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Shirley Henderson in 2009
Shirley Henderson in 2009

Shirley Henderson (born 24 November 1965) is a Scottish actress. Her film roles include Gail in Trainspotting (1996), Jude in the three Bridget Jones films (2001/04/16), and Moaning Myrtle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005). Her other films include Topsy-Turvy (1999), Wilbur Wants to Kill Himself (2002), Frozen (2005), Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008), Anna Karenina (2012), and the Netflix film Okja (2017).

Henderson starred opposite Robert Carlyle in the BBC series Hamish Macbeth (1995–97), and played Frances Drummond in the BBC drama Happy Valley (2016). She was nominated for the BAFTA TV Award for Best Supporting Actress for the Channel 4 miniseries Southcliffe (2013), for the Canadian Screen Award for Best Actress for her performance in the 2017 film Never Steady, Never Still, and won the 2018 Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her role as Elizabeth in the original production of Girl from the North Country.[1]

Early life

Henderson was born in Forres, Moray, but grew up in Kincardine, Fife.[2][3] As a child, she began singing in local clubs, at charity events, holiday camps and even a boxing contest.[2][4] Having joined an after-school drama club,[5] Henderson attended Fife College at the age of 16, where she completed a one-year course resulting in a National Certificate in Theatre Arts.[6] She moved to London at 17 where she spent three years at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, graduating in 1986.[7][8]


Henderson got her first big break when Leonard White cast her as the lead in the children's television drama Shadow of the Stone on ITV. After this, she spent the majority of her twenties concentrating on performing a wide variety of roles in the theatre. Early 1990 saw her return to television screens when she appeared in the third series of the wartime drama series Wish Me Luck and in Clarissa (1991). More stage work followed before she landed the key role of Isobel in the popular BBC series Hamish Macbeth in 1995.

Henderson then moved into films, playing Morag in Rob Roy (1995) and Spud's girlfriend Gail in Danny Boyle's Trainspotting (1996). She continued her work in the theatre, including many productions at the National Theatre in London. The following year, she appeared in Mike Leigh's Topsy-Turvy — which also provided an opportunity for her to show off her singing skills – and Michael Winterbottom's Wonderland.

She played Jude in all three Bridget Jones films and Moaning Myrtle in Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002) and Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005). She co-starred in the British film Close Your Eyes (2002) along with Goran Višnjić and Miranda Otto and also played French princess Sophie-Philippine in Sofia Coppola's Marie Antoinette (2006).

She played the school matron in Nick Moore's 2008 film Wild Child.[9]

Small-screen appearances have included playing Marie Melmotte in The Way We Live Now (2001); Catherine of Braganza in Charles II: The Power and The Passion (2003); Charlotte in Dirty Filthy Love (2004); Ursula Blake in the Doctor Who episode "Love & Monsters" (2006); Emmeline Fox in The Crimson Petal and the White (2011); DS Angela Young in Death in Paradise (2011); and Meg Hawkins in Treasure Island (2012). She played Karen, the lead role, opposite John Simm in Channel 4's Everyday and Meme Kartosov in Anna Karenina.


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