Olivia Colman struggled to pay her bus fare and “sleep on people’s couches” before finding fame as an Oscar-winning actress.
The star, 50, said she struggled moving from Norwich to London in search of her big break, going through 100 auditions in her first year out of drama school and not getting a single role.
Olivia’s first major role came in the Channel 4 sitcom Peep Show as Sophie Chapman, the colleague and occasional love interest of main character Mark Corrigan (David Mitchell).
She has since achieved stratospheric fame with television roles in Broadchurch (2013-2017) and The Crown (2019-2023) and a string of award-winning film roles.
She told the Radio Times Podcast: “London is a lot easier once you’ve been paid a bit! The first years were really difficult. I was sleeping on people’s couches, trying to find money to take the bus and get a job.
Olivia Colman struggled to pay her bus fare and ‘sleep on people’s couches’ before finding fame as an Oscar-winning actress (this month’s photo)
The 50-year-old actress got her big break as Sophie Chapman in Channel 4’s award-winning sitcom Peep Show (2003-2015) alongside co-star David Mitchell in 2004.
Olivia cemented her star status when she won the Best Actress Oscar for her portrayal of Queen Anne in 2018’s The Favorite.
Olivia said the tough times were worth it in the end, adding: “But you find your tribe and then it’s a magical place. I don’t regret the saddest times of my life because you learn from them.
“My first year out of drama school, I did 100 auditions and didn’t get one. I thought my agent was going to dump me.
“After an audition that I didn’t get, I went to my mom and she said, ‘Well, too bad.’ And I said, ‘I just want some sympathy and a hug , then I move on!”
‘And you do! It’s like when you’re watching X Factor and the contestant says, “This is my big chance!”
‘It’s not! It’s an audition. If you chose this career, you will do them throughout your life and you will lose most of them.
Olivia starred in all nine series of Peep Show from 2003 to 2015, having met Mitchell and Robert Webb (Jeremy Usbourne) at Cambridge University drama club, having made her professional acting debut at age aged 26 three years ago.
The comedy, about two best friends enduring “the stubborn persistence of human suffering” – as writer Sam Bain put it on Twitter in 2015 – won acclaim at the British Comedy Awards and the BAFTAs.
More than two decades after her breakthrough, Olivia was joined by her Wicked Little Letters co-star Jessie Buckley, who also opened up about similar financial struggles early in her career, after moving from Killarney, Ireland, to London .
Speaking on the Radio Times podcast, Olivia was joined by her Wicked Little Letters co-star Jessie Buckley (left), who opened up about similar financial struggles early in her career.
“I moved out when I was 17,” recalls the I’m Thinking Of Ending Things star, now 34.
“I got paid for my first job and thought I was rich. I was doing a show at London Bridge; By the end of the first week, I had no money left.
“I was too embarrassed to tell any of the actors, so I walked every evening from Hammersmith, where I was staying, to London Bridge.”
The couple’s new film is a comedic retelling of a real-life story from the 1920s, namely a poison pen scandal that shocked 1920s England.
Following a series of profanity-laden letters, rowdy Irish migrant Rose (Jessie) is accused of the crime, but suspecting something is wrong, the women of Littlehampton investigate on their own.
The couple’s new film, also starring Timothy Spall (left), is a comic retelling of a true story from the 1920s, namely a poison pen scandal that shocked 1920s England.