Rebecca Front

Last updated

Rebecca Front
Rebecca Louise Front

(1964-05-16) 16 May 1964 (age 57)
Alma mater St Hugh's College, Oxford
OccupationActress, writer, comedian
Years active1991–present
Phil Clymer
(m. 1998)

Rebecca Louise Front (born 16 May 1964) is an English actress, writer and comedian. She won the 2010 BAFTA TV Award for Best Female Comedy Performance for The Thick of It (2009–2012). [1] She is also known for her work in numerous other British comedies, including the radio show On The Hour (1992), The Day Today (1994), Knowing Me, Knowing You… with Alan Partridge (1994), Time Gentlemen Please (2000–2002), sketch show Big Train (2002), and Nighty Night (2004–2005).


Front has also been seen in a number of dramatic roles, including Chief Superintendent Jean Innocent in Lewis (2006–2014), Mrs. Bennet in Death Comes to Pemberley (2013), Mrs. Landau in The Eichmann Show (2015), and Vera in Humans (2015).

Early life

Front was born in Stoke Newington, London, to Sheila and Charles Front. Her mother wrote children's books, which her father illustrated. [2] Her father also designed the title-logo on the cover of The Beatles' album Rubber Soul . [3] Her father is Jewish and her mother is of Jewish and Welsh descent. [4] [5] Front was brought up in Reform Judaism. [6]

Front became involved in comedy while at St Hugh's College at the University of Oxford, [7] where she read English and became the first female president of The Oxford Revue. [8] She also trained at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. [7]


While at Oxford in 1984, she took part in the revue Stop the Weak. The tour played in Oxford itself, the Gate Theatre, Notting Hill, Edinburgh, Salisbury, and Romsey. In 1985, Front teamed up with Sioned Wiliam and Jon Magnusson to take the show The Bobo Girls go BOO to Edinburgh. She made a short promotional video on energy conservation with Michael Simkins in the late 1980s.

Front achieved a higher profile as a result of her work with Stewart Lee and Richard Herring on the radio shows Lionel Nimrod's Inexplicable World and On the Hour , and the television and radio series Fist of Fun . She went on to form a close professional association with Chris Morris, Armando Iannucci, Doon Mackichan and Steve Coogan, who all transferred with Front to The Day Today, the television version of On the Hour. Completing The Day Today were Patrick Marber, who was part of the 1984 Oxford University revue with Front and David Schneider, who took part in the 1985 revue. This cast continued to contribute to the Alan Partridge comedy canon throughout the 1990s.

In recent years Front has also become a fixture on comedy panel shows on British television and radio including The News Quiz , Have I Got News for You and If I Ruled The World . She has also had minor roles in The Smell of Reeves and Mortimer , Absolute Power and Absolutely Fabulous and she has also played straight acting roles in television drama, including You Can Choose Your Friends, The Rotters' Club, Kavanagh QC , Lewis and Jonathan Creek .

In 2003, she was listed in The Observer as one of the 50 funniest acts in British comedy. From 2006, she has written columns for The Guardian . In 2007, she guest-starred in the Doctor Who audio drama The Mind's Eye .

From 2006 until 2014, Front had a recurring role as Chief Superintendent Jean Innocent on the detective drama series Lewis , the successor to Inspector Morse on ITV.

In 2009 and 2012, respectively, she played Nicola Murray MP, Secretary of State for Citizenship and Social Affairs and in charge of the dysfunctional 'DoSAC', and later, Leader of the Opposition, in the third and fourth series of political satire The Thick of It . [9] Front featured in the 2010 BBC comedy series Grandma's House playing the part of Simon Amstell's mother Tanya, [10] and Just William , as the mother of William Brown and also starred in the 2011 live-action 3D family comedy film Horrid Henry: The Movie as Henry's headmistress, Miss Oddbod.

In 2012 Front starred as the psychiatrist in the Sky Arts sketch series "Psychobitches", where Front's character offers therapy to notable women of history and the present day, including Anne Boleyn, Mary Queen of Scots, Mary Shelley, Enid Blyton, Eva Braun, Mary Pickford, Edith Piaf, and Anna Nicole Smith. [11] The series aired on the British television channel Sky Arts 1. The first episode of a second series was broadcast on 25 November 2014. [12]

In 2013, Front starred in the new Sky Living comedy The Spa , in the role of Alison Crabbe. [13] She plays Cox in The Wrong Mans , [14] a six-part comedy-thriller for BBC Two. The premiere was on 24 September 2013. She reprised this role in December 2014 for a special two-parter. She narrated Fox Wars which was broadcast on 22 October 2013.

In December 2013, Sky Atlantic aired a new comedy series called Little Cracker . The second programme in the series was an autobiographical story written by Front and her brother Jeremy. It concerns the time she witnessed the near-drowning of her father in a lake; that incident was closely followed by the death of her grandfather. The proximity of these two experiences caused Front considerable personal anguish. Front was eleven years old at the time and, because of the trauma she suffered, she went through a period of not wanting to attend school. The programme included a comedic treatment of this time in her life, followed by Front and her brother explaining the background to the story, and how they came to write and dramatise it. In the programme, Front was played by Lucy Hutchinson, and her father was played by the actor Richard Lumsden. Samantha Spiro played her mother and Front played her headmistress, Miss Dyson. Front's school friend character, Karen, was played by Imogen Front.

For their Christmas season, the BBC commissioned Death Comes to Pemberley , a three-part British television drama based on characters created by Jane Austen in her novel Pride and Prejudice . The first episode aired on BBC One at 8.15pm on Boxing Day 2013, was based on the best selling novel by P. D. James, the story returns to the world of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice and involves its characters in a new tale of murder and emotional mayhem. Front played the part of Mrs Bennet.

In January 2014, Front appeared in the Midsomer Murders episode "Let Us Prey", about a serial killer who uses medieval torture methods to dispatch their victims. [15]

Front also appeared in the BBC series Outnumbered , [16] playing the headmistress at Karen's school in early 2014.

Front portrayed Fiona in the BBC Radio 4 series Love in Recovery. She also starred in the sitcom Up the Women as Helen Bute, the antagonist for three episodes in mid-2013 and a six-episode series in 2015.

From 2014 to 2019, she narrated the Channel 4 series The Supervet . [17]

On 5 June 2015, the BBC announced Front would be a guest in the ninth series of Doctor Who . She appeared as Walsh in "The Zygon Invasion", directed by Daniel Nettheim. In the same year, she played Synth Vera in the Channel 4 series Humans .

In 2017, she co-wrote and appeared in the sitcom "Shush!" on BBC Radio 4, a sitcom set in a library.

Personal life

Front is married, with two children.

Front's book Curious: True Stories and Loose Connections (published 2014) is a collection of autobiographical stories. [18]

Jeremy Front, her brother, is a writer and comic actor. They have collaborated on writing and performance projects. The most recent is a series of spoof documentaries, Incredible Women, for BBC Radio 4. [19]

Selected filmography

Related Research Articles

Una Stubbs English actress, television personality, and former dancer

Una Stubbs is an English actress, television personality, and former dancer who has appeared on British television and in the theatre, and less frequently in films. She became widely known for appearing in the film Summer Holiday (1963) and later played Rita Rawlins in the BBC sitcoms Till Death Us Do Part and In Sickness and in Health. Other well-known television roles include Aunt Sally in Worzel Gummidge and Miss Bat in The Worst Witch. She more recently appeared as Sherlock Holmes's landlady Mrs. Hudson in the BAFTA award-winning television series Sherlock.

Joanna David is an English actress, best known for her television work.

Tamsin Morwenna Banks is a British comedy actress, writer and producer. She appeared in the Channel 4 comedy sketch show Absolutely, and wrote, produced, and appeared in the British ensemble film The Announcement. She voices Mummy Pig, Madame Gazelle and Dr Hamster in the children's series Peppa Pig.

Julia Davis

Julia Charlotte L. Davis is an English comedian, actress, writer, and director. She is known for writing and starring in the BBC Three comedy Nighty Night (2004–2005) and the comedies Hunderby (2012–2015) and Camping (2016), which she also directed. An eight-time BAFTA TV Award nominee, she won Best Comedy Writing for Hunderby in 2013. She played Dawn Sutcliffe in Gavin & Stacey. Her film roles include Love Actually (2003), Cemetery Junction (2010), Four Lions (2010) and the critically acclaimed Phantom Thread (2017). Davis created Sally4Ever in 2018, which won the British Academy Television Award for Best Scripted Comedy in May 2019.

Selina Jane Griffiths is a British actress mostly known for her performance as Pauline Maltby in Benidorm.

Annette Badland English actress

Annette Badland is an English actress known for a wide range of roles on television, radio, stage, and film. She is best known for her roles as Margaret Blaine in the BBC science fiction series Doctor Who, Mrs. Glenna Fitzgibbons in the first season of Outlander, and Babe Smith in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. She was nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role in 1993 for her performance in Jim Cartwright's play The Rise and Fall of Little Voice.

Haydn Gwynne

Haydn Gwynne is an English actress. She was nominated for the 1992 BAFTA TV Award for Best Light Entertainment Performance for the comedy series Drop the Dead Donkey (1990–1991), and won the 2009 Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical for her role in the Broadway production of Billy Elliot the Musical. She is also a four-time Olivier Award nominee. Her other television roles include Peak Practice (1999–2000), Merseybeat (2001–2002), and playing Camilla in The Windsors (2016–).

Marc James Wootton is an English character comedian. He is perhaps best known for his role as Mr Poppy in the Nativity! film series. Wootton is also known for his role as the fake medium and psychic, Shirley Ghostman, on the two BBC Three series, High Spirits with Shirley Ghostman and La La Land. He currently appears on Counterfeit Cat as the voice of Max.

Daphne Margaret du Grivel Oxenford was an English actress, known for her early stage roles, and later her radio and television work. She was best known for her role as original character Esther Hayes in Coronation Street. Other roles included Mrs Plummer in Man About the House (1973), Alice Dutton in EastEnders (1990), and Mrs. Oldknow in the mini-series The Children of Green Knowe (1986). She was to appear in the 2008 Doctor Who TV episode The Unicorn and the Wasp as an elderly Agatha Christie. The scene was filmed, but was cut from the final broadcast version, though later included in the DVD release.

Jenna Coleman English actress

Jenna-Louise Coleman, credited since 2013 as Jenna Coleman, is an English actress. She is best known for roles such as Jasmine Thomas in the soap opera Emmerdale, Clara Oswald in the science-fiction series Doctor Who, Queen Victoria in the period drama Victoria, Joanna Lindsay in the crime miniseries The Cry, and Marie-Andrée Leclerc in the crime miniseries The Serpent.

Sharon Horgan Irish actress, writer, comedian

Sharon Lorencia Horgan is an Irish actress, writer, comedian and producer. She is best known for the comedy series Pulling (2006–2009) and Catastrophe (2015–2019), both of which she starred in and co-wrote. She also created the HBO comedy series Divorce (2016–2019).

Georgie Glen is a British actress, known for her film and television work in both dramatic and comedic roles. Among her most popular performances are the running characters of Miss Higgins in the BBC One period drama series, Call The Midwife, from 2018 onwards, and of History teacher, Audrey McFall in the BBC One school-based drama series, Waterloo Road, from 2012 to 2015.

Linda Bassett is an English actress. Her television credits include Victoria Wood's dinnerladies (1999), Lark Rise to Candleford (2008–11), Grandma's House (2010–12) and Call the Midwife (2015–present).

Sheila Reid British actress (born 1937)

Sheila Reid is a Scottish actress, known for playing Madge Harvey in the ITV sitcom Benidorm (2007–2016). An original member of the Royal National Theatre in 1963, she played Bianca in the National's 1965 film version of Othello, with Laurence Olivier in the title role. Her other film appearances include Brazil (1985), The Winter Guest (1997) and Containment (2015).

Samantha Spiro is an English actress. 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, and Melessa Tarly in the HBO series Game of Thrones. She has won two Laurence Olivier Awards.

Vicki Pepperdine

Vicki Pepperdine is an English comedy actress and writer. She was nominated for two BAFTA TV Awards for co-writing the BBC sitcom Getting On (2009–12), and was also nominated for a British Comedy Award for her portrayal of Dr Pippa Moore in the series.

Just William is a television series first broadcast on BBC One in December 2010. The series is based on the Just William series of books by Richmal Crompton. This latest adaptation is written by Simon Nye. It is the first adaption of the books since a children's television series in the 1990s.

<i>Up the Women</i>

Up the Women is a BBC television sitcom created, written by and starring Jessica Hynes. It was first broadcast on BBC Four on 30 May 2013. The sitcom is about a group of women in 1910 who form a Women's Suffrage movement. Hynes originally planned to write a comedy film about a suffragette plot to assassinate H. H. Asquith, but after realising the plot had turned quite dark, she decided to write a sitcom instead. Christine Gernon directed the three-part series, which became the last sitcom to be filmed before a live audience at BBC Television Centre and the first to be commissioned for BBC Four. A second series was commissioned in June 2013 and aired on BBC Two from 21 January 2015. Up the Women was not renewed for a third series.

<i>Death Comes to Pemberley</i> (TV series)

Death Comes to Pemberley is a three-part British television drama based on the best-selling 2011 P.D. James novel of the same name. Her murder mystery was based on the style and characters of Jane Austen's 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice.

Psychobitches is a Sky Arts British sketch comedy show directed by Jeremy Dyson. Here, famous women from history and fiction seek help from the psychologist Rebecca Front.


  1. Jennifer Lipman "Bafta for Jewish actress Rebecca Front", The Jewish Chronicle. 7 June 2010
  2. Saner, Emine (10 February 2020). "Rebecca Front: 'I'd love to do Shakespeare – or be the next Bond!'". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  3. "BBC Two – My Life in Books, Series 1, Sir Trevor McDonald and Rebecca Front". 10 May 2013. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  4. "Actress Rebecca Front on her new book Curious". Western Daily Press. Archived from the original on 14 June 2015. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  5. Booth, Hannah (28 April 2012). "Rebecca Front: My family values". The Guardian. London.
  6. Lipman, Jennifer (7 June 2010). "Bafta for Jewish actress Rebecca Front". The Jewish Chronicle. London.
  7. 1 2 James Rampton (2 August 1997). "Life on the front line". London: The Independent.
  8. "Rebecca Front". Hachette Book Group. Retrieved 22 April 2021.
  9. Ian Burrell, "Strictly no dancing on a channel that’s serious about scientists" in The Independent . 27-04-09
  10. Renshaw, David (12 September 2013). "Grandma's House – box set review". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 February 2020.
  11. "Psychobitches". Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  12. "Psychobitches series two: Anna Nicole Smith, Elizabeth I, Audrey Hepburn and more – exclusive trailer". the Guardian. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  13. "The Spa: Meet The Characters". 16 January 2013. Retrieved 8 March 2013.
  14. "Cast announced for The Wrong Mans on BBC Two". BBC. 28 January 2013. Retrieved 10 October 2013.
  15. "Midsomer Murders". Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  16. Susanna Lazarus. "Hugh Dennis, Claire Skinner, Tyger Drew-Honey, Daniel Roche and Ramona Marquez all return for series five of Outnumbered". RadioTimes. Retrieved 28 February 2015.
  17. "Rebecca Front on Twitter".
  18. "Curious by Rebecca Front". Orion Books. Retrieved 15 May 2014.
  19. "Incredible Women – Radio 4 Comedy Drama – British Comedy Guide". Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  20. Renshaw, David (13 November 2014). "Nighty Night box set review – a viciously funny, downright cruel comedy". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 February 2020.