Lesley Nicol (actress)

Lesley Nicol
Nicol in 2014
Born (1953-08-07) 7 August 1953 (age 70)
Other namesLeslie Nicol
EducationGuildhall School of Music and Drama
Years active1982–present
Known forBeryl Patmore in Downton Abbey
SpouseDavid Heald (m. 2007–2022; his death)
AwardsScreen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series, 2012, 2014–2015

Lesley Nicol (born 7 August 1953) is an English actress and a three-time SAG Award winner in the Best Cast in a Drama Series category for her role as Beryl Patmore in the ITV and PBS drama TV series Downton Abbey. She also starred in the 2019 feature film Downton Abbey and its sequel.

Early life

Nicol was born and raised in Manchester, Lancashire. Her father was a doctor, and her mother was a model and television presenter.

She left school at the age of seventeen to attend Guildhall School of Music and Drama in London, from which she graduated.


Nicol's television roles include Mrs Beaver in the BBC adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the Queen Giant in The Silver Chair and as Henrietta Beecham in the 2019 ITV historical drama Beecham House. She made multiple appearances on ABC's The Catch in a recurring role playing the matriarch of a London gangland family and also guest-starred on episodes of Amazon Prime Video's The Boys, The CW's Supernatural (where she played a variation of the witch from Hansel and Gretel), CBS's reboot of The Odd Couple, ABC's Once Upon a Time and TVLand's Hot in Cleveland.

Theatre work

On stage, Nicol co-starred as "Rosie" in the original West End production of the international hit musical Mamma Mia! and originated the role of Kath in the Madness Musical Our House in the West End. She starred as Auntie Annie in East is East at London's Royal Court Theatre and later reprised her role in the BAFTA Best British Film Award-winning version of the play, also titled East Is East, as well as the film sequel, West is West.

Nicol wrote an original musical about her life and career with pop music songwriter Mark Mueller titled How the Hell Did I Get Here? The well-received show opened Off-Broadway in New York City in April 2022 and was nominated for an Off-Broadway Alliance Award after just 10 performances. She and Mueller first performed it in 2017 at her alma mater, London's Guildhall School of Music and Drama, followed by a show in Hong Kong at that city's historic Fringe Club theater. In March 2022, the musical had its first, fully-staged performance in Chicago. The musical is directed by Luke Kernaghan and produced by Pemberley Productions. The show's North American tour in the summer of 2022 was postponed to a due to a "deep personal bereavement."

Personal life

Nicol married David Heald in 2007, whom she first met in 2003. He died in May 2022, aged 76.

Unlike her Downton Abbey character, Mrs Patmore, Nicol is a vegan and not a good cook.


Year Film/TV Role Notes
1985 The Practice Jan Metcalfe TV series (13 episodes)
1986 Blackadder II Mrs Pants TV series (1 episode: "Money")
1987 Comeback Bossy Boots TV film
Brookside Shelley Rimmer TV series (1 episode: "Give Us a Clue")
1988 The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe Mrs Beaver TV series (5 episodes)
1989 Bradley Nicole TV series (1 episode: "Episode No. 1.3")
The Nineteenth Hole Mrs Anderton TV series (1 episode: "Episode No. 1.3")
Alexei Sayle's Stuff TV series (1 episode: "Whistling Calculus for Tax Purposes")
4 Play Janet Holmes TV series (1 episode: "Dawn and the Candidate")
1990 The Silver Chair Giant Queen TV series (2 episodes)
1991 Waterfront Beat TV series (3 episodes)
Paul Merton: The Series TV series (1 episode: "Episode No. 1.4")
The Bill Various TV series (3 episodes: 1991–2008)
1994 Three Seven Eleven Mrs Pudsey TV series (2 episodes)
Casualty Jayne Bowen TV series (1 episode: "Chasing the Dragon")
Heartbeat Various TV series (5 episodes: 1994–2008)
1995 Castles Gilian TV series (1 episode: "Episode No. 1.6")
New Voices Joan TV series (1 episode: "Grimm")
1996 Peak Practice Sally Buxton TV series (1 episode: "Partners")
1998 The Grand Mrs Morris TV series (1 episode: "Episode No. 2.10")
Dinnerladies Woman Worker TV series (1 episode: "Royals")
1999 East Is East Auntie Annie
Brookside Sandra TV series (1 episode)
Extremely Dangerous Gwenda Palmer TV series (2 episodes)
A Touch of Frost Mrs Cockroft TV series (2 episodes: 1999–2000)
2002 Holby City Eileen McMahon TV series (1 episode: "Taking Cover")
Doctors Various TV series (2 episodes: 2002–2009)
2004 The Last Detective Stella Beauchamp TV series (1 episode: "Benefit to Mankind")
Rose and Maloney Headteacher TV series (1 episode: "Episode No. 1.1")
The Courtroom Brenda Rimmer TV series (1 episode: "The Postman")
2005 Marple: A Murder Is Announced Nurse McClelland TV film
2006 Hotel Babylon Mrs Cord TV series (1 episode: "Episode No. 1.4")
Vanderpump Rules Herself TV series (1 episode: "Episode No. 5.6")
2007 Dead Clever: The Life and Crimes of Julie Bottomley Jean TV film
2008 Hancock and Joan Nellie TV film
Shameless Belle TV series (1 episode: "Episode No. 5.14")
2010 West is West Auntie Annie
Downton Abbey Mrs Patmore TV series (52 episodes: 2010–2015)
2013 Once Upon a Time Johanna TV series (1 episode: "The Queen Is Dead")
Free Birds Pilgrim Woman (voice)
Sarah & Duck Scarf Lady (voice) Recurring character
2014 Raising Hope Eleanor TV series (1 episode: How I Met Your Mullet. Season 4, episode 21)
2014 Hot in Cleveland Margaret TV series (1 episode: The Christmas Episode. Season 6, episode 7)
2015 Supernatural Katja TV series (1 episode: "About a Boy". Season 10, episode 12)
2015 George Gently Breath in the Air
2016 Goldie & Bear Fairy Godmother (voice) recurring role, credited as "Leslie Nicol"
The Catch Sybil Griffiths TV series (2 episodes)
Ghostbusters Mrs Potter Deleted scene, available on the extended cut.
2017 The Tom and Jerry Show Maid (voice) TV series (1 episode: "Downton Tabby") credited as "Leslie Nicol"
2018–present Summer Camp Island Ramona (voice) TV series (10 episodes)
2019 Beecham House Henrietta Beecham TV series (6 episodes)
2019 Downton Abbey Mrs Patmore
2020 The Boys Connie Butcher Amazon Original Series (1 episode)
2021 Jellystone! Winsome Witch (voice) Recurring role
2022 Father Brown Marjorie Chummy TV series (Series 9 Episode 7)
Alice's Wonderland Bakery Iris
Downton Abbey: A New Era Mrs Patmore
Doc Martin Mrs Irene Moore TV series (Series 10 Episode 4)
2023 Hogwarts Legacy Professor Matilda Weasley (voice) Video game


Screen Actors Guild Award

Year Nominee / work Award Result Ref.
2012 Downton Abbey Cast Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Won
2013 Downton Abbey Cast Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated
2014 Downton Abbey Cast Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Won
2015 Downton Abbey Cast Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Won
2016 Downton Abbey Cast Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series Nominated

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