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Creator / Sharon Small

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"I was asked 'How do you fancy playing a fat, ugly woman from London?'"note 

Sharon Small (b. 31 March 1967 in Glasgow, Scotland) is a Scottish actress most famous for her starring roles as Detective Sergeant Barbara Havers on The Inspector Lynley Mysteries (opposite Nathaniel Parker) and Trudi Malloy on Mistresses. Subsequently she guest-starred on Downton Abbey, was featured on Kidnap & Ransom's second series, and co-starred opposite Jodie Whittaker in Trust Me.

Her lesser-known roles include Cara Rossi on Glasgow Kiss, Titania the Faery Queen in the ShakespeareRe-told episode "A Midsummer Night's Dream," and Dr Laura Maitland on Murderland. Guest credits include The Bill, New Tricks, Silent Witness, Call the Midwife and a trifecta of Scottish classics in Hamish Macbeth, Doctor Finlay, and Rebus.

She has also done work on film (About a Boy, Dear Frankie) and, much more notably, the stage (Lear, When Harry Met Sally, Men Should Weep), including work at the prestigious Donmar Warehouse and the Royal National Theatre. A talented actress who is always convincing no matter the role, fortunately after Mistresses and Downton Abbey, her star seems to be on the rise.

Her early drama training took place at Adam Smith College in Kircaldy, whose alumni include Ewan MacGregor and Dougray Scott; after completing that, she packed up and moved to London, graduating from the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts in 1989. Fittingly for a native Scot, she made her television debut on Taggart.

A classically trained lyric soprano, she has also performed in, among others, The Threepenny Opera.

Applicable Tropes Include:

  • Ability over Appearance: Sharon was supposedly too pretty to play the plain Barbara Havers, but absolutely nailed the character in the pilot and won author Elizabeth George completely over. Small's performance is to this day lauded as one of the best aspects of the series.
  • The Cast Showoff: She got to show off her gorgeous voice when she performed "Carrickfergus" at the end of her guest spot on Doctor Finlay.
  • Fake Brit: Well, fake Englishwoman anyway, as Barbara Havers. Her natural Glaswegian accent is quite different.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Nathaniel Parker has outright said that he sees Sharon as his little sister.
  • Oblivious to Love: Apparently, it took her awhile to clue in to the fact that her now-partner was in love with her; when she finally did wise up, she relates that she emailed him with, "Here's my number. Give me a call."
  • Playing Against Type: Sharon's most famous roles are all sympathetic characters - since even if you do sort of want to punch Barbara Havers a lot for being so bitchy, it's easily understandable where she's coming from. So when she portrays an abusive mother in No Child of Mine, she does it so believably the result is horrifying.
  • Savvy Guy, Energetic Girl: See True Love is Exceptional, below.
  • Scotland: Glaswegian, but not, to our knowledge, violent.
  • Shrinking Violet: Although she's apparently quite energetic and "chatty" at home, she is terribly shy in interviews and with the public and avoids the spotlight as much as she can. She says that this is part of the reason she became an actor - she's able to escape into the character.
  • True Love is Exceptional: "Artistic types" were her thing. It... didn't quite work out that way.