves
2019For Love or MoneyCarol
2020 Come Away Eleanor MurrowFilm
2022 Mrs. Harris Goes to Paris Lady Dant
2022 Stromboli Diane


1990–1996 Jupiter Moon Mercedes Page50 episodes
1992 Inspector Morse Sally SmithEpisode: "Cherubim and Seraphim"
1993 Agatha Christie's Poirot Virginie MesnardEpisode: "The Chocolate Box"
Comedy Playhouse JuliaEpisode: "The Complete Guide to Relationships"
1994EllingtonAlly StoneTV film
1995 Pride & Prejudice Caroline BingleyMiniseries; 6 episodes
1995–1997 Kavanagh QC Julia Piper11 episodes
1996 Karaoke Anna GriffithsMiniseries; 4 episodes
Cold Lazarus Anna GriffithsMiniseries; 3 episodes
1999 The Vice Dr. Christine Weir5 episodes
2000 Longitude Muriel GouldTV film
2001 The Cazalets Diana Mackintosh6 episodes
2002 Tipping the Velvet Diana Lethaby2 episodes
2002The Real Jane AustenHerself/hostTV special
2003Georgian UnderworldNarratorEpisode: "Queer as 18th Century Folk"
Doc Martin and the Legend of the CloutieNicky BowdenTV film
Fortysomething Estelle Slippery6 episodes
2004Blue DoveMaria Bishop2 episodes
Roman Road Maddy BancroftTV film
2005 A Waste of Shame: Shakespeare and His Sonnets Anne HathawayTV film
2005–2007 Spooks Juliet Shaw15 episodes
2006 Rebus Amanda MorrisonEpisode: "Let It Bleed"
The Secret Life of Mrs Beeton Elizabeth DorlingTV film
2006–2007 Suburban Shootout Camilla Diamond11 episodes
2007 Sherlock Holmes and the Baker Street Irregulars Irene Adler TV film
Christmas at the Riviera DianeTV film
2008 My Family Zelda NobbsEpisode: "Cards on the Table"
Agatha Christie's Marple : Murder Is Easy Lydia HortonTV film
2009 Law & Order: UK Evelyn Wyndham2 episodes
2010 Silent Witness Chief Supt. Karen Somerville2 episodes
Miranda HelenaEpisode: "A New Low"
2011 Hustle Wendy StantonEpisode: "As Good as it Gets"
Waking the Dead Lucy Christie2 episodes
Lewis Judith SuskinEpisode: "The Gift of Promise"
Hidden Elspeth Verney4 episodes
2011–2012 The Hour Lix Storm12 episodes
Nominated – British Academy Television Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated – Broadcasting Press Guild Award for Best Actress
2012–2014 Pramface Janet Derbyshire14 episodes
2012 We'll Take Manhattan Lucie ClaytonTV film
2013 A Touch of Cloth Hope Goodgirl2 episodes
2014 Inside No. 9 ElizabethEpisode: "Sardines"
Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond Second Officer Monday4 episodes
Penny Dreadful Claire Ives1 episode
Downton Abbey Lady Anstruther1 episode
Mapp and Lucia Emmeline 'Lucia' Lucas3 episodes
2016 Shetland Phyllis Brennan4 episodes
New Blood Eleanor Davies7 episodes
Grantchester Aunt CeceChristmas special
Flowers Aunty Viv1 episode
2017 The Crown Lady Rosse Episode: "Matrimonium"
2018 Ordeal by Innocence Rachel Argyll3 episodes [10]
Trust Penelope Kittson5 episodes
2019 Death in Paradise Ciss DacreEpisode: "Frappe Death Day"
TimewastersVictoria5 episodes
2019–2021 Pennyworth Dr. Frances Gaunt7 episodes
2020–2022 The Split Melanie AickmanSeries 2-3 [11]
2021 The Watch [12] Lord Vetinari Main role
2022 Hotel Portofino Lady LatchmereMain role
That Dirty Black Bag HellenTV Series



Chancellor has played the role of Ann Smiley in BBC dramatisations of the John le Carré novels Call for the Dead , [15] Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy , [16] The Honourable Schoolboy [17] and Smiley's People . [18]

Related Research Articles

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Zoë Wanamaker</span> British actress

Zoë Wanamaker is a British actress who has worked extensively with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre. Wanamaker was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2001 by Queen Elizabeth II. She has received numerous accolades including a Laurence Olivier Award and nominations for three BAFTA Awards, and four Tony Awards.

Georgina "Gina" McKee is an English actress. She won the 1997 BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for Our Friends in the North (1996), and earned subsequent nominations for The Lost Prince (2003) and The Street (2007). She also starred on television in The Forsyte Saga (2002) and as Caterina Sforza in The Borgias (2011). Her film appearances include Notting Hill (1999), Phantom Thread (2017), and My Policeman (2022).

<i>Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy</i> Spy novel by John le Carré

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a 1974 spy novel by British author John le Carré. It follows the endeavours of taciturn, aging spymaster George Smiley to uncover a Soviet mole in the British Secret Intelligence Service. The novel has received critical acclaim for its complex social commentary—and, at the time, relevance, following the defection of Kim Philby. The novel has been adapted into both a television series and a film, and remains a staple of the spy fiction genre.

George Smiley OBE is a fictional character created by John le Carré. Smiley is a career intelligence officer with "The Circus", the British overseas intelligence agency. He is a central character in the novels Call for the Dead, A Murder of Quality, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Honourable Schoolboy, and Smiley's People, and a supporting character in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, The Looking Glass War, The Secret Pilgrim and A Legacy of Spies. The character has also appeared in a number of film, television, and radio adaptations of le Carré's books.

<i>The Honourable Schoolboy</i> 1977 novel by John le Carré

The Honourable Schoolboy (1977) is a spy novel by British writer John le Carré. George Smiley must reconstruct an intelligence service in order to run a successful offensive espionage operation to save the service from being dismantled by the government. In 1977, the book won the Gold Dagger award for the best crime novel of the year and the James Tait Black Memorial Prize. The Honourable Schoolboy is the second novel in the omnibus titled either Smiley Versus Karla or The Quest for Karla.

Rachael Atlanta Stirling is an English stage, film and television actress. She has been nominated twice for the Laurence Olivier Award for her stage work. She played Nancy Astley in the BBC drama Tipping the Velvet, and Millie in the ITV series The Bletchley Circle. She has also guest starred in Lewis and one episode of Doctor Who, co-starring with her mother Diana Rigg.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Sophie Thompson</span> British actress

Sophie Thompson is a British actress who has worked in film, television and theatre. A six-time Olivier Award nominee, she won the 1999 Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for the London revival of Into the Woods. Her other nominations were for Wildest Dreams (1994), Company (1996), Clybourne Park (2011) Guys and Dolls (2016) and 'Present Laughter' (2019).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Beryl Reid</span> British actress

Beryl Elizabeth Reid,, was a British actress of stage and screen. She won the 1967 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for The Killing of Sister George, the 1980 Olivier Award for Best Comedy Performance for Born in the Gardens, and the 1982 BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for Smiley's People. Her film appearances included The Belles of St. Trinian's (1954), The Killing of Sister George (1968), The Assassination Bureau (1969), and No Sex Please, We're British (1973).

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Jenna Russell</span> British actress

Jenna Russell is an English actress and singer. She has appeared on the stage in London in both musicals and dramas, as well as appearing with the Royal Shakespeare Company. She performed the role of Dot in Sunday in the Park with George in the West End and on Broadway, receiving the Tony Award nomination and the 2006 Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her role. She has also appeared in several television series, including Born and Bred and EastEnders.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Indira Varma</span> British actress and narrator

Indira Anne Varma is a British actress and narrator. Her film debut and first major role was in Kama Sutra: A Tale of Love. She has gone on to appear in the television series The Canterbury Tales, Rome, Luther, Human Target, and Game of Thrones. In September 2016 she began starring in the ITV/Netflix series Paranoid as DS Nina Suresh.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Simon Russell Beale</span> British actor

Sir Simon Russell Beale is an English actor. He is known for his performances in film, television and theatre. He's received numerous accolades including two BAFTA Awards, three Olivier Awards, and a Tony Award. For his services to drama, he was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 2019. Beale has been described by The Independent as "the greatest stage actor of his generation".

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Nicola Walker</span> British actress (born 1970)

Nicola Jane Walker is an English actress, known for her starring roles in various British television programmes from the 1990s onwards, including that of Ruth Evershed in the spy drama Spooks and DCI Cassie Stuart in Unforgotten (2015–2021). She has also worked in theatre, radio and film. She won the 2013 Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress for the play The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, and was twice nominated for the BAFTA TV Award for Best Supporting Actress for the BBC drama Last Tango in Halifax.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Ruth Wilson</span> British actress

Ruth Wilson is an English actress. She is known for her performances as the eponymous protagonist in Jane Eyre (2006), as Alice Morgan in the BBC psychological crime drama Luther, as Alison Lockhart in the Showtime drama The Affair (2014–2018), and as the eponymous character in Mrs Wilson (2018). Since 2019, she has portrayed Marisa Coulter in the BBC/HBO fantasy series His Dark Materials, and for this role she won the 2020 BAFTA Cymru Award for Best Actress. Her film credits include The Lone Ranger (2013), Saving Mr. Banks (2013), I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House (2016), and Dark River (2017).

Deborah Findlay is an English actress. She joined a theatre company while studying English at the University of Leeds.

Lara Pulver is an English actress. She has played Erin Watts in the BBC spy drama Spooks and Irene Adler on BBC's TV adaptation Sherlock. She won the 2016 Olivier Award for Best Supporting Actress in a Musical in the West End's revival of the Broadway musical Gypsy.

Samantha Spiro is an English actress and singer. She is best known for portraying Barbara Windsor in the stage play Cleo, Camping, Emmanuelle and Dick and the television films Cor, Blimey! and Babs, DI Vivien Friend in M.I.T.: Murder Investigation Team, Melessa Tarly in the HBO series Game of Thrones and Maureen Groff in Sex Education. She has won two Laurence Olivier Awards.

Connie Sachs is a fictional character created by John le Carré. Sachs plays a key supporting role in the Karla Trilogy, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, The Honourable Schoolboy, and Smiley's People.

<i>Smileys People</i> (TV series) British television miniseries

Smiley’s People is a 1982 British six-part spy drama by the BBC. Directed by Simon Langton and produced by Jonathan Powell, it is the television adaptation of the 1979 spy novel Smiley's People by John le Carré, and a sequel to Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. Starring Alec Guinness, Michael Byrne, Anthony Bate and Bernard Hepton, it was first shown in the United Kingdom from 20 September to 25 October 1982, and in the United States beginning on 25 October 1982.

Gerald Westerby, or Jerry Westerby, is a fictional character created by John le Carré, and is the titular figure in The Honourable Schoolboy.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Rosalie Craig</span> English actress (born 1981)

Rosalie Mae Craig is an English actress, noted for her performances in musical theatre. In 2013 she received her first major award, a London Evening Standard Award for Best Performance in a Musical.


  1. Burke's Landed Gentry, eighteenth edition, vol. I, ed. Peter Townend, 1965, p. 130
  2. 1 2 Tim Lewis, Anna Chancellor: 'My life was chaotic. But it's turned out OK' dated 21 August 2011 at Retrieved 23 October 2016
  3. "Jock Scot, performance poet – obituary", in The Daily Telegraph online dated 15 April 2016. Retrieved 23 October 2016
  4. Burke's Peerage, Baronetage and Knightage, vol. III, 2003, pg 3046
  5. Jane Merrick, world's most elitist election. Hereditary peers will vote to fill the gap created by the death of Lord Ferrers dated 9 December 2012 at Retrieved 23 October 2016
  6. 1 2 Gerard Gilbert, Anna Chancellor has a lineage worthy of Tatler but... dated 20 December 2014 at Retrieved 4 October 2016
  7. "- YouTube". YouTube .
  8. The Hour at IMDb
  9. "Patrons & Founders – Scene & Heard". 2012. Retrieved 31 May 2016.
  10. Billen, Andrew (31 March 2018). "Ordeal by Innocence: the Christie Mystery that almost got away". The Times. No. 72497. Saturday Review. pp. 4–5. ISSN   0140-0460.
  11. "Meet the cast of the Split series 2".
  12. "New casting announced for TV adaptation 'The Watch'".
  13. "Review of Private Lives". Time Out. Retrieved 15 July 2013.
  14. Masters, Tim (27 June 2014). "Anna Chancellor leads Royal Court revolution". BBC News. Retrieved 23 October 2016.
  15. "The Complete Smiley: Call for the Dead". BBC. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  16. "The Complete Smiley: Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy". BBC. Retrieved 7 August 2020.
  17. "The Complete Smiley – The Karla Trilogy, Book 2: The Honourable Schoolboy". BBC. Retrieved 26 October 2013.
  18. "The Complete Smiley - The Karla Trilogy, Book 3: Smiley's People". BBC. Retrieved 7 August 2020.