Filled with larger than life characters, like Graham Norton, UKTV has the perfect mix of hilarious comedies, brilliant chat shows, classic drama and detective series, addictive soaps, and iconic British events.
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Born in Ireland in 1963, Graham’s first foray into the entertainment spotlight was performing as his stand-up drag alter ego – the tea-towel-clad Mother Teresa of Calcutta – at the 1992 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He went on to become a household name starring as Father Noel Furlong in the cult TV sitcom Father Ted.
Graham started his reign as a chat show king with Channel 4, with So Graham Norton and V Graham Norton becoming some the channel's biggest rating successes and garnering a cabinet of gongs, including four BAFTAs. Since migrating to the BBC in 2005, his self-titled chat show has become a cornerstone brand for the organisation.
In recent years, Graham has also garnered much praise as the host of Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber’s BBC talent search shows to find pitch-perfect leads for London productions of The Sound of Music, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, Oliver and The Wizard of Oz.
In 2009, Graham returned to his thespian roots to play Zaza in the London stage revival of Jerry Herman’s 1983 Broadway musical La Cage Aux Folles. His three-month run in a low-cut red-sequined dress, inch-thick make-up and a big blonde wig received critical acclaim, and was a gig that he described as the most fulfilling of his entire career.
In the same year, he also succeeded fellow Irishman, Terry Wogan, as the commentator of the BBC's coverage of the Eurovision Song Contest – and has added his welcomed wry wit to annual proceedings since.
Born in London in 1945 to a Russian immigrant father and English mother, Helen is one of the UK’s leading acting talents of stage, TV and film.
She made her name as a resident theatre actress with the Royal Shakespeare Company from the mid-1960s. She became a household name when she hit TV screens as Detective Jane Tennison – a role she played for seven series between 1991 and 2006, and one that saw her sweep three consecutive BAFTA awards between 1992 and 1994.
Throughout her illustrious career to date, Helen is acclaimed for her regal roles. She has portrayed three British queens – Charlotte of Mecklenburg-Strelitz in the 1994 film The Madness of King George, Elizabeth I in a two-part TV series of the same name in 2005, and an Oscar-winning Elizabeth II in Stephen Frears’ 2006 film The Queen.
In 2013, Helen returned to her stage roots and to the role of Elizabeth II in Peter Morgan’s acclaimed play The Audience at London’s Gielguld Theatre, delivering a performance that secured her a Laurence Olivier Award.
Helen’s services to the performing arts also earned her Damehood in 2003, and BAFTA recognised her brilliance in the form of an Academy Fellowship in 2014.
Born to an RAF pilot father and biology teacher mother in Lincolnshire in 1958, Jennifer’s first career aspiration was to follow in her mother’s educational footsteps. She trained as a drama teacher at London’s Central School of Speech and Drama, where she met her long-term comedy partner Dawn French.
The teaching profession’s loss was the entertainment world’s gain when Jennifer changed tack and garnered acclaim as a member of the alternative comedy stage collective The Comic Strip in the eighties. She went on to be become a household name with the BAFTA-winning TV sketch show French & Saunders.
Global success came knocking in the nineties when Jennifer penned the hit comedy show Absolutely Fabulous, starring as the debauched PR agent Edina Monsoon alongside Joanna Lumley as the boozy Patsy Stone. She later gained big-screen kudos voicing Princess Fiona’s evil Fairy Godmother in the animated Shrek movies, a role that earned her an American People’s Choice Award for Best Movie Villain.
Other TV career highlights include creating and starring in the Woman’s Guild comedy series Jam & Jerusalem, and the spoof daytime talk show The Life and Times of Vivienne Vyle. She is currently hitting a comedy high playing the meddling Connie in Blandings, a comedy-drama series based on the work of P.G. Wodehouse.
Jennifer has been married to British comedy icon Adrian Edmondson (of The Young Ones fame) since 1985.
Born in Devon in 1972, Miranda followed her showbiz dreams after studying Politics at Bristol Polytechnic. She earned her stripes as a comedian performing stand-up and sketch shows at the Edinburgh Festival and on the London circuit for almost a decade – which she supported with administrative temping work, including being a PA for the charity Comic Relief.
She came to public recognition starring in the BBC sitcom Not Going Out with Lee Mack, and earned a British Comedy Award nomination for her role in the sci-fi comedy Hyperdrive alongside Nick Frost. She has also made memorable guest appearances in such cornerstone TV comedies as Nighty Night, Smack the Pony, Absolutely Fabulous, Vicar of Dibley and Jack Dee’s Lead Balloon.
She hit comedy gold in 2009 as the writer and star of her self-titled sitcom, Miranda – a series that firmly established her as one of the UK’s leading comic talents and has garnered an enviable cluster of industry comedy awards.
Miranda has also flexed her thespian muscle as a straight actress, starring as Nurse Chummy in the hit period TV drama series Call the Midwife.
Born to Irish parents in London in 1972, Stephen initially had his professional sights set on being a legal eagle and studied Law at Cambridge University. He knew within two days of university that he didn't want to be a lawyer and spent most of his time taking part in drama productions, starring in 23 overall.
Prompted to pursue his thespian aspirations by the death of his mother, whom he nursed for a year, Stephen mastered his craft at London’s prestigious RADA. After graduating in 1994, he spent several years in regional theatre, performing such classics such as The Tempest, Twelfth Night and Hamlet. Successful seasons with the Royal Shakespeare Company and the touring company Cheek By Jowl earned him an Ian Charleson Award nomination for his roles as Sir Benjamin Backbite in The School for Scandal and Don Pedro in Much Ado About Nothing.
2001 marked Stephen’s breakthrough TV role as the eponymous character in the six-part adaptation of Sue Townsend's Adrian Mole: The Cappuccino Years, followed by his hilarious portrayal of Dr Guy Secretan in the cult comedy series Green Wing. He has gone on to play a number of similarly self-obsessed characters on the big screen, such as Sean Sullivan in Festival and Josef in Confetti.
Stephen’s other notable TV appearances include co-starring with Matt Le Blanc and Tamsin Greig in Episodes, appearing as Tony Blair in the Comic Strip production The Hunt for Tony Blair, and as the eponymous hero of the Dirk Gently series.