Acting Biography

One of Britain’s best-loved and most popular personalities, Helen Lederer began her career in stand-up comedy at London’s famous Comedy Store, as part of the early 80s comedians including French & Saunders, Rik Mayall, Ade Edmondson and Harry Enfield.

On television, Helen is possibly best known for her role as the dippy Catriona in all five series of ‘ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS’ as well as the 2016 Film with Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley, and as her unforgettable creation The Girl at the Bar in BBC’s ‘NAKED VIDEO’. 

She was Flossie in Ben Elton’s series ‘HAPPY FAMILIES’, and had guest roles in most comedy programmes including ‘FRENCH AND SAUNDERS’, ‘BOTTOM’, ‘THE YOUNG ONES’, ‘MURDER MOST HORRID’, ‘FILTHY RICH AND CATFLAP’, ‘GIRLS ON TOP’, ‘HARRY ENFIELD’S TELEVISION PROGRAMME’, ‘THE NEW STATESMAN’ and ‘ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE’.   She has played more dramatic roles in ‘CASUALTY’, ‘HEARTBEAT’, and ITV’s ‘MARPLE’.  She played Rich Aunt Ruby in ‘HORRID HENRY: THE MOVIE’ and ‘Miss Bowline Hitch’ in many series of ‘OLD JACK’S BOAT’ for BBC. In 2020 Helen played ‘Sandra’ alongside Maureen Lipman’s ‘Norma’ in the film ‘The Schnoz’ by Sophie Shad receiving the ‘Pears’ film award.

Helen’s theatre credits include playing opposite Denis Quilley in John Guare’s ‘HOUSE OF BLUE LEAVES’ at the Lilian Baylis Theatre, the title role in ‘EDUCATING RITA’ with Julian Glover as Frank, and, in the West End, she played DOREEN in ALAN BLEASDALES’ ‘HAVING A BALL’ at The Comedy Theatre, ‘THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES’ at the Arts Theatre and ‘CALENDER GIRLS’ at the Noel Coward Theatre.  Fringe plays include ‘WAKE UP AND SMELL THE COFFEE’ among others at The Hampstead Theatre.  Her many one-woman shows have toured the UK – her most recent show ‘I MIGHT AS WELL SAY IT’ was a sell-out at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2018.

Helen has made innumerable television appearances either as presenter or guest on ‘GRUMPY OLD WOMEN’, ‘LOOSE WOMEN’, ‘COME DINE WITH ME’, ‘CELEBRITY MASTERCHEF’, ‘COUNTDOWN’, ‘JUST A MINUTE’, and the reality TV programmes ‘SPLASH’ where she dived with Tom Daley, ‘CELEBRITY BIG BROTHER’ and ITV’s ‘THE REAL FULL MONTY’.


On radio she was a head teacher with the late Rik Mayall in the BBC DRAMA ‘A HIGHER EDUCATION’ among other afternoon plays, as well as narrating BOOK OF THE WEEK - including Liz Jensen’s ‘THE FRIENDSHIP CENTRE’.  Helen has been a panellist THE NEWS QUIZ, QUOTE UNQUOTE, ROOM 101, JUST A MINUTE, EXCESS BAGGAGE, OPEN BOOK, GREAT LIVES and A GOOD READ. She has written and presented PICK OF THE WEEK several times, as well as writing and starring in two comedies, ‘ALL CHANGE’ and ‘LIFE WITH LEDERER’. Her book ‘LOSING IT’ is currently being adapted for film and TalkBack is producing her comedy ‘TEENAGE POETRY’ for BBC Radio 4.  


As a sought-after journalist, Helen has had her own column in WOMAN AND HOME, was the columnist for wine in THE EXPRESS and she is the Agony Aunt for MY WEEKLY MAGAZINE.  Her books include ‘COPING with HELEN LEDERER’, ‘SINGLE MINDING’, ‘GIRLS NIGHT OUT and ‘GIRLS NIGHT IN’ (both published by Harper Collins). Her recent comedy novel ‘LOSING IT’ (Pan MacMillan) was nominated for the Bollinger Everyman PG Wodehouse Comedy Literary Prize.

Helen Lederer - Sister George
Helen Lederer - Bottom