Gemma Whelan

Gemma Elizabeth Whelan (born 23 April 1981) is an English actor and comedian, best known for playing Yara Greyjoy in the HBO fantasy-drama series Game of Thrones.[2] She plays a detective, Eunice Noon, in The End Of The F***ing World on Netflix.

Gemma Whelan
Whelan at Antwerp Convention 2014
Gemma Elizabeth Whelan

(1981-04-23) 23 April 1981
Leeds, England
OccupationActor, comedian
Years active2005–present
Height5 ft 6 in (168 cm)[1]
Spouse(s)Gerry Howell

Early life

Whelan was born in Leeds and grew up in the Midlands.[3] She attended The King's High School for Girls in Warwick.[4]


As a stand-up comedian, Whelan won the 2010 Funny Women Variety Award.[5] She performed at the 2013 Edinburgh Fringe with her show Chastity Butterworth & The Spanish Hamster.[6] In 2014 she recorded a pilot chat show as her character Chastity Butterworth for BBC Radio 4.[7]

On screen, she has played supporting roles in several films and TV shows, including in the 2010 films Gulliver's Travels and The Wolfman.[1] She was a series regular on Ben Elton's BBC Two comedy Upstart Crow and on The End of the F***ing World, and has had roles in other comedies, including Uncle and The Agency.

In August 2011, she was cast as Yara Greyjoy in the HBO fantasy-drama television series Game of Thrones, and appeared as a recurring cast member from the second season onward.[8] In 2017, she portrayed Karen Matthews in the two-part TV drama The Moorside, based on the 2008 disappearance of 9-year-old Shannon Matthews. In 2019, she appeared as Marian Lister in the BBC drama Gentleman Jack.

In September 2019, a stage play adaptation of Upstart Crow was announced for the Gielgud Theatre, which is due to run from 7 February to 25 April 2020. Whelan will reprise the role of Kate, who she played in the original TV version.[9]

Personal life

Whelan gave birth to her first child in 2017. She lives in London with her husband, comedian and actor Gerry Howell, and their daughter.[10]



Year Title Role Notes
2006 Madness of the Dance Sister Grace Short film
2007 Frites Marie-Anne Short film
2008 Shortbread and Tea Mildred
2009 Ding Dong Dr. Pretty Short film
2010 The Wolfman Gwen's Maid
2010 Gulliver's Travels Lilliputian Rose
2016 Prevenge Len
2018 Surviving Christmas with the Relatives Miranda
2020 Emma Mrs. Weston Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2006 The Enforcers Holly
2009 10 Minute Tales Pretty Nurse 1 episode
2010 The Persuasionists Josephine 2 episodes
2011 Threesome Wendy 1 episode
2011 Living Doll Moaning Mona
2011 For the Win Various Pilot
2012 Ruddy Hell! It's Harry & Paul Daughter 1 episode
2012 Cardinal Burns Claire
2012–14, 2016–19 Game of Thrones Yara Greyjoy Recurring, 16 episodes
2013 The Day They Came to Suck Out Our Brains! Unknown Miniseries, 1 episode
2013 Nick Helm's Heavy Entertainment Various
2013 Claudia O'Doherty Comedy Blaps Sarah Miniseries, 3 episodes
2014 Live at the Electric Chastity Butterworth 3 episodes
2014 Siblings Ruth
2014 Badults Juliet Series 2, 1 episode: "Neighbours"
2014 Mapp and Lucia Quaint Irene Coles
2014–present Almost Royal Narrator
2015 Uncle Veronica 2 episodes
2015 Not Safe for Work Davina 1 episode
2015 Murder in Successville Nurse Adele Series 1, 1 episode
2016–present Upstart Crow Kate Series regular
2016–2017 Hetty Feather Ida Battersea
2016–present Horrible Histories Various
2016 Morgana Robinson's The Agency Kat Cassidy 4 episodes
2017 Decline and Fall Diane Fagan 2 episodes
2017 The Moorside Karen Matthews Two-part drama
2017 The Crown Patricia Campbell 1 episode
2017 Queers Bobby
2017 The End of the F***ing World Eunice
2017 Eat Your Heart with Nick Helm Herself 1 episode
2019 Gentleman Jack Marian Lister
2019 Star vs. the Forces of Evil Solaria Butterfly (voice) 1 episode[11]
2020 White House Farm Upcoming series
2020 Untitled Pajama Men Project Glenda Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
2005 Newsrevue Various Edinburgh Festival
2006 Shakespeare for Breakfast Petruchio C Venues
Celebrity Love Panto Island Various Canal Cafe Theatre
2008 Red Death Lates Unknown Gideon Reeling
Improvathon Bunny Valentine The Sticking Place
2009 Infinite Variety Various Whoopee Productions New Players Theatre
2010 Stephen & the Sexy Partridge Chanel Trafalgar Studios
2013 One Man, Two Guvnors Rachel Crabbe Royal National Theatre
Dark Vanilla Jungle Andrea Supporting Wall & Pleasance Theatre
Chastity Butterworth & the Spanish Hamster Chastity Butterworth Pajama Men Productions
2014 Dark Vanilla Jungle Andrea Supporting Wall
2015 Radiant Vermin[12] Jill and others Soho Theatre
2019 Pinter Seven: A Slight Ache[13] Flora Harold Pinter Theatre
2020 Upstart Crow[14] Kate Gielgud Theatre

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2014 Dragon Age: Inquisition Threnn/Maryden/Winterwatch Tower Cultist/Redcliffe Soldier/Redcliffe Villager/Emerald Graves Civilian (voices)
2015 Final Fantasy XIV: Heavensward Igeyorhm (voice)
2017 Mass Effect: Andromeda Zevin Raeka (voice)
TBA Squadron 42 Becca Farneway voice and motion capture

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
2010 Funny Women Awards Best Variety Herself Won
2016 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Game of Thrones Nominated
2017 WFTV Awards The MAC Best Performance Herself Won [15]


  1. "Gemma Whelan". Spotlight. Retrieved 18 April 2014.
  2. "The Spotlight on ... Gemma Whelan". London is Funny. 18 May 2011. Archived from the original on 4 June 2011.
  3. Lash, Jolie. "'Game Of Thrones' Newcomer Gemma Whelan Talks Yara Greyjoy". Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  4. "From King's High to Hollywood". Independent Education Today. 31 March 2018.
  5. "Funny Women Award Winners". Archived from the original on 28 July 2011. Retrieved 2 August 2011.
  6. Hall, Julian (7 August 2013). "Edinburgh Festival 2013: Chastity Butterworth & The Spanish Hamster -". The Independent. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  7. "The Chastity Butterworth Show - Radio 4 Chat Show". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  8. Vineyard, Jennifer (6 July 2016). "Game of Thrones' Gemma Whelan on Yara's Sexuality and Freezing on Set". New York magazine. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  9. Masso, Giverny (25 September 2019). "David Mitchell and Gemma Whelan to star in stage adaptation of Upstart Crow". The Stage. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  10. Roper, Kerri-Ann (30 November 2018). "Gemma Whelan: 'I'm out pushing my buggy around and I truly look like a bag lady... but it's fine'". Belfast Telegraph. ISSN 0307-1235.(subscription required)
  11. Swift, Andy (7 February 2019). "Disney's Star vs. the Forces of Evil Ending With Season 4". TVLine.
  12. Billington, Michael (12 March 2015). "Radiant Vermin review – Philip Ridley's nightmare tale of a dream home". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  13. "Pinter at the Pinter: Pinter Seven". Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  14. "Upstart Crow – The Comedy, Official Show Website". Upstart Crow The Comedy. Retrieved 2 November 2019.
  15. "Meet the 2017 Women in Film and Television Award Winners". Women in Film & Television UK. Retrieved 5 August 2019.
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