Alison Steadman

Last updated on the 25 June 2024 by Maeve

Alison Steadman poster

Mini Biography

Born: 26 August 1946, Liverpool, England. 

Alison Steadman has won awards for her work in film, theatre, and television. She was the youngest of three sisters. She attended Childwall Valley High School for Girls and East 15 Acting School, where she met her future husband, director Mike Leigh.

Here We Go - Alison Steadman, Jim Howick and Katherine Parkinson
Here We Go – Alison Steadman, Jim Howick and Katherine Parkinson

Alison Steadman made her professional stage debut in 1968 and collaborated with Leigh on several of his TV plays, such as Nuts in May (1976) and Abigail’s Party (1977), in which she played the iconic role of Beverly. She also appeared in many of his films, such as Life Is Sweet (1990), for which she won the National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress.

Alison Steadman has also performed in various other plays, films, and TV shows, earning critical acclaim and popular recognition. She won the Olivier Award for Best Actress for her role as Mari in The Rise and Fall of Little Voice (1992) and received BAFTA TV Award nominations for The Singing Detective (1986) and Fat Friends (2000-2005). Some of her other notable credits include Pride and Prejudice (1995), Gavin & Stacey (2007-2010, 2019), The Life and Death of Peter Sellers (2004), and Dad’s Army (2016).

Steadman was married to Leigh from 1973 to 2001 and they have two sons, Toby and Leo, who are both actors. She has been in a relationship with actor Michael Elwyn since 1997. She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 2000 for her services to drama. She is also a patron of several charities, such as VocalEyes, which provides audio description for blind and partially sighted people.


Suggested viewing


Abigail’s Party (1977)

Abigail's Party poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 7.9

In 1970s suburbia, a drinks party with neighbours masks deep dissatisfaction. Over cheese and pineapple sticks, tensions simmer between a boastful host, his insecure wife, and their guests – a couple harbouring secrets and a worried mother ostracised from her own daughter’s teenage revelry. As inhibitions fade with alcohol, hidden resentments boil over, culminating in a shocking event that shatters the facade of forced merriment.

Top cast: Alison Steadman, Tim Stern, Janine Duvitski, John Salthouse, Harriet Reynolds.


The Worst Week of My Life (2004)

The Worst Week of My Life poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.9

With wedding bells just a week away, Howard’s life spirals into hilarious chaos. Accidental dog deaths, drunken one-night stand reappearances and lost family heirlooms plague him as he stumbles through disastrous encounters with future in-laws and vengeful colleagues.

Top cast: Ben Miller, Sarah Alexander, Alison Steadman, Geoffrey Whitehead, Janine Duvitski, Ron Cook, Raquel Cassidy, Tony Gardner.


Here We Go (2022)

Here We Go poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.1

Six months after forgetting Rachel’s theme park voucher, the family scrambles to use it on the last day. Chaos ensues: a borrowed dog creates havoc, Amy seeks love advice from a love-less couple and their day trip becomes an unforgettable rollercoaster (not the ride kind).

Top cast: Jim Howick, Katherine Parkinson, Alison Steadman, Tom Basden, Jude Collie, Freya Parks, Tori Allen-Martin, Mica Rickettsia, Ed Kear.


Boomers (2014)

Boomers poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.0

In a Norfolk seaside town, three retired couples traverse the golden years – with mixed results. Alan and Joyce clash over leisure; John and Maureen chase youthful trends; and Trevor and Carol grapple with communication gaps. Laughter and frustration mingle as they confront health woes, changing relationships and the unexpected adventures (and mishaps) of retirement.

Top cast: Philip Jackson, Alison Steadman, Russ Abbot, Stephanie Beacham, Paula Wilcox, James Smith, Nigel Planer, Simon Day, Julia Deakin.


Life Is Sweet (1990)

Life Is Sweet poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 7.4

A working-class London family navigates life’s bittersweet reality. The optimistic mother fuels dreams while the laid-back father pursues a food truck venture. Their daughters, polar opposites, struggle with ambition and self-destruction. Amidst summer heat and family tensions, their hopes and anxieties clash, exposing vulnerabilities and ultimately revealing the messy beauty of everyday life.

Top cast: Alison Steadman, Jim Broadbent, Timothy Spall, Claire Skinner, Jane Horrocks, David Thewlis, Moya Brady, Stephen Read, David Neilson.


The Singing Detective (1986)
Singing Detective poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 8.6

Bedridden with psoriasis, a tormented mystery writer escapes into fantastical noir worlds, blurring them with his troubled past. As fictional detectives waltz and villains threaten, he confronts traumatic childhood memories, marital woes and his own mortality. Reality and fantasy collide in a musical dance, leading to a cathartic confrontation that may heal or destroy him.

Top cast: Top cast: Michael Gambon, Patrick Malahide, Joanne Whalley, David Ryall, Janet Suzman, Alison Steadman, Gerard Horan, Lyndon Davies.


Alison Steadman full filmography @ Wikipedia
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