Amanda Root

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Amanda Root
Born1963 (age 59–60)
Chelmsford, Essex, England
Alma materWebber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art
Years active1983 – present

Amanda Root (born 1963) is an English actress. She is perhaps best known for her starring role as Anne Elliot in the 1995 BBC adaptation of Persuasion. A familiar face on both stage and screen, she worked regularly with the Royal Shakespeare Company during her early career, performing as Juliet in Romeo and Juliet, and Lady Macbeth in Macbeth, among other roles. In 2009, she was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her performance as Sarah in Alan Ayckbourn's The Norman Conquests.

Her film roles include The Iron Lady (2011), Their Finest (2016), The Black Prince (2017) and Summerland (2020). Root is also known for her television roles, including Dolly in Anna Karenina (2000), Mrs Davilow in Daniel Deronda (2002), and Winifred Dartie in The Forsyte Saga (2002−2003). In 2018, she played Carol Finch in ITV crime drama Unforgotten (2018), and in 2023, she portrayed Sue Farquhar in BBC drama The Sixth Commandment (2023).

Life and career[edit]

Root was born in Chelmsford, Essex, to Ken and Maureen Root.[1] Her father was an accountant, whilst her mother had performed in amateur dramatic productions as a child.[2] Both were supportive of her ambitions to become an actor. She attended Philip Morant School in Colchester, studying drama at O Level; she joined the Essex Youth Theatre as a teenager. After graduating from the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art, she began her career at the Leeds Playhouse in 1983 when she played Essie in George Bernard Shaw's The Devil's Disciple. She worked regularly with the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon and London from 1983 to 1991, including playing the role of Juliet to Daniel Day-Lewis's Romeo; a very young Lady Macbeth; Cressida to Ralph Fiennes's Troilus, and Rosaline to his Berowne. She also appeared as Jessica opposite Ian McDiarmid’s Shylock in The Merchant of Venice.

She was a remarkably complete actress even in her early twenties, when physically she looked little more than a child. With her dark soulful eyes she could command a stage, and the Royal Shakespeare Company saw her talent very early on.[3]

She worked regularly with the RSC in Stratford-upon-Avon and London from 1983 to 1991, including playing the role of Juliet to Daniel Day-Lewis's Romeo; a very young Lady Macbeth; Cressida to Ralph Fiennes's Troilus, and Rosaline to his Berowne.[3]

In 1985, Root made her television debut in the pilot episode of Ladies in Charge, as one of a trio of women setting up an agency to help others in postwar London. She then starred as the title character in Mary Rose, a television drama based on the play by J.M. Barrie. In 1988, she featured as the Storyteller in five episodes of children’s series Jackanory, and the following year voiced Sophie in animated feature The BFG. The film was aired on ITV on Christmas Day. In 1991, she reprised her role as Adela in a Channel 4 adaptation of The House of Bernarda Alba alongside Glenda Jackson, having originally played the character in a 1986 stage production at the Lyric Hammersmith.[4] She also starred as Nina in Chekhov’s The Seagull at the Barbican Theatre. In 1993, Root played Hilda Maxwell in ITV period drama The Man Who Cried, opposite Ciarán Hinds.[5] The series, adapted from the novel by Catherine Cookson, received positive reviews and was watched by 12.7 million viewers.

In 1994, she appeared in BBC comedy drama series Love on a Branch Line as Miss Mounsey. That same year, Root was sought by the actress Emma Thompson for the role of Marianne in Sense and Sensibility, based on the 1811 novel by Jane Austen. She participated in a read through in London with the cast but was unable to take on the role (it would later go to Kate Winslet) as she had already committed to star as Anne Elliot in another Austen adaptation, Persuasion.[6] The film, made by the BBC for drama anthology series Screen Two, reunited Root with Ciarán Hinds, who played Captain Wentworth. It was broadcast on BBC Two in April 1995, and later gained a limited cinematic release in the United States, grossing over five million dollars.[7] Well received by critics, it went on to win five TV BAFTAs, including for Best Single Drama.[8] In 1996, she played Patricia “Pat” Green in Breaking the Code. Root’s character was inspired by Bletchley code-breaker Joan Clarke, and starred Derek Jacobi as Alan Turing.

In 1998, Root starred in BBC crime drama Mortimer’s Law, as Rachel Mortimer, a barrister who relocates to rural Wales to take up a vacant coroner’s post. The series ran for six episodes but was not recommissioned. In 2000, she played Dolly in Anna Karenina, and later appeared as Mrs. Davilow in Daniel Deronda. That same year, Root returned to the stage in Yasmina Reza’s Conversations After a Burial at the Almeida Theatre. She also made guest appearances in various crime dramas, including A Touch of Frost, Foyle’s War, Waking the Dead, Poirot and Midsomer Murders. In 2004, she appeared in ten episodes of period drama The Forsyte Saga as Winifred Dartie. The following year, she featured in the docudrama Julian Fellowes Investigates, playing murder victim Vera Sidney.[9] In 2006, she portrayed Alice Hoschede, wife of Impressionist painter Claude Monet, in the BBC miniseries The Impressionists. She also made her third appearance at the Almeida Theatre as Polina Bardin in Enemies by Maxim Gorky, in a new interpretation by David Hare.[10]

In 2008, Root was cast as Sarah in Alan Ayckbourn’s The Norman Conquests. It was first staged at the Old Vic Theatre in London, before making its Broadway transfer to the Circle in the Square Theatre in New York. The production, directed by Matthew Warchus, was positively received by critics, and gained seven Tony nominations, winning Best Revival. Root was nominated for Best Featured Actress in a Play; her performance was described as “remarkable” by the The New York Times.[11] The cast were also nominated for an Olivier Award for Best Company Performance.

In 2011, she starred as Hester Collyer in a stage production of The Deep Blue Sea at the Chichester Festival Theatre.[12] She also played Amanda in Margaret Thatcher biopic The Iron Lady opposite Meryl Streep and continued to make further guest appearances in television crime dramas, such as DCI Banks, The Tunnel and Death in Paradise. In 2016, she appeared as Cecy in wartime comedy drama Their Finest. In 2017, Root featured in an episode of hit BBC drama Sherlock as Emma Welsborough. Later that same year, she starred as Queen Victoria in historical drama The Black Prince; the film explored the complex relationship between Victoria and Duleep Singh, the last Maharajah of the Sikh Empire. In 2018, she played Carol Finch in six episodes of ITV drama Unforgotten, and Virginia Scott-Watson in Patrick Melrose. On stage, she played governess Miss Madrigal in a Chichester Festival Theatre production of The Chalk Garden. In 2020, she appeared on television in popular BBC drama Call the Midwife and ITV thriller miniseries The Sister, and on film in British drama Summerland as social worker Mrs Lawrence.

In 2021, she played Sister Brumfett in one episode of Dalgliesh. The following year, she played Cynthia in a film adaptation of Alan Bennett’s 2018 play Allelujah!. She also appeared in BBC mystery thriller The Capture. In 2023, Root featured in two episodes of romantic comedy drama series You & Me. She also had a supporting role in true-life crime drama The Sixth Commandment, based on the murder of Peter Farquhar. Root played Farquhar’s sister-in-law Sue Farquhar.[13]


In 2010, after hearing a talk by American attorney and former International Justice Mission president Gary Haugen, Root founded Talitha Arts,[14] a non-profit organisation that uses the creative arts to provide therapeutic support for survivors of trafficking and domestic abuse throughout the UK and overseas.[15] The organisation gained charitable status in 2015,[16] and has since expanded to support children, refugees, ex-offenders, and people experiencing homelessness as well as those living with dementia.[17] In 2016, Root was awarded a Point of Light Award by Prime Minister Theresa May in recognition of her work.[18] She was also shortlisted for Lorraine Kelly’s Inspirational Woman of the Year Award; she was informed of her nomination in a surprise live announcement on the Lorraine programme.[19] In 2020, Root announced that she was stepping down as Artistic Director after ten years in the role.[20]


Her stage credits include:



Year Film Role Notes
1989 The BFG Sophie voice
1991 The House of Bernarda Alba Adela
1995 Persuasion Anne Elliot
1996 Jane Eyre Miss Temple
Deep in the Heart Kate Markham
1999 Whatever Happened to Harold Smith? Margaret Robinson
2004 Girl Afraid short
Bloom Helen Chapman short
2011 The Iron Lady Amanda
2016 Their Finest Cecy/Mrs Brown
2017 The Black Prince Queen Victoria
2020 Summerland Mrs Lawrence
2023 Allelujah Cynthia


Year Film Role Notes
1985 Storyboard Polly Swift Episode: "Ladies in Charge"
Time for Murder Sarah Penwarden Episode: "This Lightning Always Strikes Twice"
1986 Worlds Beyond Julia Episode: "Guardian of the Past"
1987 Mary Rose Mary Rose Television film
1988 The South Bank Show Claire Clairmont Episode: "Birth of Frankenstein and Dracula"
1993 The Man Who Cried Hilda Maxwell Television film
The Buddha of Suburbia First TV Producer Miniseries
1993−2022 Casualty Heather Croft / Barb Edmonds / Evelyn Winnell / Joyce Paice 4 episodes
1994 Hildegard of Bingen Ricardis TV documentary
Love on a Branch Line Miss Mounsey 4 episodes
Shakespeare: The Animated Tales Kate Episode: "The Taming of the Shrew"
1996 Breaking the Code Patricia "Pat" Green Television film
1997 Harry Enfield and Chums Miss Hetherington Episode: "Episode #2.6"
Turning World Evelyn Sharples 3 episodes
Original Sin Frances Peverell 3 episodes
Sunnyside Farm Dawn Episode: "A Rare Visitor"
Dangerfield Alice Stratton Episode: "Guilt"
1998 Mortimer's Law Rachel Mortimer 6 episodes
Big Cat Alice Television film
2000 Anna Karenina Dolly Miniseries
2001 Holby City Abbie Sawyer Episode: "Snakes and Ladders"
A Small Summer Party Karen Television film
2002 Waking the Dead Lorna Gyles 2 episodes
Daniel Deronda Mrs. Davilow Miniseries; 4 episodes
The Forsyte Saga: To Let Winifred Dartie née Forsyte Miniseries (4 episodes)
2002−2003 The Forsyte Saga Winifred Dartie née Forsyte 10 episodes
2003 Midsomer Murders Ruth Scholey Episode: "A Talent for Life"
Love Again Maeve Brennan Television film
A Touch of Frost Dolores Delmonte Episode: "Another Life"
Little Britain Baby's Mother Episode: "Most People in a Mini"
Foyle's War Elizabeth Lewes Episode: "Fifty Ships"
The Adventure of English Unknown Episode: "Speaking Proper"
2004 Peter Ackroyd's London Charlotte Brontë Television film
Rose and Maloney Marsha Campese Episode: "Episode #1.2"
2005 The Robinsons Maggie Robinson 6 episodes
Empire Noella Miniseries
Julian Fellowes Investigates: A Most Mysterious Murder Vera Sidney Episode: "The Case of the Croydon Poisonings"
2006 The Afternoon Play Andrea Episode: "The Last Will and Testament of Billy Two-Sheds"
The Impressionists Alice Hoschedé Miniseries; 2 episodes
Brief Encounters June Makenzie Episode: "Lost and Found"
2006−2009 Star Trek: New Voyages Federation Ambassador 3 episodes
2007 The Robber Bride Tony Fremont Television film
Miss Marie Lloyd – Queen of The Music Hall Mrs. Chant Television film
2008 Fiona's Story Julie Television film
Agatha Christie's Poirot Mrs. Rendell Episode: "Mrs McGinty's Dead"
2010 Law & Order: UK Patricia Smith Episode: "Defence"
Thorne: Sleepyhead Teresa Maxwell Television film
2012 DCI Banks Mary Rothwell 2 episodes
2013 Zou Voice Episode: "Zou the Chef"
The Tunnel Doctor Cross Episode: "Episode #1.8"
2015 Count Arthur Strong Karen Episode: "The Heist"
Death in Paradise Teresa Gower Episode: "Episode #4.3"
New Tricks Eleanor Episode: "Lottery Curse"
2017 Sherlock Emma Welsborough Episode: "The Six Thatchers"
2018 The Other Side of the Coin Wife Television film
Unforgotten Carol Finch 6 episodes
Patrick Melrose Virginia Watson-Scott Miniseries; Episode: "Some Hope"
2019 Silent Witness Olivia Walsh Episode: "Deathmaker: Part 1"
MotherFatherSon Interviewer Episode: "Episode #1.6"
2020 Call the Midwife Florrie Watkins Episode: "Episode #9.2"
The Sister June Fox 4 episodes
2021 Dalgliesh Sister Brumfett 2 episodes: "Shroud for a Nightingale"
2022 The Capture Margaret Episode: "The Flip"
Safe Space Unknown Television pilot
2023 You & Me Nurse Richards 2 episodes
The Sixth Commandment Sue 3 episodes


  1. ^ "Colchester actress nominated for US showbiz award". Gazette. 7 May 2009. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  2. ^ "'I'm so much happier now'". Woman Alive. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  3. ^ a b Trowbridge, Simon (2008). "Amanda Root". Stratfordians, a dictionary of the RSC. Oxford, England: Editions Albert Creed. pp. 429–430. ISBN 978-0-9559830-1-6.
  4. ^ "Production of The House of Bernarda Alba | Theatricalia". Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  5. ^ Whyte, Michael (3 January 1993), The Man Who Cried (Drama), Ciarán Hinds, Kate Buffery, Amanda Root, Festival Film & Television, retrieved 18 October 2023
  6. ^ "Emma Thompson: Write for the Part". Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  7. ^ "Persuasion". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  8. ^ "BAFTA Awards". Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  9. ^
  10. ^ Benedict, David (28 May 2006). "Enemies". Variety. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  11. ^ Wolf, Matt (21 October 2008). "At the Old Vic, a 'Norman Conquest' that's better for the retelling". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  12. ^ Billington, Michael (26 July 2011). "The Deep Blue Sea – review". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  13. ^ "The Sixth Commandment cast: Who stars in the BBC drama?". Radio Times. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  14. ^
  15. ^ "Who We Are". Talitha Arts. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  16. ^ "TALITHA ARTS - Charity 1162475". Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  17. ^ Farrah, Sophie (24 August 2017). "The art of therapy". Essential Surrey & SW London. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  18. ^ McBride, Jake (6 December 2016). "Talitha". Points of Light. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  19. ^ Inspirational Woman Of The Year Award - Surprising Amanda Root | Lorraine, retrieved 18 October 2023
  20. ^ Gaudet, Natalie (10 July 2020). "A Message From Founder Amanda Root". Talitha Arts. Retrieved 18 October 2023.
  21. ^ "Theatre, dance, opera and cabaret reviews". The Stage. Archived from the original on 12 June 2011. Retrieved 12 March 2008.
  22. ^ "Theatre, dance, opera and cabaret reviews". The Stage. Archived from the original on 2 December 2008. Retrieved 8 October 2008.


  • The Journal, "Dame 'Kate' Scores Double Triumph", 21 January 1993, Page 1.

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