British actress and screenwriter Joanna Scanlan began her acting career a little late when she was in her late 30s and played the role of Bessie in the TV movie ‘Jane Eyre’ and a midwife in the TV series ‘Peak Practice’, both in 1997. This was followed by roles in various other television projects like the TV miniseries ‘Vanity Fair’ (1998), the TV movie ‘A Rather English Marriage’ (1998) as well as the TV series ‘Spaced’ (2001) and ‘Doctors and Nurses’ (2004). Some of her other television projects of the time include the TV miniseries ‘Human Remains’ (2000); TV movies ‘Coming Soon’ (1999) and ‘The Deal’ (2003) as well as TV series ‘Ruth Rendell Mysteries’ (1998), ‘Picking up the Pieces’ (1998), ‘Murder Most Horrid’ (1999), ‘The Bill’ (1999), ‘Cry Wolf’ (2000), ‘EastEnders’ (2000), ‘My Family’ (2001), ‘Comedy Lab’ (2001), ‘Murder in Mind’ (2003) and ‘Little Britain’ (2004). In films, she played the role of Debbie in ‘The Announcement’ (2000) and Tanneke in ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’ (2003). The period also saw her turning writer for a couple of episodes of TV series ‘Byker Grove’ (1997) and an episode each of TV series ‘Smack the Pony’ (1999) and ‘My Parents Are Aliens’ (2000).
One of Joanna Scanlan’s most significant roles came when she was signed up to play the part of Terri Coverley, a senior press officer for the Department of Social Affairs and Citizenship (DoSAC) in British comedy series The Thick Of It’. She played the role in 4 seasons of the series (2005-2012) as well as its 2 specials which aired in 2007. In 2009, she also became a part of the spin-off film ‘In the Loop’ and played the role of Roz, staffer at Simon Foster's constituency office in Northampton. This satirical black comedy film received critical appreciation and has an approval rating of 94% on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes. The series, itself, won several awards and nominations.
In 2009, she co-created, co-wrote and starred in ‘Getting On’, the critically acclaimed satirical British sitcom set in a geriatric ward in an NHS hospital. The show ran for 3 series till 2012 and won her (along with Jo Brand and Vicki Pepperdine) the ‘RTS Television Award’ for Writer – Comedy and two ‘Writers' Guild of Great Britain Award’ for Best TV Comedy and Best Television Comedy/Light Entertainment. The three, together, also won nominations at the ‘BAFTA TV Awards’, ‘BAFTA Television Craft Awards’ and ‘Broadcasting Press Guild Awards’ for their writing. For her performance in the show as the status obsessed ward sister Denise Den Flixter, Joanna Scanlan was nominated at the ‘BAFTA TV Awards’ for Best Female Performance in a Comedy Role. In the American version of the show, which had the same name and was telecasted for 3 series on HBO from 2013-2015, she appeared as a guest star and reprised her role. She also executive produced the latter show.
Thereafter, she once again collaborated with Vicki Pepperdine and wrote the comedy television series ‘Puppy Love’ which was set in the world of dog training. She played the lead role of Nana V in the series which aired on BBC 4 in 2014. Her other major television works of the period were TV series ‘Stella’ (2012), ‘Heading Out’ (2013) and ‘Big School’ (2013-2014) as well as TV miniseries ‘Death Comes to Pemberley’ (2013) and ‘Mapp & Lucia’ (2014).
Other television series in which she appeared at the time include ‘Home Time’ (2009), ‘Chickens’ (2011), ‘Doc Martin’ (2004 & 2011), ‘Coming Up’ (2013), ‘Midsomer Murders’ (2014) and ‘Rev.’ (2014). She was also seen in TV miniseries ‘Jekyll’ (2007), ‘Runaway’ (2009) and ‘Psychobitches’ (2013) as well as TV movies ‘Maxwell’ (2007) and ‘Trinny & Susannah: From Boom to Bust’ (2010).
During this period, Joanna Scanlan acted in numerous films too. Some of the most significant of them include the comedy-drama ‘Kinky Boots’ (2005), the psychological thriller drama ‘Notes on a Scandal’ (2006), the fantasy-adventure ‘Stardust’ (2007), the historical romantic drama ‘The Other Boleyn Girl’ (2008), the biographical drama ‘The Invisible Woman’ (2013), the drama ‘Testament of Youth’ (2014) and the Christmas comedy ‘Get Santa’ (2014).
Following these, Joanna Scanlan acted in more films like the comedy ‘The Bad Education Movie’ (2015), the romantic comedy ‘Bridget Jones's Baby’ (2016), the sci-fi romantic comedy ‘How to Talk to Girls at Parties’ (2017), the historical romantic drama ‘Tulip Fever’ (2017), the drama ‘Pin Cushion’ (2017), the coming-of-age comedy ‘How to Build a Girl’ (2019) and the drama ‘After Love’ (2020). In ‘Pin Cushion’, she played the role of Lyn and was nominated for the Best Actress at the ‘Evening Standard British Film Awards’. In ‘After Love’, her performance in the role of a widow Mary Hussain who finds out about her late husband’s secret family, won her the best actress awards at the ‘BAFTA Film Awards’, ‘British Independent Film Awards’, ‘Dublin International Film Festival’ and ‘Thessaloniki Film Festival’.
Joanna Scanlan continued to work on television and played the main roles of DI Vivienne Deering in the police procedural TV series ‘No Offence’ (2015-2018), Janice Gray in the supernatural thriller miniseries ‘Requiem’ (2018), Ma Larkin in the comedy drama television series ‘The Larkins’ (2021-2022) and Sharon in the thriller drama series ‘The Light in the Hall’ (2022). For ‘No Offence’, she also turned an associate producer for the third series. Apart from these, she acted in 2 seasons of the TV series ‘Hold the Sunset’ (2018-2019), the four-part drama series ‘The Accident’ (2019) as well as miniseries ‘Fungus the Bogeyman’ (2015), ‘Hooten & the Lady’ (2016), ‘The Woman in White’ (2018) and ‘Dracula’ (2020). Additionally, she also became a part of TV series ‘Electric Dreams’ (2017), ‘Sally4Ever’ (2018), ‘McDonald & Dodds’ (2020) and ‘Gentleman Jack’ (2022).
In various television projects, Joanna Scanlan has lent her voice as a narrator. Amongst these are the 2013 TV movie documentary '40 Year Old Virgins', the 2019 TV series documentary 'Famous and Fighting Crime', the 2019 TV movie documentary ‘Charlotte Church: My Family & Me’, the 2019 TV miniseries 'Inside the Supermarket', the 2019-2022 TV series 'Dogs Behaving (Very) Badly' and 2022 TV miniseries documentary 'How the BBC Began'.
Tristan Thorn is in love with Victoria and in order to marry her promises to bring a fallen star. In the magical kingdom of Stormhold, he discovers that the star is actually a woman named Yvaine and three evil witches and the king’s son are also after her. As he tries to protect her on his way back, he unravels his own true identity.
Lonely, veteran teacher Barbara Covett takes a liking to the new art teacher, Sheba Hart, married to a much older husband, and with a son having Down’s syndrome. When Barbara discovers Sheba’s affair with teenage student Steven Connolly, she confronts Sheba who requests her not to disclose this secret. Barbara decides to use this to manipulate Sheba, but it complicates their lives.
In the Loop is a political satire film which revolves around a skeptical group of British and American operatives as they attempt to prevent a war between two countries.
Based on a war memoir by Vera Brittain, it features upper-class, independent-minded young Vera who is set to attend Oxford University. When WWI commences, her brother Edward and fiancé Roland join army. As war casualties escalate, Vera leaves her studies to become a nurse for the Voluntary Aid Detachment. Even after losing all men closest to her, she continues to serve the mankind.
A man inherits his father’s shoe factory, but is unsure of how to keep the business afloat. Soon, a woman comes to his rescue.
Dutch girl, Griet, goes to work as a maid for famed painter, Johannes Vermeer, and an unlikely friendship develops between the two which they keep a secret. Meanwhile, Vermeer’s patron, Van Ruijven, lusts over Griet. To protect Griet, Vermeer decides to paint a portrait of her for Ruijven which ends up being the famed ‘Girl with a Pearl Earring’.
The film revolves around the Boleyn sisters, Mary and Anne, who vie for the affection of King Henry VIII. On the behest of their power-hungry family, shy Mary and impetuous Anne try to win the King over. But when he chooses Mary as his mistress, Anne manipulates her way to take Mary’s place and then becomes the second wife of Henry VIII.
Bridget Jones, over forty years old and once again single, decides to embrace her single life and while attending a music festival has a one night stand with a dashing man called Jack. Later she meets her ex husband, Mark and also spends a night with him. So, when she discovers that she is pregnant she cannot figure out who her child’s father is.
Tulip Fever is a romantic drama film which revolves around a young orphaned girl, who is married against her wishes to a man who is quite older to her. She eventually falls for an artist who is hired to paint her portrait. Soon, they plan to run away, and build a life together.
During the height of his career, Charles Dickens, the famous British literary figure, gets attracted to a young actress named Nelly. Bored with his life, he begins an affair with her, with the cooperation of her mother. He provides her with a life that only a few women of her time could enjoy. However, Nelly is unsatisfied due to his determination to keep their relationship a secret.
The Bad Education Movie is a comedy film which tells the story of Mr. Wickers, an incompetent teacher, who leads his class on a final school trip to Cornwall, which turns out to be quite disastrous.