Jane Horrocks - Wikipedia Jump to content

Jane Horrocks

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Jane Horrocks
Barbara Jane Horrocks

(1964-01-18) 18 January 1964 (age 60)
Years active1986–present
Notable work
PartnerNick Vivian (until 2017)

Barbara Jane Horrocks (born 18 January 1964)[1] is a British actress. She portrayed the roles of Bubble and Katy Grin in the BBC sitcom Absolutely Fabulous. She was nominated for the 1993 Olivier Award for Best Actress for the title role in the stage play The Rise and Fall of Little Voice, and received Golden Globe and BAFTA nominations for the role in the film version of Little Voice.

She is also known for her appearances in films, including The Dressmaker (1988), The Witches (1990), Second Best (1993), Life is Sweet (1990), Corpse Bride (2005), Sunshine on Leith (2013), Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (2016), as well as the television series Fifi and the Flowertots (2005–2010), Little Princess (2006–2020), and the Sky One sitcom Trollied, as Julie Cook (2011–2015).

Early life


Horrocks was born in Rawtenstall, Lancashire, the daughter of Barbara (née Ashworth), a hospital worker, and John Horrocks, a sales representative.[citation needed][2] She was the youngest of three children.

She attended Balladen County Primary School and Fearns county secondary school. She trained at Oldham College, and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art with Imogen Stubbs and Ralph Fiennes,[3] and began her career with the Royal Shakespeare Company.[4]





Horrocks has appeared on stage in Ask for the Moon (Hampstead, 1986), A Collier's Friday Night (Greenwich, 1987), Valued Friends (Hampstead, 1989), and The Debutante Ball (Hampstead, 1989). She appeared in Catherine Cookson's The Fifteen Streets, alongside Sean Bean and Owen Teale in 1989; Our Own Kind (Bush, 1991); Deadly Advice (Fletcher, 1993); Cabaret (Donmar Warehouse 1994); Macbeth (Greenwich Theatre, 1995); and Absurd Person Singular (Garrick Theatre, 2007).

While working on Road, a play directed by Jim Cartwright, Horrocks warmed up by doing singing impressions of Judy Garland, Shirley Bassey and Ethel Merman. Cartwright was so impressed with her mimicry he wrote The Rise and Fall of Little Voice for her.[citation needed] She was nominated for the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress for her performance in the 1992 West End production, directed by her then-boyfriend Sam Mendes.[citation needed]

Her last West End appearance was in Sweet Panic, the 2003 Stephen Poliakoff drama in which she portrayed a neurotic mother locked in a battle of wills with her disturbed son's psychologist.[citation needed] She starred in Richard Jones's critically acclaimed production of The Good Soul of Szechuan at the Young Vic in 2008.[5] She was reunited with Jones in a new musical production of Annie Get Your Gun, which opened at the Young Vic in October 2009.[6] At London's Young Vic, in 2016's If You Kiss Me, Kiss Me, Horrocks revisited the songs of her youth to sing versions of tracks by the likes of Joy Division, The Smiths, Buzzcocks, and The Human League.[7]

In October 2014, Horrocks played Ella Khan in the London revival of East Is East at Trafalgar Studios as part of Jamie Lloyd's Trafalgar Transformed season.[8] In 2024, Horrocks joined the cast of the British premiere production of play Nachtland at the Young Vic theatre, directed by Patrick Marber.[9]



She drew critical notice for her performance in the film Life Is Sweet (1990), followed by her award-winning performance in the West End play The Rise and Fall of Little Voice in which she sang all the songs. Horrocks became well known on screen for her role as Bubble & Katy Grin in the sitcom Absolutely Fabulous (1992–2016).

She reprised her stage role in the 1998 screen adaptation, Little Voice, which earned nominations for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role, the Satellite Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy, the Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role - Motion Picture, and the British Independent Film Award for Best Actress.[citation needed]

For 10 years, Horrocks appeared with Prunella Scales in commercials for the UK supermarket chain Tesco.[10] She narrated BBC Two's television series The Speaker in April 2009.

In 2009, Horrocks took the lead in the BBC TV production Gracie!, a drama portraying the life of Gracie Fields during World War II and her relationship with the Italian-born director Monty Banks (played by Tom Hollander).[11]

Other television credits include Absolutely Fabulous, Victoria Wood - We'd Quite Like to Apologise, Bad Girl, Boon, Heartland, Hunting Venus, La Nonna, Leaving Home, Never Mind the Horrocks, Nightlife, Wyrd Sisters, Foxbusters, Jericho, Red Dwarf, Some Kind of Life, Suffer the Little Children, The Storyteller, The Garden, Fifi & the Flowertots, Little Princess (the voice of the princess) and Welcome to the Times.[citation needed]

She was the subject of an episode of the genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are? in 2006. That year, she played the title role in The Amazing Mrs Pritchard, a drama about a woman elected prime minister.

On Tuesday 14 January 2014, Horrocks appeared as a contestant on The Great Sport Relief Bake Off on BBC Two— the celebrity version of The Great British Bake Off—hosted by Jo Brand and broadcast to help raise money for the charity Sport Relief. The other contestants were TV and radio presenter Kirsty Young, choreographer Jason Gardiner, and Olympic athlete Greg Rutherford.

On 9 May 2015, she gave a reading at VE Day 70: A Party to Remember in Horse Guards Parade, London that was broadcast live on BBC1.[12]

In 2015, she supplied the voice of the Tubby Phone in the reboot of the popular British children's television series Teletubbies. In 2021, she began starring in the Sky comedy series Bloods.[13]



Horrocks' voiceovers have been used on the films Chicken Run, Christmas Carol: The Movie, Corpse Bride, Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, and Tinker Bell. She also did the voiceover of Fenchurch on radio and in the audio adaptation of Douglas Adams' science fiction series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy for BBC Radio 4. She has voiced Donner in all three Robbie the Reindeer films in aid of Comic Relief.

In 2000, Horrocks made the CD Further Adventures of Little Voice, again singing in the style of favourite divas.[citation needed] The recording includes duets with Ewan McGregor, Robbie Williams and Dean Martin. Horrocks collaborated once more with Robbie Williams the following year, for a cover of the Bobby Darin song "Things" on Williams's album Swing When You're Winning.

Personal life


Horrocks has two children with her former partner, playwright Nick Vivian. They were together for 21 years, parting way in 2017. She currently lives in Brighton.[14]

She was previously in a relationship with director Sam Mendes. She was in a relationship with the singer and actor Ian Dury, about whom she devised the 2022 drama, Love Pants: Ian Dury & Jane Horrocks, for BBC Radio 4, based on her own diary entries and his love letters to her during their one-year relationship in the 1980s, when she was 23. The two remained friends until his death in 2000.[15][16][14] Horrocks' mother, Barbara, died in 2021. Her father died in 2013.[citation needed]




Year Title Role Directed by
1988 The Dressmaker Rita Jim O'Brien
1989 Getting It Right Jenny Randal Kleiser
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase Pattern Stuart Orme
1990 The Witches Miss Susan Irvine Nicolas Roeg
Memphis Belle Faith Michael Caton-Jones
Life Is Sweet Nicola Mike Leigh
1993 Second Best Debbie Chris Menges
1994 Deadly Advice Jodie Greenwood Mandie Fletcher
1997 Bring Me the Head of Mavis Davis Mavis Davis / Marla Dorland John Henderson
1998 Little Voice LV Mark Herman
1999 Faeries Huccaby (voice) Gary Hurst
Hooves of Fire Donner (voice)
2000 Chicken Run Babs (voice) Peter Lord & Nick Park
Born Romantic Mo David Kane
Lion of Oz Wimsik (voice) Tim Deacon
2001 Christmas Carol: The Movie Ghost of Christmas Past (voice) Jimmy T. Murakami
2002 Legend of the Lost Tribe Donner (voice)
2005 Corpse Bride The Black Widow / Mrs. Plum (voice) Tim Burton
Brothers of the Head Roberta Howe Keith Fulton & Louis Pepe
2006 Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties Meenie (voice) Tim Hill
2007 Close Encounters of the Herd Kind Donner (voice)
2008 Tinker Bell Fairy Mary (voice) Bradley Raymond
2009 Tinker Bell and the Lost Treasure Klay Hall
2010 No One Gets Off in This Town
2011 Arthur Christmas Lead Elf (voice) Sarah Smith
2012 Secret of the Wings Fairy Mary (voice) Bobs Gannaway & Peggy Holmes
2013 Sunshine on Leith Jean Dexter Fletcher
2014 The Pirate Fairy Fairy Mary Peggy Holmes
2016 Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Bubble/Shirley Bassey impersonator Mandie Fletcher
2018 Swimming with Men Heather Oliver Parker
2023 Chicken Run: Dawn of the Nugget Babs (voice) Sam Fell

Television series

Year Title Role Notes
1987 First Sight Natalie Episode: "Leaving Home" (1.3)
Screenplay Louise Episode: "The Road" (2.13)
1988 The Storyteller Anja Episode: "The True Bride" (1.9)
The Ruth Rendell Mysteries Pippa Bond Episode: "No Crying He Makes" (2.7)
1989 The Jim Henson Hour Anja Episode: "Musicians" (1.8)
Victoria Wood Cathy Warburton Episode: "We'd Quite Like to Apologise" (1.4)
Smith & Jones Episode: "The Unprepared Version" (5.6)
1990 Boon Trisha Downey Episode: "Best Left Buried" (5.11)
1991 Screen One Gail Episode: "Alive and Kicking" (3.7)
Performance Episode: "Nona" (1.2)
1992 Red Dwarf Nirvanah Crane Episode: "Holoship" (5.1)
Screenplay Maggie Hunt Episode: "Bad Girl" (7.3)
Performance Episode: "Roots" (2.3)
1992–2012 Absolutely Fabulous Bubble
(also played Katy Grin, Lola and radio voice)
33 episodes
1995 Performance Doll Tearsheet Episode: "Henry IV" (5.5)
1995–1998 Crapston Villas Flossie 20 episodes (all episodes)
1996 Tales from the Crypt Cammy Episode: "Cold War" (7.6)
Never Mind the Horrocks Various roles
1997 Wyrd Sisters Magrat Garlick (voice) Television mini-series
The Blobs Various (voice) 26 Episodes (all episodes) (S4C, Scottish Television, Siriol, DC Thomson, Taytel and Ragdoll Limited (live-action shoot))
1997–1999 The Forgotten Toys Various roles (voice)
1999 Foxbusters Jeffries (voice) 26 Episodes (all episodes)
1999–2000 Watership Down Hannah 14 episodes
2000 Mirrorball Yitta Hilberstam Television pilot
Spot the Dog Narrator 26 Episodes were re-narrated over the originals that were done by Paul Nicholas.
2001 Little Big Mouth Krystan (voice)
2002 Linda Green Teresa Franklin Episode: "Teresa" (2.2)
2003–2004 Wide-Eye Flea (voice)
Baby Komodo (voice)
Natterjack Toads (voices)
26 episodes (All episodes)
2004 Monkey Trousers Various roles
2005 Jericho Sadie Swettenham Episode: "To Murder and Create" (1.3)
2005–2010 Fifi and the Flowertots Fifi Forget-Me-Not and Primrose (UK/US voice) 40 episodes
2006 The Street Angela Quinn Episodes: "The Accident" (1.1)
"Stan" (1.2)
The Amazing Mrs Pritchard Ros Pritchard 6 episodes (all episodes)
2006–2020 Little Princess Little Princess (voice)
2011 Coming Up Felicity Episode: "Magic" (6.5)
Phineas and Ferb Eliza (voice) Episode: "My Fair Goalie" (3.11)
This is Jinsy Mrs. Stenton Episode: "Vel" (1.6)
Little Crackers Hairdresser Episode: "Jane Horrocks' Little Cracker: Barbara" (2.3)
Pixie Hollow Games Fairy Mary (voice) Television special
2011–2013, 2015 Trollied Julie Cook 37 episodes
2012 Get Your House in Order Narrator (voice) Episode: "Stuart" (1.3)
True Love Sandra Episode: "Sandra" (1.4)
2014 Lily's Driftwood Bay Wee Rabbit
2015 Inside No. 9 Liz "Cold Comfort" (2.4)
Long Live the Royals Queen Elenor (voice) UK version only
2015–2018 Teletubbies Tubby Phone (voice) Darrall MacQueen, DHX Media and CBeebies
2019-present The Rubbish World of Dave Spud Gran Spud (voice) Except "Two Toots Spud", "An Honest Face" and "Night School"
2020 The Singapore Grip Sylvia Blackett TV series
2021 Hugo the Jungle Animal Baby Hugo Episode: "Baby Hugo"
2021–2022 Bloods Wendy Main role

Television films

Year Title Role Notes
1989 The Fifteen Streets Christine Bracken
Heartland Pam
1991 Came Out, It Rained, Went Back in Again Learner Lesbian
1993 Cabaret Sally Bowles
1994 Self Catering Marilyn
Suffer the Little Children Deborah Hayes
1995 Some Kind of Life Alison
1996 Nightlife Helen
1999 Hunting Venus Cassandra
The Flint Street Nativity Zoe
2009 Gracie! Gracie Fields
2010 The Road to Coronation Street Margaret Morris

Short film, television and video

Year Title Role Notes
1994 Butter Beggar Television
1995 Combination Skin (voice) Short film
1999 Hooves of Fire Donner (voice) Television
2002 Legend of the Lost Tribe Donner / Arctic Fox (voice)
Last Rumba in Rochdale Gran (voice) Short film
2004 Wheeling Dealing Authentic Newsreader
2006 Voices from the Underworld Herself (voice) Video Short
2007 Robbie the Reindeer in Close Encounters of the Herd Kind Donner (voice) Television
2011 The Itch of the Golden Nit (voice) Short film

Music videos


Awards and honours



  1. ^ Rose, Mike (18 January 2023). "Today's famous birthdays list for January 18, 2023 includes celebrities Kevin Costner, Dave Bautista". Cleveland.com. Retrieved 18 January 2023.
  2. ^ Ascher-Walsh, Rebecca (18 December 1994). "Impressive". Entertainment Weekly. p. 16.
  3. ^ "Jane Horrocks". The Guardian Unlimited Film. Guardian News and Media Limited. 2011. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  4. ^ "People Index Jane Horrocks". BBC Drama. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  5. ^ Nightingale, Benedict (16 May 2008). "The Good Soul of Szechuan at the Young Vic". Times Online. Times Newspapers Ltd. Archived from the original on 6 July 2008. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  6. ^ "Official Young Vic announcement" (PDF). Young Vic. Retrieved 2 July 2019.[permanent dead link]
  7. ^ "why jane horrocks is singing the smiths". bellaafrica. Yahoo!. Oath Inc. Retrieved 1 July 2019.[permanent dead link]
  8. ^ Merrifield, Nicola (9 May 2014). "East is East starring Jane Horrocks to run at Trafalgar Studios". The Stage. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  9. ^ Millward, Tom (7 December 2023). "Young Vic announces initial cast for Nachtland". WhatsOnStage. Retrieved 2 February 2024.
  10. ^ Jones, Paul. "Jane Horrocks: "I'm eternally grateful to Tesco"". Radio Times. Immediate Media Company Ltd. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  11. ^ "Amazing Gracie: Jane Horrocks". Manchester Evening News. 27 April 2010. Retrieved 17 September 2013.
  12. ^ "Actress Jane Horrocks cries reading WW2 letter". BBC News Online. BBC Online. BBC. 10 May 2015. Retrieved 1 July 2019.
  13. ^ "Jane Horrocks stars in new paramedic show Bloods". News&Star. 2 May 2021. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  14. ^ a b "'I don't like to dwell on the dark side': Jane Horrocks on life on her own, family and first love, Ian Dury". The Guardian. 14 December 2022. Retrieved 21 December 2022.
  15. ^ "Drama". Radio Times. Retrieved 21 December 2022.
  16. ^ "BBC Radio 4 - Drama, Love Pants: Ian Dury & Jane Horrocks". BBC. Retrieved 21 December 2022.