Charlotte Coleman

Charlotte Coleman bigraphy, stories - Actress

Charlotte Coleman : biography

3 April 1968 – 14 November 2001

Charlotte Ninon Coleman (3 April 1968 – 14 November 2001) was an English actress best known for playing Scarlett in the film Four Weddings and a Funeral (1994), Jess in the television drama Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, and her childhood roles of Sue in Worzel Gummidge and the character Marmalade Atkins. Coleman died of an acute asthma attack"On her death certificate it just says she died from acute bronchial asthma", Lisa Coleman, Mail Online. in Holloway, North London, aged 33.

Early life

Coleman was the first of two daughters born to actress Ann Beach and television producer Francis Coleman. Daily Telegraph, 17 November 2001 Her younger sister is the actress Lisa Coleman. She was educated at Camden School for Girls, from which she was expelled. Outside regular school hours she attended classes at the Anna Scher Theatre School in Islington, North London, because she said she was "too cool" to go to the Brownies.Valentine, Penny; The Guardian, 19 November 2001

At 15, feeling that her upbringing had been too liberal – her parents "didn’t believe in restraint" – Coleman enrolled at Dartington Hall School in Devon. It was a very progressive school where pupils "didn’t have to go to any lessons, so I didn’t. I spent 15 grand – all my money – and it was just stupid really." After this, she attended cookery school.Jivani, Alkarim, Time Out, 11–18 December 1996


Coleman’s first major television role was as Sue in Southern Television’s Worzel Gummidge. This ran for four series (and a Christmas special) from 1978 to 1981 on the ITV network. Other early work included A Choice of Evils (BBC Play for Today, 1977) and Two People (LWT, 1979, as Emma Moffatt). She had a crush on Stephen Garlick, her co-star in Two People. For the role, she had to choose a stuffed toy for Emma to carry; she named it "Haggis" and still had it when interviewed in 1990.

This was soon followed by her role as the teenage rebel Marmalade Atkins, firstly in Marmalade Atkins in Space (a one-off drama shown in 1981), and then in two series, Educating Marmalade (1982–83) and Danger: Marmalade at Work (1984). All three were made by Thames and written by Andrew Davies.

In 1990, Coleman appeared as Jess, a girl from Lancashire brought up by a strict Pentecostal mother, in the acclaimed BBC television drama Oranges Are Not the Only Fruit, based on Jeanette Winterson’s novel of the same name. Coleman won a Royal Television Society, Best Actress award and was nominated for a BAFTA for her portrayal of the young lesbian character. She also read the novel for release by BBC Audiobooks.

Other television appearances in the 1980s and ’90s included roles in The Bill and Inspector Morse, the short-lived comedy series Freddie and Max, with Anne Bancroft, a drama about homelessness, Sweet Nothing, and, in 1996, another lesbian role, Barb Gale, in the political satire Giving Tongue. She also appeared in Simon Nye’s sitcom How Do You Want Me? (1998–2000), alongside Dylan Moran and voiced the lead female character, Primrose, in the animated adaptation of Brambly Hedge., 2008

Probably Charlotte’s most internationally known role was as the endearingly kooky Scarlett in the 1994 film Four Weddings and a Funeral with Hugh Grant, Simon Callow and Kristen Scott Thomas.

Coleman’s final television appearance was in the adaptation of Jacqueline Wilson’s Double Act, where she play the twins’ teacher, Miss Debenham. Her last major film was Jasmin Dizdar’s Beautiful People (1999), set in London in 1993, at the time of the Bosnian War, playing the role of Portia Thornton.Walker, John, (ed) "Halliwell’s Who’s Who in the Movies" (fourth edition), HarperCollins, 2006 (ISBN 100007169574)


Lorna in Our Own Kind (Roy MacGregor), Bush Theatre, London (April 1991), Coleman co-starred with Kevin Whately, Nisha Nayar and Jane Horrocks.