Olivia Colman's Career Began With This Iconic 90s TV Ad & OMG, The Nostalgia Is Real

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I think I've been waiting for Olivia Colman to win an Oscar ever since the first time I saw her as Sophie on Peep Show. The actress has played plenty of smalltime roles, but even when she appeared in adverts back in the day, I — and possibly most of the UK — always knew she was destined for far greater heights. Now she's no longer the UK's best-kept secret, here's a look back at the the most lowkey roles played by Olivia Colman, from her AA advert to her brief appearance on The Office.

Since the early 2000s, Colman's been all over the British TV scene, mostly acting in comedies and sitcoms. Colman's most famous early performances include her role as Sophie (love interest of protagonist Mark Corrigan) in Peep Show and the loveable Harriet Schulenburg in Green Wing. Her acting CV is also dotted with much more lowkey performances, though, and Colman's really had to pay her dues before finally making the big time.

Now that the spotlight's on her, I hope that Colman will never have to do another car advert again, although I can't help but look back on those halcyon days with nostalgia now that she's an Oscar winner.


Bev & Kev

Colman's career took off with those four sweet words: "Bev, Kev? Kev, Bev?" Although the actress recently revealed on David Tennant's podcast that the AA advert became "the bane of [her] life," you can't deny a classic when you see one. Colman was basically the Meryl Streep of car insurance adverts.


"Be Kind To Your Behind"

While not quite Shakespeare (nor Yorgos Lanthimos), Colman's lines in this toilet paper advert: "The world can be tough on bottoms, but you can do one kind thing for yours. Treat yourself to a little Andrex comfort, together with Andrex Fresh, and be kind to your behind," still feel like pure poetry. Or, at least, Colman makes them sound that way. This is really proof that she can make anything sound amazing.


That Time She Played a Hippy in 'Skins'

There's been so many episodes and celebrity guest appearances in Skins that you'd be forgiven for forgetting that Colman once played a part in the angsty teen drama. Just to remind you: she played the sex-obsessed hippy mother of gen. 2 character Naomi.


The Lottery Advert

This National Lottery advert and the gelled hair she had to wear for it might not be the highlight of Colman's career, but my gosh, she sure is convincing as a powerful businesswoman working in sales. At this point, I reckon she considered herself more likely to win the Lottery than to ever win an Oscar. Boy, were you wrong, Colman.


Her Forgotten Appearance in 'The Office'

By this time, Colman was a staple British actress, so it makes sense that she was a part of Britain's staple sitcom, but it's likely you forgot about it. Colman appeared alongside Ricky Gervais in The Office very briefly as a magazine journalist sent to interview David Brent. Though her role was slight, viewers still got to see Colman's terrific performance and comedic abilities. Had she stayed on longer, she might have outdone Gervais himself.