In Spotlight: Daisy Haggard’s top movies and TV shows - 5 of her best roles you need to watch, from Breeders to Back To Life

We round up BAFTA-nominated British actress Daisy Haggard’s top five roles as she returns to dark parenting comedy Breeders alongside Martin Freeman on Sky Comedy and NOW.

By Sophia Moir Published: 4 August 2022 - 11.19am
Daisy Haggard as Ally in Breeders

Stream every episode of Breeders season 3 on Sky Comedy with NOW from Wednesday 13 July. Seasons 1-2 are available now.

Daisy Haggard has a TV, film and theatre career spanning 20 years, but thanks to roles in Episodes, Back to Life, Inside No.9 and Breeders, she’s fast becoming a household name. 

A graduate of the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA), Haggard has also made a name for herself behind the cameraas she co-created BBC series Back to Life.

The 44-year-old British actress - whose full name is Celia Daisy Morna Haggard - lives in south London with her composer husband Joe Wilson, their two daughters aged seven and four, and three dogs. She often shares snippets of her family life on her Instagram.

Said family life is blending into her work life, as she’s determined to make TV sets more family-friendly. In an interview with Grazia, she said: “If everyone has more time for themselves, or their friends, or family, or gets to put their kids to bed, I believe they will work harder and be better because they’ll be happier. I’m on a one-woman mission to make lovely short working days where everyone gets to see their family."

Here, we round up Daisy Haggard’s top 5 movies and TV roles - reviewing her 5 best performances you need to watch - including a hidden Harry Potter role...

1. Breeders - Ally Worsley

Breeders key art

Haggard currently stars as mum-of-two and recording studio operator Ally in the third season of Sky/FX comedy Breeders, alongside Martin Freeman as her husband, Paul. The pair have known each other for years - Haggard is godmother to one of Freeman’s children - but Breeders is the first time they've worked together.

Freeman has nothing but praise for his co-star, and it sounds like they have a lot of fun on set. “She is this bundle of enthusiasm and fun,” he tells The Guardian. “Daisy is the original Earth Mother. And also, very silly. To an Olympic degree. I take the piss out of her a lot. But often she beats me to it.”

Testament to her performance in the show, Haggard was nominated for Best Female Comedy Performance at the 2021 TV BAFTA Awards, which she says came as a “huge shock” to her. In an interview with The Guardian, she confessed: “I assumed it was Breeders that had been shortlisted, not me [for female performance in a comedy programme]. When I finally clicked, I blurted out, ‘Good God!’”

Stream every episode of Breeders season 3 on Sky Comedy with NOW from Wednesday 13 July. Seasons 1-2 are available now.

Breeders season 3: All you need to know

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2. Back to Life - Miri Matteson

Haggard gives the performance of her career in the dark comedy Back to Life, which she co-created with writer Laura Solon. Haggard plays the show’s lead character Miri Matteson, who’s just returned home after serving an 18-year jail sentence.

Back to Life has received high praise from critics, and both seasons have an outstanding 100% approval rating on review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes. It's more impressive when you discover it's the first show that Haggard has written which has made it to TV.

The show has been compared to Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s sadcom Fleabag, which Haggard calls an “honour”, but her perspective is that the two shows are very different. She tells Entertainment Weekly: “Phoebe is so brilliant and such a lovely woman and such a clever and an excellent brain, so it doesn’t really bother me, but at the same time I look forward to a time when we do not think of ‘female’ as a genre.”

Stream Back to Life seasons 1-2 on BBC iPlayer.

3. Episodes - Myra Licht

Haggard starred in all five seasons of the BBC sitcom Episodes, which saw a British husband-and-wife writing team (played by Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig) move to Hollywood to remake their hit TV show for the American market.

Performing alongside former Friends actor Matt LeBlanc (who played a satirical version of himself), Haggard portrayed Myra Licht, the head of comedy at the American TV network whose facial expressions, grunts and disapproving remarks stole a number of scenes. 

It wasn’t just the audience who enjoyed Haggard’s comedic timing, as actor and comedian Stephen Mangan admitted he couldn’t get through filming with his co-star.

He said: “It's the only time I've ever worked with an actor and they've had lines taken away, because she was so funny at just grunting and making noises. We had to turn the lights off on her face because we couldn't actually do the scenes and see her.”

Greig agreed, calling the scenes “very difficult to film”. She added: “It's a combination of looks on her face, of terror, sadness and nausea!”

Stream Episodes seasons 1-5 on Acorn TV with Prime Video. Acorn TV subscription required.

4. Uncle - Sam

Daisy Haggard in Uncle BBC Three

Between 2012-2017, Haggard starred in the British sitcom Uncle, which originally aired its pilot episode on Channel 4 before moving to BBC Three for its three full seasons.

Produced by Baby Cow (Alan Partridge, Gavin and Stacey), Uncle followed Andy (played by comedian Nick Helm), an out-of-work musician who finds himself looking after his quirky 12-year-old nephew Errol (Elliot Speller-Gillott). 

Haggard played Andy's sister, Sam. Speaking about her character to the BBC, Haggard revealed that her and her on-screen brother were more like siblings in real life.

She said: “Me and Nick are a bit like brother and sister – he’s always phoning me and asking for advice. I’m always telling him to bugger off! We get on brilliantly so it’s just really nice coming to work when you’re good mates with people.”

Her role in Uncle also seemingly inspired her TV creation Back to Life, as she called Uncle “funny and warm – and also a little bit dark”, which is how we’d definitely describe it. 

Stream Uncle seasons 1-3 on BritBox.

5. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 - Ministry Lift (voice)

Haggard would be the first to admit that this was a very minor role, but when it's a minor role in one of the biggest movie franchises in the world, it deserves a mention!

Haggard voiced the  Ministry of Magic lift in two Harry Potter films: Order of the Phoenix and the Deathly Hallows Part 1. In the latter, she can be heard when Harry Potter, Ron Weasley and Hermione Grainger use Polyjuice potion to disguise themselves as ministry officials to break into the Ministry to steal Slytherin's locket from Dolores Umbridge.

You can hear her voice in this YouTube clip from the film, around the 3 minute and 12 seconds mark. 

Stream all the Harry Potter films on Sky Cinema with NOW.

Best of the rest: Daisy Haggard’s movies and TV shows

  • Green Wing - Emmy

  • Sense and Sensibility (2008 version) - Miss Steele

  • Ashes to Ashes - Donna Mitchell

  • Abroad (film) - Poppy Young

  • Doctor Who - Sophie

  • Parents - Chrissie

  • The Persuasionists - Emma

  • Psychoville - Debbie Hart

  • Hilda - Johanna (voice)

  • I Give It a Year (film) - Helen