New Sky series Funny Woman lands on our screens this February and as well as being an ode to the world of TV sitcoms, it also explores the tale of one woman trying to make it big and find her true calling.
The comedy is based on Funny Girl, the best-selling novel by Nick Hornby, and is led by Gemma Arterton who stars as Barbara Parker. She goes from being a Blackpool beauty queen to a comedy superstar and the nation’s sweetheart, but the journey is far from straightforward in this new series.
Funny Woman boasts a cast full of familiar faces, but who else stars in it alongside Arterton? Scroll on to find out more about the actors and characters in this new Sky original.
Funny Woman cast
Gemma Arterton as Barbara Parker
Who is Barbara Parker? Barbara is the main character in this new Sky series and we follow her from being a newly-crowned Blackpool beauty queen to a comedy superstar and beloved on-screen personality.
Her journey from being recently engaged and making rock in a Blackpool factory to moving to London isn’t a straightforward one, but she soon finds solace in new friends and a loveable comedy troupe, all while navigating life as one of the few female comedy presences on TV: Sophie Straw.
What else has Gemma Arterton been in? Arterton has been in a variety of roles, with some of her most recent including The King’s Man, The Amazing Maurice, Rogue Agent and Black Narcissus.
Tom Bateman as Clive Richardson
Who is Clive? Clive is a glamorous and integral part of Barbara’s new comedy troupe, but isn’t so keen on Barbara when she first comes on the scene. He’s wary of her talents but goes on to star alongside her in their new comedy show pilot.
What else has Tom Bateman been in? Perhaps best known for his lead role in Da Vinci’s Demons, Bateman has also starred in Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile and Netflix’s Behind Her Eyes.
Arsher Ali as Dennis Mahindra
Who is Dennis? Dennis is a producer and immediately takes a liking to Barbara, wanting to give her a chance even though she blags her way into the initial audition. He’s passionate about what he does, is highly educated and is also a keen talent spotter committed to making TV for everyone.
What else has Arsher Ali been in? Ali has starred in Doctor Who, The Missing, Silent Witness and more recently, Informer, The Fear Index and Everyone Else Burns.
Rupert Everett as Brian Debehnam
Who is Brian Debehnam? Meeting Barbara in episode 1, Brian is a theatrical agent helping Barbara make it big in show business. He pushes her to change her on-screen name to Sophie Straw, claiming it’s “more sophisticated”. He also has a backstory that involves his own pre-war past with acting, but now sees an opportunity in young Barbara Parker.
What else has Rupert Everett been in? The acclaimed actor, director and producer has starred in a multitude of roles including voicing Prince Charming in two Shrek movies, starring in The Serpent Queen and My Policeman, where he acted alongside Linus Roache.
Matthew Beard as Bill
Who is Bill? One of the integral behind-the-scenes team, Bill and Tony initially come on board as part of Dennis’s radio show and now, a new sitcom with Barbara. Speaking about the role, Beard says that Bill “tries to weaponise his comedy”. “He wants it to be socially relevant as part of the angry young men generation that came before him in the ’50s,” he says.
What else has Matthew Beard been in? Beard is known for his leading role as Max Liebermann in BBC crime drama Vienna Blood. He has also starred in The Imitation Game, Avenue 5 and Magpie Murders.
Leo Bill as Tony
Who is Tony? Alongside Bill, Tony is the other writer on the new comedy project and warms to Barbara upon first meeting her. Although married, Tony has questions about his sexuality that he’s struggling with but feels completely himself when with Bill.
What else has Leo Bill been in? Best known for his role as James Brocklebank in 2006’s The Living and the Dead, Bill has also starred in Taboo, Strike, The Long Song and Becoming Elizabeth.
Alexa Davies as Marjorie
Who is Marjorie? Working in the same department store as Barbara in the first episodes, Marjorie is one of the first people to befriend the Blackpool belle. She’s plain-talking, doesn’t appear to have many friends and luckily, has a spare room going so invites Barbara to stay.
Through meeting Barbara, Marjorie’s world is soon opened up a bit further and she stumbles into a woman’s liberation group that sparks a fire in her.
What else has Alexa Davies been in? The Welsh actress has starred in White House Farm, Honour, Detectorists and Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again!
Clare-Hope Ashitey as Diane
Who is Diane? Diane is a young journalist who is the first person to ever interview Barbara and goes on to become a friend of the hopeful comedian. When speaking about her new role, Ashitey says: “She is doggedly pursuing her career; meeting and challenging the barriers thrown up in front of her.”
What else has Clare-Hope Ashitey been in? Ashitey has starred in Top Boy, Suspects, Doctor Foster, Seven Seconds and Death in Paradise.
Alistair Petrie as Ted Sargent
Who is Ted Sargent? Ted is the “prime antagonist in many ways” and head of light entertainment, AKA the man who can make and break decisions as it relates to Barbara’s career and new show. He’s a very powerful man, overseeing new hires, commissions and may just make Barbara’s life a lot more difficult.
What else has Alistair Petrie been in? Petrie is more recently known for his role as Mr Groff in Sex Education, as well as Utopia, The Night Manager, Sherlock and Deep State.
Rosie Cavaliero as Aunty Marie
Who is Aunty Marie? Aunty Marie is Barbara’s aunt, who lives back in Blackpool and doesn’t quite understand why Barbara has set off for London.
What else has Rosie Cavaliero been in? Cavaliero has starred in numerous TV roles including Gentleman Jack, Code 404, Worzel Gummidge, Friday Night Dinner and Unforgotten.
David Threlfall as George
Who is George? George is Barbara’s loveable father who has brought up Barbara on his own. He truly believes in his daughter’s talents and supports her decision to move to London to pursue her career.
What else has David Threlfall been in? The actor is perhaps best known for playing Frank Gallagher in Shameless, but has also starred in BBC murder mystery series What Remains, Ripper Street and Isolation Stories.
Other additional cast members in Funny Woman also include:
- Kyle Pryor as Aiden
- Emily Bevan as Edith
- Olivia Williams as Gloria
- Emma Davies as Beryl
- Doon Mackichan as Miss Sykes
- John Hopkins as Andrew O’Shea
- Elliot James Langbridge as Terry Clarke
- Kenneth Collard as Bert Redwood
Funny Woman is coming to Sky Max and NOW from Thursday 9th February – find out more about how to sign up for Sky TV.
Take a look at the rest of our Drama coverage, or find out what else is on with our TV Guide and Streaming Guide.
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