Helen Lederer

Helen Lederer

Helen Lederer

Last updated: 24 November 2008

Helen Lederer was born in Llandovery, Carmarthenshire on 24 September 1954. She made her name at the Comedy Store, the starting point for many of her comic contemporaries during the 1980s.

Lederer's earliest TV work was with Rik Mayall and Adrian Edmondson in The Young Ones, and it was with this new breed of comedians and comic actors with whom she was most linked.

Throughout the mid-1980s, Lederer began to establish herself as a comic actor on a series of BBC comedies such as Little Armadillos and Happy Families. The latter was the launch pad for a relationship with Jennifer Saunders which would result in worldwide success.

In 1986 Naked Video arrived on television, having orginally been a BBC Radio Scotland success. Transferred to the screen, Helen Lederer was one of just two additions to the programme's cast. It was a big success, running for four series, and showed Lederer's expressive skills as an actor, slipping into the charicature-like personalities she played.

She starred in Hello Mum in 1987, and appeared in French And Saunders, The Harry Enfield Television Programme and Bottom at the turn of the 1980s.

Then in 1992, Lederer was cast in the role of Catriona in Absolutely Fabulous which would take her to an international audience.

Catriona was a member of staff on the magazine run by Joanna Lumley's Patsy Stone and Kathy Burke's Magda. 'Ab Fab' was a huge hit across the world, even becoming a cult hit in America.

She followed up this success with children's programmes Pirates and I Hate This House. In 1997 she appeared in Channel 4's 'misunderstood' Jack And Jeremy's Real Lives.

In the past decade, Lederer has concentrated less on TV and concentrated on a wide portfolio of radio and print media acitivities. Among her radio appearances have been All Change, Home Truths, In One Ear, The News Quiz, Quote Unquote and Just A Minute.

In the past decade Lederer has performed on stage several times, in particular a play by Ionesco called The Bald Prima Donna. "That contrasted with Alan Bleasdale's Having A Ball in London's West End," she says. "I played opposite a fellow actor who had to be naked for the duration...

"As comedy progresses I'm happy to go with the flow."

A recent appearance on ITV's Heartbeat saw her play a "'good life' wife who was shooting pheasants on the quiet", while she occasionally is invited to contribute to Grumpy Old Women.

By writing comedy for radio and television she hopes to bring her take on comedy to an audience; "But only", she says, "if and when it's wanted."

A novel, radio and TV scripts are in progress as well as a script set in Wales. She has a monthly column in Woman and Home magazine where she is sent on tantric sex workshops, karaoke sessions and knitting groups. She is also a successful wine writer.


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