60-Second Guide to Broadchurch star Olivia Colman

How much do you know about one of Britain's busiest and most loved actresses Olivia Colman?

Olivia Colman has been a hit with viewers as DS Ellie Miller in ITV’s Broadchurch, working tirelessly with DCI Alec Hardy (David Tennant) to discover who attacked farm shop worker Trish Winterman (Julie Hesmondhalgh). She’s one of Britain’s most recognisable AND rewarded television stars, but how much do you know about the 43-year-old actress?

Ahead of Monday’s unmissable finale, read our quick guide to the life and career of Olivia Colman…

Olivia’s real name is Sarah Colman, Olivia is one of her middle names, having been born Sarah Caroline Olivia Colman on January 30, 1974.



Olivia was born in Norwich, Norfolk. Her mum was a nurse and her dad a chartered surveyor. She went to two independent schools – Norwich High School for Girls and Gresham’s School in Holt.

She was bitten by the acting bug at the age of 16, after appearing in a school production of The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, playing the lead role of Jean Brodie, a role made famous by Downton Abbey’s Maggie Smith in the 1969 film.


'One million Peep Show fans can't be wrong'
After leaving school Olivia won a place at Cambridge University, and joined the famous Cambridge University Footlights Dramatic Club where she met comedians David Mitchell and Robert Webb, her future Peep Show co-stars, as well as comedian and actor Peter Serafinowicz.

After studying drama, Olivia worked as a temp and a cleaner before landing various TV roles, which she believes has kept her grounded. “I can’t forget what it was like to struggle to pay the rent and sometimes to have to borrow money to get on the bus, and it’s important that I don’t.”


When Olivia met her husband Ed Sinclair at the age of 20 it was love at first sight! She said: “There’s the bloke I’m going to marry. For me it was thunderbolts straight away.”

They married in 2001 and have three children.


The powerful drama, Broadchurch, finally signs off – but goes out on a high
Olivia’s one of TV’s busiest actors and has appeared in The Night Manager, Twenty Twelve, Rev, Accused, Fleabag, Flowers, The Green Wing. Peep Show and, of course, Broadchurch.

Olivia has won a multitude of awards for her acting, including three BAFTAS (for Twenty Twelve, Accused and Broadchurch) and a Golden Globe for her role in The Night Manager.


Peter Capaldi as Doctor Who

She’s one of the favourites to play the next Doctor Who, following Peter Capaldi’s departure, although she has already appeared in the show as Mother in a 2010 episode called The Eleventh Hour.

Watch Olivia in the final episode of Broadchurch on ITV, Easter Monday, at 9pm

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