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Playing Valerie in Nil by Mouth

With Ricky Tomlinson in Once Upon a Time in the Midlands

As the hideous Linda La Hughes in Gimme Gimme Gimme

With Harry Enfield dressed as Perry in Kevin and Perry

 

 


At the age of 16 - when Kathy Burke first when to the Anna Scher Theatre School on Barnsbury Road, close to her home in Islington, London - Kathy Burke was bitten by the acting bug.

A year later, she appeared in her first film, Scrubbers, a gritty drama about a girl's borstel. She played a working-class Londoner - a role that she later revisited in her award-winning role as Valerie in Nil by Mouth alongside old friend and fellow Cockney Ray Winstone.

Since then, she has become once of Britain's best-loved actresses, starring in over a dozen movies, stealing the show in numerous TV dramas, appearing in various acclaimed theatre productions, creating numerous unforgettable comedy characters and popping up as herself in shows from Never Mind The Buzzcocks to Room 101.

However, while she is perhaps best remembered playing Waynetta Slob or Perry the teenager in Harry Enfield's comedy shows, she is also a playwright and a director, penning (and later directing) her first play, Mr Thomas, when she was 22. Recently she has decided to give up the acting and concentrate on bringing plays to life on stage, directing four in the last three years with more in the pipeline.

She has worked with just about every big name in British acting from Gary Oldman, Mike Leigh, Robert Carlyle, Shane Meadows, Cate Blanchett, Rhys Ifans, Ray Winstone, Ricky Tomlinson; every comedy hero from Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, Harry Enfield, Paul Whitehouse, Lee Evans; and the odd Hollywood movie star (Meryl Streep).

She fronted her own, very popular, comedy series, playing the hideous Linda La Hughes in Gimme Gimme Gimme, which ran for three series. She retains the respect and admiration of everyone that has worked with her, and has inspired and encouraged many of Britain's up-and-coming actors and actresses.

Such effort has also seen her win numerous awards including several best actresses awards, best comedy actress and most popular comedy performer. And she has been nominated for many more.

In short, in a 20-year span, she has managed to play lead roles in every conceivable acting outlet and portray everything from a deranged Queen of England, to a confused and horny (male) teenager, to a battered and defiant housewife. She is, as one paper pronounced, "the best British character actress of her generation".