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25 February 2019

Anyone who wouldn’t give their right tit to be Olivia Colman’s friend is dead inside

There’s something about her that makes you want to open up about the saddest thing that’s ever happened to you, while she loads up the cafetiere. I bet she gives phenomenal hugs.

By Eleanor Margolis

Just the other day, I was wondering when exactly Olivia Colman became more famous than her Peep Show co-stars David Mitchell and Robert Webb. Her path from Sophie from Peep Show to Best Actress Oscar winner can’t exactly be called “rags to riches” – Colman is a privately educated Cambridge alumnus – but there’s something deeply, deeply heart-warming about it.

Maybe it’s the fact she seems so nice. As much as I can’t stand award ceremonies of any kind (what is this masochistic compulsion to spend an evening watching immeasurably rich and successful people having a really nice time?), Colman saying, “This is hilarious” and blowing a raspberry in her speech was a joy to watch. And anyone who wouldn’t give their right tit to be Colman’s friend is dead inside, for sure. There’s something about her that makes you want to open up about the saddest thing that’s ever happened to you, while she loads up the cafetiere. I bet she gives phenomenal hugs.

More likely though, Colman’s ascent has been satisfying to watch because, right back in her Sophie days, there were hints that she was destined for way bigger things. Take that scene where Mark finds her mascara-streaked and puking in a pub toilet cubicle. After Colman’s role as the tragedy begotten and volatile Queen Anne in The Favourite, this scene in Peep Show feels almost like a precursor. This was the point at which it became clear Colman had serious range, and can do “fucked up” scarily well.

Then, suddenly, around 2010, Colman was in everything. Or everything good, at least: off the top of my head I can’t think of a single bad TV show or film she’s been in. From Rev to Broadchurch, Colman became ubiquitous in the best possible way. Oh, and she wasn’t a 23-year-old size zero; just a really, really good actor. You can almost see The Dames – Judi Dench, Helen Mirren, Maggie Smith – eyeing her up to come and sit at the Dames’ Table (on Wednesdays, they wear furs).  

You can imagine the last of the current Dames, on her deathbed, whispering, “Bring me Olivia Colman”. Then having her ushered into the room to be given the Dame Talk, whatever the Dame Talk may be (something about Elizabeth Taylor’s martini recipe, and always remembering to keep the Gays happy I imagine). Either way, whatever esoteric knowledge is passed from one generation of great British actresses to the next, I’m certain that Colman is set to be the most down-to-earth person to ever receive it. “This is hilarious,” she’ll say, through the tears.

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To be, on top of all of this, a lesbian icon, well and truly seals Colman as the full package. Which reminds me – we, the Lesbians, need to issue a decree that Colman, and Colman alone, is the only heterosexual on the face of the earth allowed to utter the line, from the The Favourite: “I like it when she puts her tongue inside me”.

Olivia Colman is allowed to sit at our table, too.