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Tamsin Leaf (née Greig)
Biographical information

12 July, 1966



Current nation of residence

Kensal Green, London



Eye colour


Hair colour


Years Active

1991 - present

In Black Books
Notable Roles

Tamsin Leaf (neé Greig) (b. July 12, 1966) is an Olivier-award British winning actress whose most notable roles include Fran Katzenjammer in Black Books and Dr. Caroline Todd in Green Wing. She has also appeared in Jane Austen's Emma, Shaun of the Dead and Love Soup.


Early life[]

Greig is of Jewish, Polish and Scottish ethnicity and was raised in Camden in London. She then moved to Kilburn when she was three with her two sisters. She attended Malorees Junior School, followed by Camden School for Girls where she got A-Levels in English ("A"), French ("A") and Maths ("D"), and then attended University of Birmingham where she recieved first class honours degree in Drama and Theatre Arts.

She worked as a temp at the Family Planning Association until 1996. She also attended secretarial college before moving back to London in 1996. Despite never planning to move back to London, her father was dying and she wanted to comfort him.

Radio career[]

Greig has starred as Debbie Aldridge in the BBC Radio 4 soap opera The Archers since 1991. Due to Greig's other commitments, she cannot appear in the show all the time and her character Debbie spends most of her time in Hungary.

Greig has also appeared in radio comedy and is famous for her roles as Gayle Shand, a rival to Prentiss McCabe and Charles Prentiss's former lover, in the second series of the rasio version of Absolure Power. Greig is famous for bursting into laughter, or corpsing, during her more comic roles.

Television and cinema career[]

One of Greig's first television appearances was in 1999 on an advertisement for insurance in which she gave birth. Coincidentally, the advertisement was filmed only three weeks before she gave birth to her first son. She went on to appear in minor parts in various TV shows (e.g. Lamia in Neverwhere (1996) and the Mother in an episode of People Like Us (2000). However, her first major role was in Black Books, in which she starred alongside Dylan Moran and Bill Bailey as Fran Katzenjammer, a neurotic shopkeeper. The show ran from 2000 to 2004.

Her role as Fran Katzenjammer gained her international fame and her next major role saw her acting alongside Black Books co-stars Dylan Moran and Simon Pegg in the 2004 comedy horror film, Shaun of the Dead. She went on to have a minor role in Doctor Who, before staring as Dr. Caroline Todd in the medical comedy drama series, Green Wing. This role earned her the Best Comedy Performance award at the 2005 Royal Television Society Awards.

She then went on to star as Alice Chenery in the BBC comedy drama series, Love Soup, in 2005, a role specifically written for her by David Renwick, a friend of hers whom she met in 2003 while filming an episode of Jonathan Creek. She has since appeared as Edith Frank in the 2009 documentary, The Diary of Anne Frank, and as Miss Bates in the BBC drama serial, Jane Austen's Emma. She also presented a BRIT Award in 2006.

Theatrical career[]

From 2006 to 2007, Greig starred as Beatrice in the Shakespeare stage show Much Ado About Nothing, for which she recieved a Laurence Olivier Award. She then appeared as Constance in King John, as part of the Royal Shakespeare Company's The Complete Works season.

She then went on to become the first woman to win the Critics' Circle Theatre Award for Best Shakespearean Performance in Much Ado About Nothing, and was nominated for The FRANCO'S Best Actress in a Play award in the Whatsonstage Theatregoers' Choice Awards. In 2008, Greig co-starred in the surreal sci-fi film Captain Eager and the Mark of Voth. She went on to appear in the award-winning play, God of Carnage, at the Gielgud Theatre in March 2008. She debuted in National Theatre in the Daiv Hare play, Gethsemane. She is currently starring in the The Little Dog Laughed by Douglas Carter Beane at the Garrick Theatre in London. 

Personal life[]

Greig is married to fellow actor Richard Leaf, with whom she has three children: two boys (born 1999 and 2001) and one daughter (born 2005). The names of the children have not been publicised, although it is known that all of the childrens' middle names begin with the letter 'Z', and they are affectionately known as the 'Leaflets'. She met Leaf at on the set of Neil Gaiman's 1996 miniseries Neverwhere, and is somewhat embarrassed by the fact that since their marraige, Greig is occasionally called Mrs. T Leaf.

Her hobbies included parachute jumping and trampolining before becoming a mother. She has stated that she is often mistaken for Sharleen Spiteri, the lead singer of the band Texas, the impressionist Ronni Ancona, the comedian Sue Perkins and is even states that she is sometimes mistaken for a man. Greig is a supporter of the National Health Service, giving her support to a rally organised by pro-NHS protest group NHS Together. She also supports more practical teaching of Shakespeare in British schools, supporting the RSC's 'Stand Up For Shakespeare' manifesto. She currently resides with her family in a flat in Kensal Green, London.


Year Title Type Role
1994 Blue Heaven TV sitcom Prof. Wiseman
1996 Faith in the Future Comedy festival Emma
Neverwhere Fantasy drama Lamia
1997 So This Is Romance? Romantic comedy Carmen
Blind Men Comedy show Valerie Marsden
This is the Sea Romantic drama (Voice)
Wycliffe Crime drama Dr. Hinkley
1998 Twentieth Century Blues: The Songs of Noël Coward Documentary Herself (guest)
The Great Egyptians Documentary Cleopatra
1999 People Like Us Comedy show
  • Jenny
  • Sarah
2000 - 2004 Black Books TV sitcom Fran Katzenjammer
2001 World of Pub TV sitcom Julia Robbins
Happiness TV sitcom Emma
High Stakes TV sitcom Delphina
2002 Falling Apart Drama Jackie
Pure Drama Liaison officer
Miranda Film Receptionist
2003 Cheese Makes You Dream Drama Charlotte
Jonathan Creek Crime drama Pam
Ready When You Are Mr. McGill Drama Lianne
French Leave Documentary Narrator (voice)
2004 - 2006 Green Wing Comedy drama Dr. Caroline Todd
2004 When I'm 64 Drama Denny
The Lenny Henry Show Comedy show Various roles
Shaun of the Dead Comedy film Maggie
Richard & Judy Chat show Herself (guest)
2005 - 2008 Love Soup Comedy drama Alice Chenery
2005 Doctor Who Sci-fi drama Nurse
Children in Need Charity show Herself
2006 The Secret Policeman's Ball Comedy festival Dr. Caroline Todd
Friday Night with Jonathan Ross Chat show Herself
BRIT Awards Award ceremony Herself
Imagine Documentary Herself
2007 Stuffed: The Great British Christmas Dinner Documentary Narrator (voice)
Time Shift Documentary Narrator (voice)
Play It Again Documentary Narrator (voice)
The World's Greatest Comedy Characters Documentary Herself (guest)
Arena Documentary Herself (guest)
2008 Captain Eager and the Mark of Voth Sci-fi Jenny
Prince John: The Windsors' Tragic Story Documentary Narrator (voice)
Blackadder's Most Cunning Moments Documentary Herself (guest)
A Taste of My Life Documentary / Chat show Herself
2009 Emma Drama Ms. Bates
Cuckoo Film Simon
The Diary of Anne Frank Drama Edith Frank
Loose Women Chat show Herself (guest)
2010 Breakfast Chatshow Herself (guest)
Going Postal Comedy fantasy Ms. Cripslock

Behind the scenes[]

  • Greig has two sisters, one older and one younger than her. Her younger sister, Abigail, is a primary school teacher, and her older sister, Dorcas, is an adult education lecturer.
  • In 2008, Greig submitted a drawing into the National Doodle Campaign, in which celebrity 'doodles' were auctioned off for charity.
  • Greig is a commited Christian, after converting from being an atheist in 1997.
  • She considers Smack the Pony as her biggest influence.
  • She enjoys swimming, shopping and walking in her local park.

External links[]