Alison O’Donnell

Last updated on the 25 March 2024 by Evandrus

alison o’donnell headshot

Mini Biography

Alison O’Donnell was born in the early 1980s and grew up in Motherwell with her two elder sisters. Her early life in Scotland shaped her future in the arts, though she initially embarked on a path that seemed to lead elsewhere.

Her brief stint studying international law suggests a strong academic background, but it was the arts that ultimately claimed her heart. Dropping out of university to pursue acting, she took a leap of faith that would set the stage for a successful career in performance.

Alison O’Donnell’s acting career began in theatre, where she was involved in productions such as “Boys,” “The Hard Man,” “Eigengrau,” and “Yerma.” Her talent was soon recognised, and she won the 2011 Fringe First award for her lead role in “My Romantic History” at the Edinburgh Fringe. Transitioning to television, she had small roles in BBC productions like “Feel the Force” (2006) and “Holby City” (2012) before landing her breakthrough role in “Shetland” in 2013, which continues to be a significant part of her career.

Alison O’Donnell’s portrayal of DS ‘Tosh’ McIntosh stands out as a highlight. The character’s depth and complexity have allowed O’Donnell to showcase her range and depth as an actress. Her performance has been central to the show’s success and has brought her critical acclaim.

Off-screen, O’Donnell leads a fulfilling personal life. She is partnered with Scottish playwright D.C. Jackson, and they share two children. Their relationship began when O’Donnell played the lead in Jackson’s play “My Romantic History.” Despite meeting during the play, their romantic relationship blossomed later on.


Suggested viewing


Shetland (2013)

Shetland poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 8.3

In the Shetland Islands, Detective Inspector Jimmy Perez investigates the murder of an elderly woman at an archeological dig. As he digs deeper into the case, Perez uncovers a complex web of secrets and longstanding animosity within the seemingly close-knit island community. The investigation intensifies as another murder is committed, forcing Perez to race against time to find the culprit before a major local festival.

Top cast: Top cast: Douglas Henshall, Alison O’Donnell, Steven Robertson, Mark Bonnar, Erin Armstrong, Julie Graham, Julia Brown, Neve Macintosh, Fiona Bell, Archie Panjabi, Ashley Jensen (S8).


Full filmography (@Wikipedia)


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