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Diana Quick
Diana Marilyn Quick

(1946-11-23) 23 November 1946 (age 77)
EducationDartford Grammar School for Girls
Alma materOxford
Years active1958–present
SpouseKenneth Cranham (1974–1978) (divorced)
PartnerBill Nighy (1980–2008; separated)
ChildrenMary Nighy

Diana Marilyn Quick (born 23 November 1946) is an English actress.

Early life and family background[]

Quick was born in London, England. She grew up in Dartford, Kent, the third of a dentist's four children. She was educated at Dartford Grammar School for Girls, Kent. She was greatly aided by her English teacher, Miss Davis, who encouraged her to pursue acting. She became a member of an amateur dramatic society in Crayford, Kent, while at school as well as appearing in many school productions. On leaving school, she went on in 1964 to pursue further studies at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford.[1] Quick was the first female president of the Oxford University Dramatic Society.

Quick spent seven years researching a book about her paternal family's life in India which was published in 2009 by Virago with the title A Tug on the Thread: From the British Raj to the British Stage. In her book Quick reveals that she is of mixed race (Anglo-Indian) descent. Her great-grandfather served 23 years in the army in India before becoming a policeman and her great-grandmother had to flee from the Indian Mutiny after her father was killed.[citation needed]


Quick is perhaps best known for the major role of Lady Julia Flyte in the television production of Brideshead Revisited. She received an Emmy and British Academy Television Awards nomination for her work. Quick has also shown her versatility as actress appearing in many theatre, film and television productions. Her stage work has been most varied with roles in Shakespeare's Troilus and Cressida to Brecht's The Threepenny Opera.

Most recently she portrayed Queen Elizabeth II in a documentary drama made for television, The Queen: "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Camilla?". Prior to accepting the role, Quick had played the same character as a younger woman in Alan Bennett's play, A Question of Attribution. She said of how she prepared for the television role,

I think one has to try to be as accurate as possible. You have to wear the right clothes, and in my case I wore a white wig, because I'm playing her as a mature Queen rather than when she was a younger woman. So you try and get the externals as accurate as possible, but then I think it's like any acting challenge, you just try to play the situation as truthfully as you can. So you play the spirit of the thing rather than the documentary reality of it.[2]

Personal life[]

Her longtime partner was actor Bill Nighy; and they have one daughter, the actress Mary Nighy (born 1984). They separated in 2008.[3] The couple met in 1981 when co-starring in a play at the National Theatre in London. She was previously married to the actor Kenneth Cranham for a short time and had a relationship with Albert Finney that lasted seven years.


Quick was one of several celebrities who endorsed the successful parliamentary candidacy of the Green Party's Caroline Lucas at the 2015 general election.[4]



  • Nicholas and Alexandra (1971)
  • A Private Enterprise (1974)
  • A Christmas Carol (1971) (voice)
  • The Duellists (1977)
  • The Three Hostages (1977)
  • The Odd Job (1978)
  • The Big Sleep (1978)
  • Ordeal by Innocence (1984)
  • Max, Mon Amour (1986)
  • Wilt (1989)
  • Nostradamus (1994)
  • Saving Grace (2000)
  • The Affair of the Necklace (2001)
  • The Discovery of Heaven (2001)
  • Revengers Tragedy (2002)
  • Love/Loss (2010)


  • Brideshead Revisited (1981)
  • Minder: An Officer and a Car Salesman (1988)
  • Dandelion Dead (1994)
  • Dalziel and Pascoe ("For Love Nor Money") (2002)
  • Inspector Morse ("Absolute Conviction")
  • Poirot (Sad Cypress) (2003)
  • Doctor Who: Scream of the Shalka (2003)
  • Midsomer Murders (2004)
  • Kingdom: Series 2, Episode 5 (2008)
  • The Queen: "How Do You Solve a Problem Like Camilla?" (2009)
  • Lewis: "Dark Matter" (2010)
  • The Missing (2014)
  • The Living and the Dead (2016)


  1. "LMH, Oxford - Prominent Alumni". Retrieved 20 May 2015.
  2. Interview: The Queen, Channel 4, Thursday, 5 November 2009
  3. Roberts, Laura. It's not Love Actually after all as star Nighy splits with partner of 27 years, Daily Mail, 25 August 2008.
  4. Elgot, Jessica (24 April 2015). "Celebrities sign statement of support for Caroline Lucas – but not the Greens". The Guardian. London, UK. Retrieved 23 July 2015.

External links[]