Gemma Whelan began her career in stand-up comedy, and I wonder if that’s where she mastered the side-eye and sarcastic smirk she imbues so many of her historical roles with. Oh sure, everyone knows her as the bad-ass lesbian warrior-sailor Yara Greyjoy from Game of Thrones, but since that role in 2012-16, she’s been back at more comedic chops, often in costume. I hope she take on more frock flicks, funny or serious!
Irene Coles in Mapp & Lucia (2014)
A dandy of an artist who flirts with Lucia in this second adaption (vs. the 1984 one) of the E. F. Benson stories. HAWT.
Ida Battersea in Hetty Feather (2016-17)
Then there’s this children’s series about girls at Victorian foundling hospital, which does not sound fun.
Gemma Whelan played aspiring actress Kate in this comedy riffing about Shakespeare’s life. It ran for three full seasons & had 2 Christmas specials since then.
Diane Fagan in Decline and Fall (2017)
She had a small part in this Evelyn Waugh adaption set in the ’20s.
Patricia Campbell in “Marionettes,” The Crown (2017)
In this one episode of The Crown, she played a real person, the secretary of Lord Altrincham, who was the first major journalist to critique Queen Elizabeth II in the press.
Various parts in Horrible Histories (2017-19)
Ostensibly a children’s show, but it’s just a good silly sketch comedy series about history.
Featuring great actors, like Gemma Whelan, & nice historical costumes, like this gown recycled from Wolf Hall (2015).
She’s played everyone from Nefertiti to Mona Lisa to Emily Bronte (shown here).
As Anne Lister’s younger & perpetually annoyed sister.
It’s all about that face.
She is fantastically entertaining to watch! Can’t wait to see more of her in season 2.
Miss Taylor / Mrs. Weston in Emma. (2020)
She plays Emma’s beloved governess.
Who gets married at the start of the story.
And is still Emma’s sounding-board, even after she has a house & child of her own.
Is Gemma Whelan always Yara Greyjoy to you, or do you have a favorite historical costume movie or TV role that you remember her by?