WCW: Olivia Colman


Olivia Colman will always be Sophie from modern-set British comedy Peep Show, as well as a regular guest star on all the Mitchell & Webb sketch shows. But she’s doing more period film these days, and she’s SO GOOD and up for an Oscar as Queen Anne in The Favourite! She also just seems like a genuinely nice person — if you’re a fan, be sure to check out her recent episode in the genealogy documentary show Who Do You Think You Are (British version, you can find the episode on YouTube). Editor’s Note: She’s also the first guest in the podcast ‘David Tennant Does a Podcast With’ — download it wherever you prefer finding podcasts!


Hyde Park on Hudson (2012)

As Queen Elizabeth, wife of King George VI, who visit Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt in New York, 1939.

2012 Hyde Park on Hudson

The queen we know as Queen Mum, not Elizabeth II.

2012 Hyde Park on Hudson

Perfect mid-century British royal.


The Suspicions of Mr. Whicher: The Murder in Angel Lane (2013)

A series of TV movies about an 1860-ish Scotland Yard detective. In this one, Olivia plays a wealthy lady.

2013 The Suspicions of Mr Whicher- The Murder in Angel Lane

Wow, a decent number of accessories and historically accurate hairstyle!

2013 The Suspicions of Mr Whicher- The Murder in Angel Lane

I still think this hat and wrap look 1880s.

2013 The Suspicions of Mr Whicher- The Murder in Angel Lane

But I shockingly LIKE this dress, which is rare for me with mid-Victorian.


Mr. Sloane (2014)

As a late 1960s wife who leaves her husband to find herself.

2014 Mr. Sloane


Drunk History: UK (2017)

As Ethel Le Neve, the mistress of a 1910 doctor who murdered his wife.

2017 Drunk History UK Ethel Le Neve

NO idea what’s up here.

2017 Drunk History UK Ethel Le Neve

Okay this is looking more 1910.


Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

The Agatha Christie murder mystery; Colman plays German Hildegarde Schmidt.

Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

Clearly second fiddle to Judi Dench’s ritzy character.

Murder on the Orient Express (2017)

That hat! “HELLO I AM GERMAN!”

Murder on the Orient Express (2017)



The Favourite (2018)

As Queen Anne of England (reigned 1702-07), who is involved with two royal favorites: the established Duchess of Marlborough and upstart Abigail Masham. Colman just won the Golden Globe for this role, and is a strong contender for a Best Actress Oscar.

The Favourite (2018)

Being reinforced for riding.

The Favourite (2018)

Addressing parliament in state robes.

The Favourite (2018)

Fabulous fontange and weird dress trims.


Coming Up

Les Misérables (2019)

She’ll be playing Madame Thénardier, an unscrupulous innkeeper’s wife who raises ingenue Colette as a child, in the non-singing BBC miniseries.

2019 Les Miserables

Hey, she actually looks 1830s!

2019 Les Miserables

Poverty ain’t fun.

2019 Les Miserables

Meeting Fantine and Cosette?


The Crown (2019)

She’ll be playing Queen Elizabeth II in the upcoming season, replacing Claire Foy who played the younger version of the same character.

2019 The Crown

Yep, spot on with the hair and jacket/dress combo!

2019 The Crown

Hilarious huge 1960s hats with Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret!

2019 The Crown

Srs queen is srs.


What’s your odds on Colman winning the Oscar for The Favourite?


About the author



Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

21 Responses

  1. Elizabeth Mahon

    So in the Drunk History episode, Olivia as Ethel has run off with her doctor/lover Dr. Crippen who has murdered his wife. Erik Larson has a great book about it called Thunderstruck.

    • Sarah

      And they were caught after being recognized on a ship, where they were infamously disguised as a father and son (but kept sort of cuddling anyway).

  2. Sam Marchiony

    Based on the last award ceremonies, it seems to me like the Oscar’s going to be going home with Glenn Close (who fully deserves it), but Olivia is delightful, and I’m sure there will be more plum roles for her in the future.

  3. Trystan L. Bass

    You absolutely MUST listen to the David Tennant podcast! He & Colman are old friends, so their conversation is absolutely charming & funny. Also, she has lots of interesting inside bits about her films too.

  4. Cheryl Hansen

    I just finished Thunderstruck on Audible, so I knew exactly what was going on, running away from justice!

  5. Sharon in Scotland

    I LOVE this woman. Check her out in “The Green Wing” which is bonkers…………….just like her

    • SarahV

      Check her out as she steals every scene she in which she appears in “Hot Fuzz” as the hilariously bawdy and sex-positive Constable Doris Thatcher.

  6. India

    I love Olivia Coleman and she is wonderful in ‘The Favourite’ (and everything else she does) but … pleeeeeeeze… Queen Anne of England?? She was a Stuart for gawd’s sake, a Scottish dynasty. She also oversaw the Act of Union which amalgamated the Scottish and English parliaments just over 100 years after the Union of the Crowns. I love you guys and I love how you constantly call out historical inaccuracies so there’s no excuse for consistently getting this wrong. England is no more the United Kingdom than Massachusetts is the United States.

    OK, now that I’ve got that off my chest I’m going for a very (very) large, pink drink.


    • Aleko

      I totally second you about Anne not being ‘Queen of England’; but while the Stuarts had been a Scottish dynasty, it was four generations since James VI and I had gratefully swapped Holyrood for Hampton Court; he and his descendants rarely went back, not at all if they could help it. They certainly didn’t feel Scottish, nor were they seen so.

  7. Kendra

    Depends on your definition of mid-century? I didn’t mean it like “atomic vintage 1950s,” I meant it like middle-of-the-20th-century.

  8. Susan Pola Staples

    She’s got my vote for Oscar, and I loved her Queen Anne. But you made an error Queen Anne’s rule ended at her death in 1714.

    I also am awaiting her QEII.

  9. Barb D

    I can’t wait for The Crown. I just binged the first 2 seasons. With Olivia and Tobias in the leads it should be great.

  10. Ms. M.

    David Tennant just started a podcast, and the first episode is just him and Olivia Coleman talking for almost an hour. She says she mostly took the role in Murder on the Orient Express to work with Judi Dench! I love it.

  11. Nzie

    I LOVE Olivia Coleman. Peep Show wasn’t my thing but I started to like her in Mitchell and Webb sketches and then she just totally impressed me in The Night Manager (not historical). I am so glad to see her getting all sorts of great roles, and she does seem like a genuine, lovely and humble person (especially evident watching her Who Do You Think You Are? episode). She was on Would I Lie to You not that long ago on David Mitchell’s team and it isn’t a heartwarming show (it’s just funny) but you could see the friendship. I am going to have to listen to the David Tennant podcast. I really like him, too, but am not much of a podcast listening.. but add her to him and it tips the scales.

    I’m very much looking forward to The Crown; when she was announced I thought she was just a great choice. Hilariously she said on Graham Norton she has a hard time keeping a serious face so she was fitted with an ear piece where they played the shipping forecast for her. :-) As for the rest, I haven’t seen a lot of them—but they’re going on my list now!

  12. SarahV

    That photo of her and HBC as Elizabeth and Margaret features a female extra between them that looks very much like an actual Windsor! Weird.

    Even the boozy, lovelorn and daffy 60’s version of Margaret still has the most spectacular wardrobe! Look at that coat! I would kill for that coat!

  13. MrsC (Maryanne)

    Oh I had to go listen to the podcast with her and DT and it was so good. I do feel for her though, no longer being able to jut go down the pub or play with her kids at the park. An actor who really isn’t in it for the fame! I hope she wins the Oscar so we can all see how she deals with not being able to F bomb her way through the acceptance speech like at the British Indy Film Awards, that was priceless!

  14. Daniel Milford-Cottam

    “I’m in everything” is my favourite Colman line, from a spoof/comedy thing done at the time of the 50th anniversary of Doctor Who where the Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Doctor actors are trying to get themselves involved in the anniversary episode. So many cameos/guest spots. But it is such a funny line because of how knowing it is….

    • MoHub

      Best ever. And Peter Davison—Doctor #5—wrote and produced the whole thing.

  15. Karen K.

    I listened to the Tennant podcast immediately after seeing The Favourite in a theater, they were so lovely and charming together! I’ve loved her in everything since Broadchurch, can’t wait for the next season of The Crown!

    And WHAT IS UP WITH THOSE 1960s HATS? They look like giant mushrooms!

  16. Nzie

    And now she’s an Oscar-winner! With the most genuinely delightful genuinely didn’t have a speech prepared speech. :-)