BBC Baptise star Fiona Shaw, 62, who currently lives in London but is originally from Ireland, is best known to many for playing Petunia Dursley in the Harry Potter franchise.
Moving on from this role, however, Fiona has starred in popular BBC British comedy drama Fleabag and is now the face of BBC’s latest series Baptiste about a police hunt for missing people.
Fiona grew up in Cork, Ireland as the second child to her physicist mother and ophthalmic consultant father.
As a child she enjoyed poetry and would often win prizes for reciting it at school. She once said: “It was very empowering speaking language that was much bigger than myself.”
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Her father insisted she go to university so she decided to fulfil his wishes and studied philosophy but kept acting throughout that time.
Fiona has deep roots to this city having spent her early career training at the established Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in West London, correlating her current projects to her time at the school.
“I am as excited now as I was when I first left drama school and was having that marvellous time,” she said.
After studying at RADA, Fiona’s career started off small and she did theatre work which included shows at the National Theatre and Royal Shakespeare Company.
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Fiona’s theatre work included a long collaboration with the director Deborah Warner and played Richard II, and performed some of the meatiest roles there are, such as Hedda Gabler and Medea.
The actress has had many thrilling opportunities in the industry which has seen her fly from country to country but she admits it wasn’t always easy speaking out about the struggles she faced when she went to America to find a roles over there.
She said: “I got to Hollywood and they said: ‘You’re very old.’ I remember thinking, ‘S***, that’s bad.’”
Although she cherished theatre, according to an interview she gave to The Guardian, ‘the film world couldn’t see much past her comic turn as an English eccentric’ but the actress later triumphed when she was cast in the Harry Potter films.
Fiona previously had a relationship with Law and Order actress Saffron Burrows, who was also amongst the cast in the Netflix hit show You.
However, now she is married to economist Sonali Deraniyagala and the pair have been married since 2018.
BBC Baptiste airs on BBC One tonight at 9pm.