Greig in 2010
|Born||Tamsin Margaret Mary Greig
12 July 1966 
Maidstone, Kent, England
|Other names||Tamsin Leaf|
|Education||Bachelor of Arts|
|Alma mater||University of Birmingham|
|Television||Dr. Caroline Todd in Green Wing
Fran Katzenjammer in Black Books
Alice Chenery in Love Soup
Debbie Aldridge in The Archers
Beverly Lincoln in Episodes
Mum (Jackie) in Friday Night Dinner
|Spouse(s)||Richard Leaf (1997-present)|
|Awards||Royal Television Society Programme Awards: Comedy Performance
2004 Green Wing
Laurence Olivier Award for Best Actress
2007 Much Ado About Nothing
Whatsonstage.com Best Supporting Actress in a Play
2011 The Little Dog Laughed
Families are families. We've all got them, more or less, and we all know what it's like to be bullied by another generation.
I always said there's no way I'd work in America because I'm too weird and I'm too old, but somehow it's happened.
If you stop being scared, that's when entropy sets in, and you may as well go home.
Laughing and crying are very similar. They're an extreme response to life. You see it in children who start laughing hysterically.
I have a shallow understanding of what it means to be alive, and I know certain things about parenting and being a wife and doing the school run. I know little bits, but I'm really a paddler on a beach.
I've been so amazed at the number of really professional top-of-their-game women who I know to be intelligent, well educated and brilliant who have said, 'What was it like to snog Matt LeBlanc?'
I think comedy is the perfect vehicle for that which is slightly beyond life.
I can do a little bit of comedy. I can be in an in-between place, where I can do a little bit.
I've been acting since I could function. I got into acting to get attention as a child.
Dad was a retired chemist who, in his 60s, fathered and fed me and my two sisters while Mum worked as a secretary. He made us curries, Chinese meals and strange concoctions. He was often unsuccessful.
I am interested in shows that are not out-and-out gag fests: you see the truth of a broken heart behind them. That is what life is like: it's really funny, you see funny things as soon as you step out of the room, but underneath that is a whole bag of broken hearts. It's that real pain and that real hilarity that makes life so intriguing.
I tried to get into the National Youth Theatre and didn't, and I tried to get into drama school and didn't, and then I went to university and was really delighted that I went there. I think having the word 'no' can be quite creative.
When I was 17, a neighbour I knew well died of cancer, and I became au pair to her three little girls. In circumstances like that, when you can't really help, I think it's a human response to do something beyond oneself. So I did a sponsored parachute jump for Cancer Research. It was exciting and ridiculous.
I'll read a recipe but then decide, 'Well, it's sort of like this, then.' Or I'll go to the fridge and think, 'I'll see what I can put together,' and I'll combine beetroot and sausage and prawns with goat's cheese sprinkled on top and think, 'I like that they're all slightly pink. It looks fine and… actually, it is fine.'
Going to rehearsals of school plays got me out of science. It became clear what inspired me and what dampened my spirit. The only other thing I could do at school was trampolining – it didn't seem to have much future in it.
I think that if you take somebody out of their comfort zone, they're going to dislike people because they're not liking themselves in a situation.
I'm quite an odd little part of the Venn diagram. I'm not a movie star and beautiful in that way. I do an odd thing that's funny and sad, and my face and my old body can take that.
We live in a fast-paced culture where we're asked to make snap decisions all day long, so I suppose cash-point donations feed into the immediacy of our life experience. So it's a great idea. But I think it needs careful handling.
Radio listeners often have a very fertile imagination when it comes to body shape.
I think going from doing TV and straight plays to Shakespeare is weird enough because you have this heightened language, and you are telling a story through metric poetry. But I think music is that place beyond poetry.
There's something in us that lives just beyond our normality – and I think we've all got a song in us. If only we could master that tiny muscle and make it sound listenable.
When we were growing up, women in their late 40s generally didn't dye their hair.
Writers have to be very careful and discerning because so much of the machine is out of their control.
I know women at work who don't talk about having a baby because they don't want to upset the apple cart, but unless people know what the problems are, why should they engage with it?
Maybe this whole obsession about colouring our hair is about our inability to grow up. To let go of the fact we aren't children any more, and the whole thing about changing our faces and looking young, and 60 being the new 40, is maybe we don't want to let go of our childhood.
I knew a homeless guy who'd give all the copper coins that people gave him to charity. So I think there's something that makes us want to give. For me, it's quite a selfish luxury: you feel enlivened, deepened and self-nurtured by generosity.
I try not to look any further ahead than the next cup of tea. You never know if that cuppa will come or not, do you?
If a job fell from Heaven that was in America, I'd have a go, but I don't feel compelled to go and hunt it down.
Kids have a great sense of humour. If you don't, you're going to miss out.
I was a cleaner while at university. The job wasn't bad, but I was amazed by how badly cleaners are treated – how disrespected they are by the people they work for.
You step over the threshold of your parents' home, and you're instantly transported back to your childhood. It's like time travel. You revert at once to a place of arrested development.
I've long thought that for my last meal on earth I will be perfectly happy with a granary loaf toastie with melted crunchy peanut butter and banana.
I think comedy stems from being honest, often painfully so. I hope I can achieve that perspective in my own life and also have fun.
I think if you're trying to be funny, sometimes you're bending a piece of metal in a direction it doesn't want to go. And sometimes comedy just needs to find itself.
Scientifically speaking, if I say something, or it gets misquoted, or people put a spin on it… I mean, are you interested, really, in what people are saying?
I suppose I flee to life. I'm most interested when conversations become difficult.
I cannot step into any day without help. I have a fantastically engaged husband who is very present for his children and our family life. We've got a brilliant nanny, other help from parents-in-law, godparents, friends. Also, I've had incredible women around me in the business.
I did a drama degree, went to secretarial college, then got a job with a theatre company in Birmingham. It's been a slow burn, which doesn't seem to have gone out.