Miranda Hart

Miranda Hart

Date of birth: 30-11-1971
Miranda Hart has forged a niche as a comedy character actress, her size - she's 6ft 1in - and demeanour marking her out, like a modern-day Penelope Keith, for a certain sort of haughty role.

She has starred as Teal in two series of BBC2's comedy sci-fi series Hyperdrive, earning her a nomination for best female newcomer in British Comedy Award in 2006, and appears regularly as a clumsy cleaner in Lee Mack and Tim Vine's sitcom Not Going Out.

But her CV also contains appeances in French & Saunders, Nighty Night, Absolutely Fabulous, The Vicar of Dibley, Smack the Pony and The Abbey alongside Russell Brand and Morwenna Banks. She also appeared in the third series of Comic Relief does Fame Academy, but only lasted two shows,

Born in Torquay, she studied politics at Britsol before doing a post-graduate acting course in London. She first went to the Edinburgh Fringe in what she admits was 'a terrible show' called Hurrell and Hart. She has returned with more successful character shows several times since

Her first Radio 4 show, Miranda Hart's Open House, began in 2007, and is set to be a BBC Two sitcom in 2009.

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Miranda: My Such Fun Celebration

TV review by Steve Bennett

Like a middle-class Mrs Brown’s Boys, Miranda Hart's self-titled sitcom is usually considered a love-it-or-hate-it affair. And this ten-year Such Fun Celebration is only likely to entrench opinions. 

For those few still on the fence about the amenable if old-fashioned comedy, this exercise in self-indulgent backslapping and smug, what I like to call, in-jokes will probably be the thing that tips you into the ‘anti-‘ camp.

If you haven’t spent the past decade trilling ‘such fun!’ and galloping like horses, you may detect a feeling of forced fun about the whole proceedings, from the McFly opening to the core cast ‘mum-dancing’ to Carly Rae Jepsen.

Maybe if you pick up on every reference and understand the relevance of every out-of-context pratfall in the clip montages, it will mean more. The adoring fans who packed the London Palladium certainly lap it all up, but for me this celebration feels more like a cult I’m not part of.

Reunited on stage, the cast utter press-junket banalities about how wonderful it was to work together and what larks it all was. You can’t doubt their sincerity – a genuine friendship and camaraderie is evident as they revel in each other’s company – but don’t expect  more than platitudes. ‘Showbiz exclusive!’ gushes Hart nodding towards Patricia Hodge. 'If anyone was going to laugh first it’s this one.’

Like the sitcom itself, many of the jokes refer to Hart’s 6ft 1in frame and the repetition of catchphrases. The fact Hart has funny bones and the general bonhomie of the ensemble pushing weak lines over the line.Notably, the funniest story was submitted by a fan after producers sought #MirandaMoments on Twitter, hoping to establish a link between everyday embarrassments and the sitcom.

For the makers of this celebration certainly think Miranda was more influential than just 20 silly half-hour comedy episodes. Many new terms coined in the past decade, for example, are considered  as a  way the language has ‘got more Tilly’. Really?

While Miranda’s female-led cast and crew is certainly admirable, and another crack in the glass ceiling, the celebration almost gives the impression that Hart was the first woman ever to have come up with the idea of comedy. 

She ‘knocked down all the walls that we thought existed around the way a woman should be,’ apparently – even if gallivanting stupidly was certainly in French & Saunders’ repertoire, and others before them, too.

The celebration also pushes the idea that Miranda, the sitcom, can give succour to the troubled, with clips of fans describing how they found comfort and connections in the series and its positive ‘be yourself whoever you are’ spirit – especially outsiders who saw themselves in the central character. ‘So many people love Miranda which means there's the possibility that so many people could love me or anybody else who’s a bit different,’ says one.

While it’s wonderful that people do find a way to better mental wellbeing through comedy – and Hart herself gets a bit teary at learning what positive effect her work has had on people – is it churlish and cynical to feel that it's inclusion here seems mawkish and self-aggrandising, the BBC slapping itself on the back?

But such criticism will not dent die-hard fans’ devotion. This show is for them – and there are plenty of them – but no one else.

 • Miranda: My Such Fun Celebration is on BBC One at 5.45pm today.

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Published: 1 Jan 2020

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Past Shows

Edinburgh Fringe 2002

Miranda Hart... throb


Edinburgh Fringe 2003

Miranda Hart: It's All About Me


Edinburgh Fringe 2004

Dogman

Helen Lederer: Finger Food


Edinburgh Fringe 2005

Miranda Hart's House Party


Film

Infidel


Agent

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