Sarah Parish (born 7 June 1968) is an English actress. She is known for her work on television series including: The Pillars of the Earth, Peak Practice, Hearts and Bones, Cutting It, Doctor Who, Mistresses, Merlin, Atlantis, Monroe, HBO's Industry, Stay Close, Trollied, W1A and as the titular character in Bancroft.
Parish was born in Yeovil, Somerset, to Bill and Thelma Parish; she has a sister, Julie, and a brother, musician John Parish. She was educated at the local Preston School and Yeovil College. She began acting at an early age and believes her first stage appearance was aged two in a pantomime in the village of Tintinhull playing the pearl in an oyster. She later attended Yeovil Youth Theatre.
After training at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts in London, her appearance in a cult advert for Manchester-based Boddingtons bitter in 1994 (as Vera, who likes nothing better than "a good rub down with chip fat"), led to a series of roles as Northern women, including Dawn Rudge in Peak Practice (1993), Allie Henshall in Cutting It (2002), Annie Naylor in Trust and Natalie Holden in Blackpool (2004). She starred alongside Debra Messing in the movie The Wedding Date, had a small role in The Holiday, which starred Jude Law, and appeared as the Empress of the Racnoss in the Christmas 2006 Doctor Who episode "The Runaway Bride".
Parish appeared in the one-off drama Recovery. She also starred in the BBC series ShakespeareRe-Told in which she played Beatrice. She returned as GP Katie Roden in series two and three of Mistresses which was first shown on BBC One in February 2009. She played Lady Catrina in the BBC television series Merlin.
In 2011 Parish co-starred in ITV's medical drama Monroe, alongside James Nesbitt. From 2013 to 2015 she appeared in the BBC TV series Atlantis, playing one of the main cast characters, Pasiphaë. From 2014 to 2017 she played the role of Anna Rampton in three series of the BBC TV comedy W1A. Since November 2015 Parish has portrayed Cheryl Fairweather in Sky One sitcom Trollied.
In December 2019 she appeared in The Cockfields as Melissa, girlfriend of Nigel Havers' character, Larry. She later appeared in the HBO/BBC drama Industry the following year. Parish appeared in Netflix original Stay Close as Lorraine in December 2021.
She has frequently co-starred opposite David Tennant — in the 2004 musical serial Blackpool; the Tony Marchant drama Recovery; the 2006 Doctor Who Christmas special episode, "The Runaway Bride"; in the third series of the ITV crime drama Broadchurch; and in the 2017 film You, Me and Him. She has joked that "We're like George and Mildred – in 20 years' time we'll probably be doing a ropey old sitcom in a terraced house in Preston."
Parish married James Murray on 15 December 2007 in Hampshire. It was announced in January 2008 that she was pregnant with their first child, due on Parish's 40th birthday. Their daughter Ella-Jayne was born with Rubinstein–Taybi syndrome and died in 2009. In her memory, Parish and Murray raise funds for the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit (PICU) at Southampton General Hospital. As of December 2019, they had raised £5.2 million towards the PICU. Their second daughter, Nell, was born on 21 November 2009.
On 2 March 2018, Parish sustained an accident, breaking her leg when sledging in the snow. She commented: "Note to self: cheap plastic sledges are for sitting in and gently trundling down primary slopes NOT a substitute for a stand up snowboard".
|1994||The Bill||Linda Pincham||Episode: "Taking Stock"|
|1997–1999||Peak Practice||Dawn Rudge|
|1998||Babes in the Wood||Roxy||One episode|
|City Central||Karen Ridley|
|Brotherly Love||Julia Empthorpe|
|Kiss Me Kate||Liz|
|2000–2001||Hearts and Bones||Amanda Thomas|
|2001||The Vice||Jane Farrell|
|2002–2005||Cutting It||Allie Henshall|
|2003||Unconditional Love||Lydia Gray|
|2005||Monkey Trousers||Various Characters|
|ShakespeaRe-Told||Beatrice||Episode: "Much Ado About Nothing"|
|Agatha Christie's Marple||Evie Ballantine||Episode: Sleeping Murder|
|If I Had You||Sharon Myers|
|Doctor Who||Empress of the Racnoss||Episode: "The Runaway Bride"|
|2009||Merlin||Lady Catrina||Episodes: “Beauty and the Beast“ parts 1 and 2|
|2010||The Pillars of the Earth||Regan Hamleigh|
|2012||Hatfields & McCoys||Levicy Hatfield|
|2013||Agatha Christie's Poirot||Flossie Monro||Episode: "The Big Four"|
|2014–2017||W1A||Anna Rampton||Three series|
|2015–2018||Trollied||Cheryl Fairweather||Main role, 24 episodes|
|2016||The Collection||Marjorie Stutter|
|2017||Broadchurch||Cath Atwood||Series three|
|2017–2018||The Keith & Paddy Picture Show||Herself/Dana Barrett (Ghostbusters)/Charlie Blackwood (Top Gun)||Episode(s): "Ghostbusters"|
|2017–2020||Bancroft||Det Supt Elizabeth Bancroft||Main role|
|2018-2019||Medici: The Magnificent||Lucrezia Tornabuoni|
|2019–present||The Cockfields||Melissa||Supporting role|
|2021||Inside No. 9||Dawn||Episode: "Last Night of the Proms"|
|2022||Heathrow: Britain's Busiest Airport||Narrator||Series 8|
|1998||Middleton's Changeling||Asylum inmate|
|1999||Parting Shots||Ad agency receptionist|
|2005||The Wedding Date||TJ|
|2018||You, Me and Him||Mrs Jones|