Fenella Woolgar

Fenella Woolgar (born 4 August 1969) is an English film, theatre, television and radio actress. She is perhaps best known for her roles in the films Bright Young Things (2003) and Judy (2019).

Fenella Woolgar
Born (1969-08-04) 4 August 1969
Years active1999–present
Robert Harland (m. 2006)

Early life

Woolgar was born in London, the daughter of Michael Woolgar and Maureen Woolgar (née McCann). Her mother is of Irish descent. Woolgar's early years were spent in New Canaan, Connecticut. She was educated at Mayfield School, Durham University, and then Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). At university, along with acting she directed Murder in the Cathedral in Durham Cathedral and wrote and performed comedy in The Durham Revue.


Following Woolgar's graduation from RADA in 1999 she worked in rep at The Royal Exchange, Manchester, York Theatre Royal, Sheffield Crucible and for the BBC in both television and radio. In 2002 she was cast as Agatha in Stephen Fry's film Bright Young Things for which she was nominated for several awards. She subsequently went on to work with Mike Leigh in Vera Drake and Mr. Turner, Conor McPherson in The Veil at the National Theatre and Woody Allen in Scoop and You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger. She played Agatha Christie in Doctor Who in 2008. In 2010 she voiced the character of Dr. Sofia Lamb, the main antagonist in the video game BioShock 2.

Woolgar has most recently worked in theatre at the Donmar, Royal Court, National Theatre; the Old Vic and in the West End. She won the Clarence Derwent Award for Best Supporting Actress in the West End in 2013 and the Sunday Times Culture Award for Stage Performance of the Year 2014 for playing Margaret Thatcher in Handbagged. She is regularly heard on the radio and was nominated for Best Actress on the radio in 2013 for An American Rose in which she played Rosemary Kennedy. She played the title role in Mrs Dalloway for BBC Radio 4 and Edith Wharton in both The Jinx Element and Ethan Frome. She stars in the BBC Radio 4 comedy Dot. She has narrated several audiobooks and was nominated for Audio Book of the Year 2013.[1]

Woolgar's recent work includes two television roles. She appeared in 2014 and 2015 as Alison Scotlock in Home Fires. From 2019 she joined the cast of Call The Midwife as Sister Hilda.

Awards and award nominations

  • Stage Performance of the Year – The Sunday Times Culture Awards 2014[2]
  • Clarence Derwent Award for Best Supporting Actress in the West End 2013.[3]

Woolgar has been nominated for several awards, including:

  • Best Supporting Actress – What's On Stage Awards 2013
  • Best Actress – BBC Radio Drama Awards 2013
  • Best Audio Book of the Year (for Life After Life) 2013
  • Best Supporting Actress – British Independent Film Awards 2003
  • Best Supporting Actress – Empire Film Awards 2003
  • Best Supporting Actress – London Critics Circle 2003
  • Best Newcomer – Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2003
  • Best Supporting Actress – Manchester Evening News Awards 2000 and 2001



  • 2001 Mrs Watson, People Like Us, BBC, John Morton
  • 2001 Lady Julia Monogram, The Way We Live Now, BBC, David Yates
  • 2003 Arabella French, He Knew He Was Right, BBC, Tom Vaughan
  • 2006 Angela, Mr Loveday's Little Outing, BBC, Sam Hobkinson
  • 2006 Min, Jekyll, Hartswood Films and BBC, Douglas Mackinnon and Matt Lipsey
  • 2008 Agatha Christie, Doctor Who, BBC, Graeme Harper
  • 2008 Heidi, Freezing, BBC, Simon Curtis
  • 2009 Miss Whittaker, Poirot, ITV, Charlie Palmer
  • 2010 Amelia Land, Case Histories, BBC, Marc Jobst
  • 2012 Angela Hope, Spies of Warsaw, BBC, Coky Giedroyc
  • 2015 Catiche, War and Peace, BBC
  • 2016 and 2015 Alison, Home Fires Series 1 and 2, ITV, Robert Quinn
  • 2017 Lady Repton, Harlots, ITV and Hulu, Coky Giedroyc
  • 2017 Lady Campbell, Quacks, BBC, Andy de Emmony
  • 2017 June, Inside No. 9, BBC, Graeme Harper, written by Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton
  • 2019 Call The Midwife, from series 8 .




  • Virginia Woolf in The Hours for BBC Radio 4, Polly Thomas and Judith Kampfner
  • Poetry Please with Roger McGough for BBC Radio 4
  • Book of the Week for Radio 4 including Only In Naples by Katherine Wilson and Millions Like Us by Virginia Nicholson
  • Dot in 'Dot' by Ed Harris, series 1 and 2
  • Blood Sex and Money – Zola, BBC Radio 4 Polly Thomas written by Dan Rebellato
  • Mrs Dalloway in Mrs Dalloway, BBC Radio 4 Marc Beeby
  • Rosemary Kennedy in An American Rose, BBC Radio 4 Sally Avens
  • Edith Wharton in Ethan Frome and in The Jinx Element, BBC Radio 4 Sally Avens
  • Before They Were Famous, Hat Trick
  • Flaw in the Motor, Dust in the Blood, BBC Radio 4, Toby Swift written by Trevor Preston


Life After Life and Transcription by Kate Atkinson and The Other Family and Daughters in Law by Joanna Trollope.

Dr. Sofia Lamb – BioShock 2 By 2K Games Writer and Concept – Ken Levine Director – Jordan Thomas

See also


  1. "Fenella Woolgar". Audible.co.uk. Retrieved 6 January 2014.
  2. "Culture". The Sunday Times. 28 December 2014. Retrieved 1 May 2015.
  3. "Fenella Woolgar and Paul Chahidi win Clarence Derwent awards". Retrieved 17 April 2014.
  4. 'Handbagged' programme. Vaudeville Theatre.
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