Sheridan Smith (born 25 June 1981) is an English actress. In television, Smith's first TV appearance came in 1999 when she played Matilda in ITV's Dark Ages, and she is best known for her roles on the comedy series Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, Gavin & Stacey (2008–10), and Benidorm (2009). Smith played the title role in the five-part series Mrs Biggs(2012), as Charmian Biggs, wife of Ronnie Biggs. She is also a critically acclaimed West End theatre actress, having won two Laurence Olivier Awards in two consecutive years: in 2011, the award for Best Actress in a Musical for playing Elle Woods in Legally Blonde; and in 2012, that for Best Performance in a Supporting Role for her performance as Doris in the revival of Flare Path.
Smith was born in Epworth, Lincolnshire and studied dance with the Joyce Mason School of Dancing in Scunthorpe from an early age. She also trained in movement and dance with Kay Traviss. She attended South Axholme Community School where she studied Performing Arts. She was a member of the National Youth Music Theatre from 1995–2001, performing a number of lead roles in productions such as Bugsy Malone and Into the Woods.
Television and filmEdit
From 1999 to 2000, Smith played Emma, the girlfriend of Antony (Ralf Little) in The Royle Family, but did not appear in later episodes. She played Janet in the long-running series Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, successively girlfriend, wife and widow of Johnny (also portrayed by Ralf Little) from 2001 until her departure from the show in 2009.
In 2004, she made a one-episode appearance in Mile High as Suzy, an airport cleaner who was so desperate to become cabin crew, she impersonated a flight attendant. She also featured in The Comic Strip's 2005 episode "Sex Actually" as Angie.
Smith played Cleo Martin in Love Soup (2005); and starred as Michelle, a hypocritical nutritionist, in three series of the sitcom Grownups (2006–9). She has also appeared on The Lenny Henry Show as M.E. Westmocott, a role spoofing the various medical examiners on CSI. In the 2009 Two Pints of Lager Comic Relief special, which crossed over with Grownups, Smith played her characters from both series.
Smith has also appeared in a number of other shows including the BBC's Eyes Down alongside Paul O'Grady in which she played the part of Sandy, and smaller parts in shows such as The Bill and Fat Friends. She featured in the second and third series of another BBC Three sitcom, Gavin & Stacey, co-written by James Corden, as his character Smithy's sister Rudi. Smith guest starred in the Christmas 2008 episode of Lark Rise to Candleford and appeared on New Year's Day 2009 in "The Grinning Man", a special episode of Jonathan Creek. She also appeared in "The Judas Tree", an Easter special aired in April 2010, playing the same character. She was a regular in the third series of Benidorm playing Brandy.
During 2010, Smith acted as a mentor to the contestants of the BBC show Over the Rainbow. She appeared as a guest on the BBC show The One Show on 3 August 2010. Sky Arts' Chekhov Comedy Shorts also featured Smith in 2010 when she starred in The Proposal, as Natasha (reuniting her with Gavin & Stacey actor Mathew Horne).The programme was first shown on 28 November 2010.
Smith appeared in the 2011 film Hysteria, about the invention of the vibrator, in which Rupert Everett uses a vibrator on Smith in a lengthy orgasm scene. For the factual hospital series Bizarre ER, Smith took over narration duties from Freema Agyeman. She appeared in the 2012 ITV1 film adaptation of Daphne du Maurier's novel The Scapegoat.
Smith's theatre credits include the musical Into the Woods at London's Donmar Warehouse, and Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew and A Midsummer Night's Dream at the Open Air Theatre, Regent's Park. She also played Audrey in the stage production of Little Shop of Horrors at the Menier Chocolate Factory, London, from November 2006, with the production then transferring to the Duke of York's Theatre in March 2007. Following a successful run the production moved again at the end of June 2007 to the New Ambassadors Theatre, where its played until September 2007. Smith was nominated for the 2008 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in the show.
Smith appeared as Vanessa in Tinderbox: a Revenge Comedy by Lucy Kirkwood at the Bush Theatre, Shepherd's Bush, in April 2008. Smith originated the role of Elle Woods in the musical version of Legally Blonde in its transfer from Broadway to London's West End in December 2009. Ex-Blue boyband member Duncan James played opposite Smith until June 2010, when he was replaced by Richard Fleeshman. Other cast members Sheridan has performed alongside include Aoife Mulholland as Brooke, Denise Van Outen as Paulette, Peter Davison as Professor Callahan. Her performance was well received, the Daily Telegraph describing her as: "blessed with vitality, warmth, great comic timing and sudden moments of touching vulnerability. She is infinitely more likeable than Reese Witherspoon in the film."
Smith was originally supposed to leave Legally Blonde on 23 October 2010, but she extended her run to 8 January 2011, when Susan McFadden took over the role.For her role in Legally Blonde, Smith won the WhatsOnStage.com Theatregoers' Choice Award for Best Actress in a Musical. She was also nominated for the Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress and was the winner of the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical.
Between March and June 2011, she appeared in Trevor Nunn's production of Flare Path at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket as Doris, a former barmaid married to a Polish count in the RAF. The production was part of the playwrightTerence Rattigan's centenary year celebrations and also starred Sienna Miller and James Purefoy. For this role she won the 2012 Laurence Olivier Award for Best Performance in a Supporting Role, the 2011 Natasha Richardson Award for Best Actress and the BroadwayWorld UK Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play.
As well as her role in Legally Blonde, Smith also performed the title role in the workshop productions of a new musical adaptation of Bridget Jones' Diary. On 5 April 2012, it was announced that Smith had decided to pull out of the musical, and would no longer be playing the title role, delaying the production of the show. In September 2012, Smith played the title role in Hedda Gabler at the Old Vic, winning the 2013 Theatregoers' Choice Award for Best Actress in a Play. Shortly before collecting her award at the ceremony on 17 February 2013, Smith performed the original song Stagey And Proud, which was written by Chris Passey and Amy Carroll.
Smith played companion Lucie Miller alongside Paul McGann's Eighth Doctor in a radio series of Doctor Who, produced by Big Finish and transmitted on BBC 7 from New Year's Eve 2006; the plays returned in a second series released on CD and scheduled for BBC 7 broadcast. A third series of adventures for Lucie and the Doctor aired in March 2009, as weekly half-hour downloads followed by a Christmas Special. Lucie Miller made her final appearances in the fourth series, ending in 2011. Smith also appeared as Ruby Ruggles in the 2008 radio serial The Way We Live Right Now, and took over the role of Tamsin Trelawny in series 2 of Elephants to Catch Eels on BBC Radio 4.