Celebrating the women that have shaped British telly

8 Mar • 5 min read

Not that we need an excuse, but International Women’s Day seems like the perfect time to shine a light on some of the most incredible female figureheads British TV has ever seen.

From Soapland, and the weird and wonderful world of reality TV, to some of the most gripping drama of all time, Britain has consistently produced actresses and TV personalities that have shaped the telly we know today. Without these women, British TV just wouldn’t be the same.

Laughing matter

For years, comedy was seen as a space only occupied by men. And while it is still a male dominated industry, we couldn’t imagine the wacky world of comedy without hilarious women, like Miranda Hart, that have driven it to new heights.

Miranda is one of the most unconventionally brilliant comedy shows to come out of Britain in recent times. The comic, who the program is named after, puts herself in the limelight and makes the show her own.

From moments of true slapstick genius, like hurling herself headfirst into a skip to hide from an ex-boyfriend, to her hilarious acapella rendition of Sorry Seems To Be The Hardest Word, Miranda Hart’s authentic quirkiness shines throughout.


Our nation’s soaps have a long lineage of producing legendary female characters. Everyone from the late Barbara Windsor, to more recent icons such as Corrie’s Kim Marsh. But perhaps more exciting than our soaps’ past and present is its future. Coronation Street’s Nina Lucas and Emmerdale’s Isobel Steele are incredible additions to their respective casts.

Eastenders’ Dotty Cotton, played by the super-talented Milly Zero, also deserves a shout out. She steals the show every time she’s on screen with a kind of charisma many say the BBC soap has been missing for a while. If her current storyline is anything to go by, then Dotty’s path of destruction looks set to catch up with her, and we can’t wait to see what happens next.

Leading the way

Not only have we seen a wide range of fantastic actresses play their part in some truly iconic British programs, we’ve seen them continue to take up leading roles in some of the very best shows around right now. And there aren’t many examples of brilliant female leads better than Jodie Comer’s menacing, yet mesmerising portrayal of Villanelle in Killing Eve.

And the best news is that Comer really isn’t alone either. While powerful female leads aren’t exactly a new thing, what’s been refreshing is just how many hit shows now have amazingly talented women at the forefront. We previously waxed lyrical about the potential of Vicky McClure’s tension-packed starring role in ITV’s Trigger Point, and it really didn’t disappoint. The series may have been short, but it was oh so sweet. We just hope Series 2 won’t be too far behind!

New spaces

Although we’ve seen women take on starring roles in dramas, soaps, comedies, and gameshows, sports coverage has continued to be largely disproportionate for women. Which is why the inroads ex-professional footballer turned pundit, Alex Scott, has made over the past few years have been nothing short of phenomenal.

From becoming the first female football pundit at a men’s World Cup, to taking on regular stints on the BBC’s Football Focus - Alex Scott is making the transition from women’s football pioneer, to football pioneer full stop. And long may it continue, we say! She’s been tipped to be the next Gary Lineker, but being the first Alex Scott is far more important in our eyes.

Which other women are helping to change the narrative? We’d love to hear from you! As always you can reach us via email, Twitter or Facebook.