In Spotlight: Sheridan Smith’s best TV roles - from Cilla and The C Word to Mrs Biggs and The Moorside

Sheridan Smith has starred in top British dramas and sitcoms including Gavin and Stacey, Benidorm and Cleaning Up, and the best bit is they’re all available to watch on BritBox…

By Sophia Moir Updated: 24 January 2022 - 11.44am
BritBox / ITV Pictures Sheridan Smith The C Word BritBox

Sheridan Smith has gone from playing, in her own words, “slappers and chavs” to taking leading roles in top TV dramas including Cilla, The C Word, and Mrs Biggs. 

Now the Lincolnshire-born star, 40, is starring in ITV's high-angst drama No Return, which sees her character Kathy having to defend her teenage son against a foreign legal system when he's accused of a crime he claims he didn't commit.

Smith admits "I've never played a character like this" and it's a role that's now much more relatable since the birth of her own son Billy in 2020. 

She is also appearing in Channel 5 drama, The Teacher. In the four-part series, Smith plays Jenna Garvey, the teacher of the title, whose personal and professional life is turned upside-down when she is accused of having a sexual relationship with a student.

She was appointed OBE in the 2015 New Year Honours for services to drama, and has garnered a slew of Bafta, National Television and International Emmy award nominations. 

We round up Sheridan Smith's top TV roles. And the best bit? They're all (except No Return) available for you to watch on BritBox, right now.

No Return - Kathy Powell


No Return is a hard-hitting four-episode drama coming to ITV in 2022. It tells the story of the Powell family as they head to Turkey for a much-needed holiday in the sun. However, things quickly take a turn for the worse when their 16-year-old son Noah is accused of a serious crime and faces a foreign legal system that they'll need to fight to find freedom. 

Smith plays the mother, Kathy, and brilliantly showcases the many emotions that spill out when faced with a scenario that's every mother's nightmare. 

Find out more about Sheridan Smith's experiences while filming No Return 

No Return airs on ITV at 9pm on Monday 7 February. 

Cleaning Up - Sam Cook

In 2019, Smith starred in ITV's drama series Cleaning Up as Sam Cook, a separated mother and office cleaner who resorts to insider trading in order to pay her debts.

Smith's performance was praised by critics, with Lucy Mangan from The Guardian writing that Smith's "greatest gift" is throwing herself into the show with her "whole heart".

Cleaning Up series 1 is available to watch on BritBox now.

The Moorside - Julie Bushby

Smith appeared in two-part TV drama The Moorside in 2017, a dramatisation based on the 2008 disappearance of Shannon Matthews and the successful search for her by police and volunteers in Dewsbury, West Yorkshire.

Starring alongside Gemma Whelan as Shannon's mother, Karen Matthews, Smith played Julie Busby - a friend of Karen's who confronted her about Shannon's imprisonment at the home of a family friend.

Limited series The Moorside is available to watch on BritBox now.

The C Word - Lisa Lynch 

Smith earned a Bafta nomination for her role in 2015 TV movie, The C Word, in which she played a British journalist who was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 28.

The film - an adaptation of Lisa Lynch's candid book about her cancer experience, which itself was based on her hugely popular blog - is a defiant, ballsy and surprisingly funny story of life, love and cancer.

TV movie The C Word is available to watch on BritBox now.

Cilla - Cilla Black

Smith was captivating in the role of nation’s sweetheart Cilla Black in the 2014 three-part drama of the same name, penned by acclaimed writer Jeff Pope (Philomena, A Confession).

Earning herself another Bafta nomination, the series told of the Liverpool singer's rocky rocky rise to fame and her relationship with husband Bobby. Smith was widely praised for using her own singing voice in the drama.

Limited series Cilla is available to watch on BritBox now.

Mrs Biggs - Charmian Biggs

In 2012, Smith stepped into the role of Charmian Biggs - wife of infamous Great Train Robber Ronnie - for the gritty TV biopic about his life.

Another collaboration with Jeff Pope saw Smith win her first Bafta for her emotional portrayal of Charmian's journey from naïve young woman to Biggs' wife.

Limited series Mrs Biggs is available to watch on BritBox now.

Gavin & Stacey - Rudi

Between 2008-2010, Smith starred as Ruth 'Rudi' Smith in BBC comedy Gavin & Stacey.

Rudi was the loud and brash younger sister of Smithy (James Corden), with the pair making a formidable comedy double act when she joined the second series of the show

All three seasons of Gavin & Stacey are available to watch on BritBox now.

Benidorm - Brandy

Benidorm Sheridan Smith ITV

In 2009, Smith made a guest appearance in series 3 of ITV's sitcom Benidorm, the long-running show which followed a group of holidaymakers and staff at an all-inclusive Spanish resort.

Her character Brandy joined the show as a new love interest for Martin Weedon (Nicholas Burns), after he split from his wife Kate (Abigail Cruttenden), but who was later revealed to be a con-woman.

All 10 seasons of Benidorm are available to watch on BritBox now.

The Royle Family - Emma Kavanagh 

The Royle Family Sheridan Smith BBC

Smith appeared in seasons 2 and 3 of BBC sitcom The Royle Family in 1999 and 2000, playing Anthony's first girlfriend Emma Kavanagh.

Although Emma's initial disdain towards Jim Royle and co was evident, the gentle subtlety of Smith's performance was a sign of big things to come for the actress.

All three seasons of The Royle Family are available to watch on BritBox now.

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