En route to Tinseltown glory, Norwich’s finest has devised a royal theft, endured on-stage disaster and been given odd career advice
1 She performed the voiceover for the Andrex “be kind to your behind” adverts in 2013. “I did ask if I could get paid in puppies,” she revealed. “They said no.”
2 Her first career plan was to go into teaching. Before turning her sights to acting she trained as a primary-school teacher at Homerton College, Cambridge. “I wasn’t terribly committed, and I would have been a terrible teacher.”
3 As a job-hunting graduate she was told by careers-advice software that she would make an ideal HGV driver – “because I’ve got 100% spatial awareness. I’d be able to back them into tight parking spots.”
4 During her university years she auditioned successfully for the Cambridge Footlights troupe, where she met David Mitchell and Robert Webb – in whose sitcom Peep Show she went on to star as Sophie Chapman.
5 After graduating she worked as a cleaner and secretary (“not a very good one”).
6 Her preparation for the role of Carol Thatcher (Margaret’s daughter) in The Iron Lady involved close scrutiny of her appearances on I’m a Celebrity… “to get her voice right”.
7 In her sixth-form years, Colman attended the same school, Gresham’s, as Stephen Frears (and Benjamin Britten, WH Auden and James Dyson).
8 She gained 16kg (2st 7lb or 35lb) in weight to play the cake-guzzling Queen Anne for her Oscar-winning turn in The Favourite. (“It was liberating and brilliant.”)
10 In 2006, she played one half of a naturist couple trying to organise a naked wedding in the mockumentary Confetti – which she has described as the worst experience of her life. “I would have felt better about it had I been aware how much was actually going to be on display.”
11 In a high-profile stage production of Hay Fever in 2012, alongside Phoebe Waller-Bridge and Jeremy Northam, she got the giggles after forgetting her lines. “West End audiences haven’t paid to see that. I felt really bad.”
12 Another onstage mishap was wetting herself when acting opposite David Mitchell. “We were doing The Miser and there were a lot of quick changes and David never quite managed to get his bow tie in the right place. It became too much to bear.”
13 Toilet paper clearly plays a big role in her life: she got her husband to steal some from Buckingham Palace when they were there for a formal dinner. “He got two squares of loo roll, just to say, ‘We got it from Buckingham Palace.’”
14 She deployed an under-skirt sponge as a receptacle for Emma Stone’s fingers when filming a sex scene in The Favourite. “It was a big, wet sponge. So Emma went up my leg and she went, ‘Ugh!’”.
15 Her first name is Sarah [Caroline Olivia Colman].
16 She had to argue with Wikipedia to get her listed age changed after she spotted it was wrong by eight years. “I said, ‘It’s really upsetting me that you’ve made me eight years older than I actually am.’ They said, ‘We’d have to see a birth certificate to prove it,’ and I went, ‘Whose fucking birth certificate have you looked at in the first place to make me eight years older!?”’
17 The character she played in The Night Manager was not originally meant to be pregnant. But she was pregnant while filming, so the writers incorporated it into the script. They also incorporated lots of chairs, so she didn’t have to stand up all day.
18 She once (and possibly still does) have a clown klaxon as her mobile phone ringtone.
19 She met her husband, Ed, when they were both cast in a student theatre production (of Alan Ayckbourn’s Table Manners). He gave up acting early on, and is now a writer.
20 Her dog is called Alfred, Lord Waggyson.