- Grew up in Pimlico, London with her police officer father and her mother who was a typist.
- In the 1970s she devised acting work for children that would be put on in playgrounds and at festivals.
- Had an interview with Simon Curtis and Antonia Bird about a position at the Royal Court in London in the early 1980s.
- Played the role of Mrs. Smith in a stage production of The Bald Prima Donna in 1985 at the then Almeida Theatre in London.
- Joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1991.
- Posed naked for the month of October in Calendar Girls in 2003.
- Raised awareness for the charity Safe Rescue by posing in a 2015 calendar.
- Described how she watched many episodes of Call The Midwife before appearing in the show in 2015, but had to ration herself because many moved her to tears.