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Davis, Julia (1966-)

Actor, Writer

Main image of Davis, Julia (1966-)

Indelibly identified with Jill Tyrrell, the terrifying anti-heroine of her jet-black sitcom Nighty Night (BBC, 2004-5), Julia Davis has also worked extensively with some of Britain's most innovative comedians. She was born in 1966 in Bath, and decided to become a comedian after a long period of illness. She first appeared in the sketch shows Comedy Nation (BBC, 1998) and Big Train (BBC, 1998), and perfectly judged performances in such cult comedies as People Like Us (BBC, 1999) and Chris Morris' Jam (Channel 4, 2000) led to her first significant acting and writing role with the disturbingly twisted Human Remains (BBC, 2000), produced by Steve Coogan's company Baby Cow and co-starring his other protégé, Rob Brydon. She also appeared in the 'paedophilia' episode of Morris' Brass Eye (Channel 4, 2001), showing the relish for controversy that would later define her career.

She continued working alongside Coogan, appearing in the lacklustre horror spoof Dr Terrible's House of Horrible (BBC, 2001), in the feature film The Parole Officer (d. John Duigan, 2001) and the second series of I'm Alan Partridge (BBC, 2002). She also had a small, contemptuous cameo in Love Actually (UK/US, d. Richard Curtis, 2003). Her involvement with the infamous Sex Lives of the Potato Men (d. Andy Humphries, 2004) was conveniently obscured by Nighty Night, one of the darkest and strangest 'comedies' ever shown on television. She was nominated for a best actress BAFTA, and won a Royal Society of Television award. A brief appearance in Confetti (d. Debbie Isitt, 2006) did her few favours, but a forthcoming role as the legendary TV chef Fanny Cradock in Fear of Fanny (BBC, 2006) should be suitably bizarre.

Alexander Larman

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Thumbnail image of Brass Eye (1997, 2001)Brass Eye (1997, 2001)

Controversial blurring of drama and documentary, devised by Chris Morris

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