Keeley Hawes

Last updated on the 20 June 2024 by Maeve

Keeley Hawes headshot

Mini Biography

Born: 10 February 1976, Paddington, London.

Keeley Hawes - Ashes to Ashes
Keeley Hawes – Ashes to Ashes

Growing up in a working-class London council flat as the youngest of four, Keeley Hawes’ life was a far cry from the glitz of red carpets. Her father and two brothers followed the traditional path of London cab drivers, while Keeley, instilled with a love for the performing arts, enrolled at the Sylvia Young Theatre School. There, she studied alongside future Spice Girl Emma Bunton and actress Kellie Bright, forging friendships that would endure.

Teenage years saw Hawes juggling school with a variety of part-time jobs, from the fast-paced world of a casino to the familiar aisles of Sainsbury’s and McDonald’s. It was during this time, while at sixth form, that fate intervened. Spotted by a modelling scout on London’s bustling Oxford Street, Hawes signed with Select Model Management. This unexpected turn led to features in teen magazine Shout and an internship at Cosmopolitan, offering a glimpse into the world of fashion.

Matthew Macfadyen and Keeley Hawes
Matthew Macfadyen and Keeley Hawes

However, Keeley Hawes’ true passion lay in acting. Returning to her theatrical roots, she began landing roles in television adaptations of literary classics like “Our Mutual Friend” and “Tipping the Velvet.” The year 2002 proved to be a pivotal one. Hawes secured the role of Zoe Reynolds in the hit spy drama “Spooks.” Playing a resourceful and determined MI5 agent, Hawes captivated audiences for two seasons, showcasing her ability to portray strong, complex women. “Spooks” not only propelled her career but also led to a personal connection – she met her future husband, Matthew Macfadyen, on set.

Following “Spooks,” Hawes continued to gravitate towards diverse projects. She took on the role of Lady Macbeth, a character consumed by ambition, in a chilling adaptation of Shakespeare’s tragedy. Her performance garnered critical acclaim, solidifying her reputation as a dramatic force. Hawes seamlessly transitioned between television and film, appearing in heist movies like “The Bank Job” and lending her voice to the iconic Lara Croft in the “Tomb Raider” video game series.

Keeley Hawes in The Durrells
Keeley Hawes in The Durrells

One of Keeley Hawes’ most defining roles came in 2008 with “Ashes to Ashes.” Here, she took on the mantle of Alex Drake, a detective transported back to the 1980s. The show, a spin-off of “Life on Mars,” allowed Hawes to showcase her comedic timing alongside the ever-watchable Philip Glenister. Her portrayal of a fish-out-of-water cop in a world of leg warmers and neon lights cemented her status as a national treasure in the UK.

In recent years, Hawes has continued to defy expectations. She delivered a nuanced performance as the enigmatic DI Barnes in the critically acclaimed “Line of Duty,” a police procedural that kept audiences on the edge of their seats. She has also explored life abroad in “The Durrells” and the complexities of motherhood in “Finding Alice.”

Keeley Hawes’ life story is an inspiration. From her humble beginnings to her reign as a British acting powerhouse, she has consistently delivered commanding performances, captivating audiences with her range and depth. Married to Matthew Macfadyen with whom she shares two children, Hawes manages to balance a successful career with a private life.


Suggested viewing


The Missing (2014)

The Missing poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 8.2

“The Missing” is a gripping thriller series revolving around the disappearance of a young British boy named Oliver Hughes while on holiday in France. The story follows the desperate search efforts by his parents, the emotional toll it takes on their lives, and the secrets and mysteries that unfold along the way.

Top cast: Keeley Hawes, David Morrissey, James Nesbitt, Abigail Hardingham, Frances O’Connor, Tcheky Karyo, Jason Flemyng, Ken Stott, Arsher Ali, Émilie Dequenne, Anastasia Hille.


Ashes to Ashes (2008)

Ashes to Ashes poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 8.2

“Ashes to Ashes” is a time-travel drama set in 1980s London. After being shot, Detective Alex Drake finds herself transported back in time and trapped in a world where past and present collide. As she solves crimes alongside the enigmatic Gene Hunt, she unravels personal mysteries while seeking a way back home.

Top cast: Keeley Hawes, Philip Glenister, Dean Andrews, Marshall Lancaster, Montserrat Lombard, Joseph Long, Daniel Mays, Andrew Clover, Adrian Dunbar.


Line of Duty (2012)

Line of Duty poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 8.7

“Line of Duty” is a gripping crime drama series that follows the investigations of AC-12, an anti-corruption unit within the police force. As they expose corrupt officers and unravel complex conspiracies, tensions rise and loyalties are tested. A thrilling cat-and-mouse game unfolds as truth becomes elusive in a world filled with deceit and betrayal.

Top cast: Martin Compston, Vicky McClure, Adrian Dunbar, Kelly Macdonald, Craig Parkinson, Gregory Piper, Nigel Boyle, Keeley Hawes, Polly Walker, Maya Sondhi, Lennie James.


Mrs Wilson (2018)

Mrs Wilson

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.4

“Mrs Wilson” is a gripping miniseries based on a true story. After the sudden death of her husband, Alison Wilson discovers he had multiple secret wives. As she unravels the truth about his mysterious past, she becomes entangled in a web of deception and must confront her own identity and resilience in the face of betrayal.

Top cast: Ruth Wilson, Iain Glen, Keeley Hawes, Fiona Shaw, Patrick Kennedy, Anupam Kher, Otto Farrant, Calam Lynch, Ian McElhinney.


The Durrells (2016)

The Durrells

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 8.2

“The Durrells” is a heartwarming drama inspired by Gerald Durrell’s memoir. Set in 1930s Corfu, it follows the eccentric Durrell family as they embark on a new life on the idyllic Greek island. Through their hilarious misadventures and encounters with colourful locals, they discover love, friendship and the beauty of embracing life’s unpredictable journey.

Top cast: Keeley Hawes, Milo Parker, Josh O’connor, Daisy Waterston, Callum Woodhouse, Alexis Georgoulis, Yorgos Karamihos.


Tipping the Velvet (2002)

Tipping the Velvet post

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.7

“Tipping the Velvet” is a captivating period drama set in Victorian England. Nan Astley, an oyster girl-turned-music hall performer, embarks on a journey of self-discovery and forbidden love as she inhabits the underground lesbian subculture of London. A tale of passion, betrayal and personal liberation unfolds against a backdrop of societal norms and hidden desires.

Top cast: Rachael Stirling, Keeley Hawes, Bernice Stegers, John Bower, Jodhi May, Anna Chancellor, Janet Henfrey, Sara Stockbridge, Di Botcher.


The Midwich Cuckoos (2022)

The Midwich Cuckoos

Bftv 8.0 / IMDb 6.6

In a quaint English village, an otherworldly force blankets the entire community for an inexplicable day. As the bewildered villagers awaken, they are confronted with a startling revelation: numerous women in their midst are mysteriously pregnant, giving rise to questions of cosmic intervention and unknown origins. Amidst fear and curiosity, the village grapples with the consequences of this extraordinary event, forever altering their lives and beliefs.

Top cast: Keeley Hawes, Samuel West, Max Beesley, Aisling Loftus, Ukweli Roach, Lara Rossi, Synnøve Karlsen, Hannah Tointon, Amelie Bea Smith.


Summer of Rockets (2019)

Summer of Rockets poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.0

“Summer of Rockets” is a compelling period drama set in Cold War-era Britain. Samuel Petrukhin, a Russian-born Jewish inventor, becomes entangled with British intelligence as he develops surveillance technology. Amidst political intrigue and personal challenges, his family’s secrets unravel while the world teeters on the brink of nuclear conflict.

Top cast: Toby Stephens, Keeley Hawes, Linus Roache, Mark Bonnar, Lucy Cohu, Claire Bloom, Lily Sacofsky, Timothy Spall, Gary Beadle.


Bodyguard (2018)

Bodyguard poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 8.1

“Bodyguard” is a gripping thriller centered around David Budd, a war veteran turned Specialist Protection Officer. Tasked with safeguarding Home Secretary Julia Montague, he finds himself torn between duty and suspicion. As political conspiracies escalate, trust becomes scarce, leading to intense battles of loyalty and survival in the heart of London’s dangerous corridors of power.

Top cast: Richard Madden, Keeley Hawes, Sophie Rundle, Gina McKee, Pippa Haywood, Stuart Bowman, Paul Ready, Ash Tandon, Nina Toussaint-White.


Spooks (2002)


Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 8.3

“Spooks,” also known as “MI-5,” is a thrilling espionage series. The elite British intelligence agency confronts national security threats, while the personal lives of its agents become entangled in the dangerous world of espionage. With high-stakes missions and intricate plots, they must navigate loyalty, betrayal and the constant battle between right and wrong.

Top cast: Peter Firth, Matthew Macfadyen, Nicola Walker, Hugh Simon, Miranda Raison, Rupert Penry-Jones, Anna Chancellor, Hermione Norris, Keeley Hawes, David Oyelowo.


Upstairs Downstairs (2010)

Upstairs Downstairs poster

Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 7.4

“Upstairs Downstairs” is a captivating period drama set in 1930s London. The lives of the wealthy Holland family and their loyal servants intertwine within the walls of 165 Eaton Place. As societal changes loom, secrets unfold, relationships are tested and class divisions blur. A tale of love, ambition and resilience illuminates both sides of the social divide.

Top cast: Keeley Hawes, Ed Stoppard, Adrian Scarborough, Neil Jackson, Anne Reid, Claire Foy, Art Malik, Ellie Kendrick.


Death at a Funeral (2007)

Death at a Funeral

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 7.3

“Death at a Funeral” is a comedy of errors that unfolds during a chaotic funeral. As family and friends gather to pay their respects, secrets are revealed, mistaken identities create confusion and unexpected mishaps ensue. Laughter and mayhem abound as this dysfunctional group muddles through the absurdities of life and death.

Top cast: Matthew Macfadyen, Keeley Hawes, Andy Nyman, Ewen Bremner, Daisy Donovan, Alan Tudyk, Jane Asher, Kris Marshall, Rupert Graves.


Stonehouse (2023)


Bftv 8.5 / IMDb 6.8

“Stonehouse” is a drama that explores into the extraordinary life and times of John Stonehouse, a disgraced Labour politician whose audacious disappearance captivated the world. Set against the backdrop of Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s government in 1974, this compelling series unravels the intricate web of events leading up to Stonehouse’s vanishing act.

Top cast: Matthew Macfadyen, Keeley Hawes, Emer Healey, Kevin McNally, Dorothy Atkinson, Archie Barnes.


Wives and Daughters (1999)

Wives and Daughters poster

Bftv 9.0 / IMDb 8.1

Young Molly Gibson’s peaceful life in a quiet English town unravels when her widowed father remarries, bringing a glamorous but shallow stepmother and a captivatingly impulsive stepsister into her world. Navigating jealousies, societal expectations, and blossoming romance, Molly confronts family secrets and desires of her own heart, learning to bloom anew amidst the whirlwind of newfound family and unforeseen change.

Top cast: Justine Waddell, Francesca Annis, Bill Paterson, Keeley Hawes, Deborah Findlay, Barbara Flynn, Emily Mackenzie, Iain Glen, Tom Hollander, Anthony Howell, Michael Gambon, Ian Carmichael, Rosamund Pike.


Keeley Hawes full filmography @ Wikipedia
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