Celia is an Olivier award winning actress. She has most recently completed filming Fox Searchlight’s highly anticipated sequel The Second Best Exotic Marogold Hotel in India, following the success of the Golden Globe nominated first film with an all-star cast including Dame Judi Dench, Bill Nighy and Dame Maggie Smith.
This August, Celia brings her acclaimed Cabaret Laughing Matters to the St James Studio, following its success at The Crazy Coqs. Cited by Michael Coveney from Whatsonstage as "A Shining Star in her weird and wonderful new cabaret act…", she will perform something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue… and the one about the snakes . With songs and sketches by Jerry Herman, Lynda La Plante, Hermione Gingold, Noel Coward and Mozart, and anecdotes from her best-selling autobiography, The Happy Hoofer, Celia intends to show you why Laughing Matters.
Celia recently co-starred in the comedy film Love Punch, from Entertainment One, opposite Pierce Brosnan, Emma Thompson and Timothy Spall. Later this year, she will also appear in Lionsgate’s upcoming comedy What we did on our Holiday, Tom Butterworth’s family film Molly Moon: The Incredible Hypnotist and this Christmas she will play the headmistress in Nativity 3: Due Where's My Donkey? the third film in the hugely popular film series. As well as her upcoming screen roles, Bloomsbury will be publishing her first novel Not Quite Nice in 2015, following the success of her autobiography, The Happy Hoofer.
In 2001, Celia played Una Alconbury in Bridget Jones' Diary. The Oscar nominated film starred Renee Zellweger, Hugh Grant and Colin Firth. She then went on to star in Calendar Girls in 2003, opposite Julie Walters and Dame Helen Mirren, before returning for the Bridget Jones Sequel The Edge of Reason in 2004. Celia also featured in Wimbledon and as Mrs Quickly opposite Colin Firth in Nanny McPhee, both from Universal Pictures, as well as playing Matron in St Trinians and in the sequel, St Trinians 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold. Celia’s further film credits include Homily Clock, opposite Jim Broadbent in the 1997 award winning family film The Borrowers as well as featuring in the 1999 blockbuster Star Wars - The Phantom Menance. She was cast as Mrs Bennet’ in A Christmas Carol, before going on to feature in the Oscar nominated Frankenstein with a cast including Robert De Niro, Helena Bonham Carter and John Cleese.
Her career started in the early 1970s with her first notable role of Marianne Bellshade in the BBC television series Bergerac. Following on from this, Celia played her famous role of Miss Babs in the parodic soap opera Acorn Antiques, also for the BBC. In 1993, she played Vera in Barbara Vine’s A Dark Adapted Eye with Sophie Ward and Helena Bonham Carter for BBC Two. She is also well known for her much-loved role in ITV’s Kingdom, where she starred in all three seasons, opposite Stephen Fry and last year she starred as the villainess Miss Kizlet in the seventh series of the hugely popular BBC series Doctor Who. She also took on the role of Rowan Holdaway in the ITV comedy series Love and Marriage and, in 2012 played Grace Rushton in the ITV mini-series Titanic, written by Julian Fellowes. Celia also featured in the first season of The Darling Buds of May alongside David Jason and Catherine Zeta-Jones and BAFTA nominated TV series The Riff Raff Element. From 1998 to 2000, she starred as Phillipa Moorcroft in the BBC series Dinnerladies and in 2000, also took the lead role of Lady Gertrude in the mini-series Gormenghast. Celia was in the first episode of ITV’s comedy drama Doc Martin, the BBC’s multi-award winning Absolutely Fabulous and crime drama Marple. Starting in 2007 Celia also featured in the TV series After You're Gone as Diana Neal, opposite Nicholas Lyndhurst. Earlier this year she guest starred in the second episode of the BBC’s Blandings, playing Jennifer Saunder’s sister.
In 2011, Celia was nominated for the Olivier Award for Best Actress in the acclaimed Tony and Olivier Award winning comedy, Noises Off, at The Old Vic Theatre. She also starred in Hayfever at The Rose Theatre and in Habeus Corpus at The Donmar Warehouse, directed by Sam Mendes. For Acorn Antiques: The Musical, directed by Trevor Nunn, Celia won the Olivier Award for Best Actress in a Musical in 2005. Celia was also awarded The Clarence Derwent Award for Best Supporting Actress in The Sea at the National Theatre in 1991, with her role opposite Dame Judi Dench, also directed by Sam Mendes. She began her career as a chorus girl in pantomime and then went on to perform in Henry V, Macbeth, As You Like It and The Merchant of Venice. At the National Theatre she performed in Yerma (1987) and The School for Scandal (1998). Stewart Permutt’s one-woman play Unsuspecting Susan 2003 premiered at The King’s Head Theatre and in 2005 she then took the play on to critical acclaim in New York at 59 East 59thStreet Theatre.
Most recently, Celia was seen at Crazy Coqs in her sold out cabaret performance, Laughing Matters.