Robbie Coltrane 'put on too much weight' and 'loved drink' says Miriam Margolyes in honest tribute

British-Australian actress Margolyes has become known for her outspoken and often risque television and radio appearances over the years.

The Oxford-born actress, 81, dropped the F-bomb during her appearance on the first series of University Challenge in 1963 – possibly one of the first times the word was said on British television.

She represented Newnham College, Cambridge, where she studied English and developed her craft as an actress.

Margolyes went on to have a wide-ranging career spanning decades, beginning in the 1970s with voiceover work before going on to appear in her first comedy series, The Betty Witherspoon Show, on BBC Radio 2 in 1974.

She quickly became recognized for her wit and comedic timing and went on to appear in films and TV shows, including Blackadder opposite Rowan Atkinson.

Margolyes’ most famous role is as Professor Sprout in the Harry Potter film series, where she co-starred with her late friend Robbie Coltrane, who played Hagrid.

She won a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her role in Martin Scorsese’s 1993 The Age of Innocence.

British-Australian actress Margolyes has become known for her outspoken and often risque television and radio appearances over the years

Since 2018, Margolyes has portrayed Mother Mildred in the BBC One drama, Call The Midwife.

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The actress has not hidden her political views and is a member of Labour.

Before university she said she ‘always voted Tory… [from] a very middle-class Jewish background’.

While at college she joined the Workers Revolutionary Party with actress Vanessa Redgrave and has previously said she ‘moved sharply left with age’.

She was a supporter of Jeremy Corbyn and publicly defended him against accusations of anti-Semitism.

She was also a vocal opponent of Boris Johnson’s strategy during the Covid-19 pandemic, which she described as ‘a disgrace’.

After the then Prime Minister was ill with Covid, the comedian faced backlash after saying on Channel 4’s Last Leg: “I found it hard not to want Boris Johnson to die, I wanted him to die and then thought me that it reflects badly on me and I don’t want to be the kind of person who wants people to die, so I wanted him to get better, which he did, he got better, but he got no better as a person, and I would really prefer that.”

Her comments led to an ‘initial investigation’ by Ofcom, but no official investigation was launched.

In January 2018, she surprised journalist Robert Peston with the F-bomb during his ITV Sunday morning show, despite warning the presenter that she was about to use ‘a bad word’.

In 2002 Margolyes was awarded an OBE for services to drama.

She published her memoir, This Much is True, in 2021.


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