Matilda Ziegler

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Matilda Ziegler
Born (1964-07-23) 23 July 1964 (age 58)
Ashford, Kent, England
Years active1987–present
Louis Hilyer
(m. 2004)

Matilda Ziegler (born 23 July 1964)[1] is an English actress, best known for her roles as Donna Ludlow in EastEnders, Irma Gobb in Mr. Bean, and Pearl Pratt in Lark Rise to Candleford.

Television and film career[edit]

Ziegler's first screen role was in her early twenties, during 1987–89; she appeared in the BBC One soap opera EastEnders, playing Donna Ludlow, the illegitimate daughter of series regular Kathy Beale. Donna contended with prostitution, an attempted gang rape, heroin addiction and finally suicide (dying of a heroin overdose). The final death scenes of Ziegler's character, who had choked to death on her own vomit, have been hailed as one of the most powerful anti-drug images ever screened on the programme.[2] She left EastEnders in April 1989.

In the early 1990s, Ziegler starred in the ITV comedy, Mr. Bean, where she played multiple characters, especially a three-episode stint as Irma Gobb, the title character's long-suffering girlfriend. She reprised her role as Irma Gobb, voicing her in Mr. Bean: The Animated Series, from 2002 to 2004, and in the revived series from 2015 to 2019.

Other television credits include: Lark Rise to Candleford (2008–2010) in which she played the part of Pearl Pratt, in the BBC adaptation of Flora Thompson's novel; Harbour Lights (1999); Where the Heart Is (2000); Holby City (2003); An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (1998); The Bill (2003), and Home, alongside Anthony Sher in an adaptation of J.G. Ballard's novel.

Ziegler played Ruth, wife of car salesman Toni, in the BBC sitcom Swiss Toni (2003–04). She also appeared in the BAFTA Television Award winning drama, Sex Traffic (2004). In 2005, she played Christine Miller in the fourth series of The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, and in 2007, she guest starred in the BBC One daytime medical drama Doctors. She also appeared in Outnumbered, Lewis (in the episode 'The Soul of Genius', 2012), Death in Paradise (2013), and Vera (in the episode "Young Gods", 2013).

In 2015, she appeared in an episode of Foyle's War, and in series 4 episode of Call the Midwife. In 2020 she appeared in a second season episode of The Alienist, and appeared in two episodes of The Girlfriend Experience in 2021.

Ziegler's film roles include Decadence (1994), Jilting Joe (1998), City Slacker (2012), and The Rhythm Section (2019) where she played Blake Lively's mother.

Stage and radio career[edit]

Ziegler has appeared in many stage productions, including Twelfth Night for the Royal Shakespeare Company (2001); the theatrical version of Mr. Bean; Women Laughing at the Royal Court Theatre; Volpone, Inadmissible Evidence and Machinal, all at the National Theatre; Featuring Loretta and The Memory of Water – both at the Hampstead Theatre; The Lady from the Sea, Lyric Hammersmith/West Yorkshire Playhouse (1994: TMA Award, nomination for Laurence Olivier Award) and also starred as Sheila Birling in Stephen Daldry's award winning production of An Inspector Calls at the Aldwych Theatre and for the production's Australian tour,[3] along with Lady Sneerwell in Deborah Warner's 2011 production of The School for Scandal at the Barbican Centre.

She most recently appeared in Downstate in Chicago and at the National Theatre, a co production with Steppenwolf Theatre Company. Her radio work has included playing Dr Ruth Anderson in BBC Radio 4, Rigor Mortis (2004–06). She also featured in Giles Wemmbley-Hogg Goes Off in 2010, and as Princess Theresa of Liechtenstein in the fourth series of Cabin Pressure in 2013, a role she reprised for the show's final episode in 2014. She had previously played an air traffic controller and a paramedic in the second episode of the first series.[4]

Personal life[edit]

In July 2004, Ziegler married actor Louis Hilyer; the couple have three children.[5]


Year Title Role Notes
1994 Decadence The Entourage
1998 Jilting Joe Rona
2004 The Audition Pompous Woman Short film
2006 Talk Janice Short film
2020 The Rhythm Section Monica Patrick
2022 Living Prim Lady
Year Title Role Notes
1987-1989 EastEnders Donna Ludlow 119 episodes
1990-1992 Mr. Bean Irma Gobb / Various 4 episodes
1991 Police Station Police Woman TV short
The Bus Stop Mother TV short
1993-2003 The Bill Monica Skinner / Helen Proctor 3 episodes - 2 episodes credited as Matilda Zeigler
1994 Against All Odds: Lost and Found Amy Chadwick TV film
1995 My Good Friend Betty 7 episodes
1996 In Suspicious Circumstances Beattie Pace Series 5, episode 9: "Who's Sorry Now?"
Casualty Nula Snape Series 11, episode 16: "The Homecoming"
1997 Mr. White Goes to Westminster Labour Fixer TV movie
1998 An Unsuitable Job for a Woman Hilary Hampson Series 1, episode 2: "A Last Embrace"
1999 Harbour Lights Jane Ford 10 episodes
2000 Where the Heart Is Sally Series 4, episode 2: "No Regrets"
Too Much Sun Sandi 6 episodes
2001 Armadillo Potts Three-part TV film
Episode 2
2002-2019 Mr. Bean: The Animated Series Irma / Additional voices Voice
20 episodes
2003 Holby City Andrea Rowlands Series 5, episode 19: "A Kind of Loving"
Killing Hitler Mrs. Holmes TV movie/documentary
Home Paul Goddard TV movie
2003-2004 Swiss Toni Ruth / Ruth Gordon 15 episodes
2004 Family Business Carol Sullivan Episode 3
15 Storeys High Karin Series 2, episode 6: "Errol's Women"
Sex Traffic Lou Miniseries
2005 The Inspector Lynley Mysteries Christine Miller 2 episodes
2007 Outnumbered Kate Series 1, episode 4: "The Quiet Night In"
Lead Balloon Fiona Credited as Matilda Zeigler
Series 2, episode 3: "Points"
2007-2010 Doctors Susan Oakley / Jess Butler 8 episodes
2008-2011 Lark Rise to Candleford Pearl Pratt 36 episodes
2010 Summer in Transylvania Ms. Kubilikilik 2 episodes
2012 Lewis Helena Wright Also known as Inspector Lewis
Series 6, episode 1: "The Soul of Genius"
The Poison Tree Alison Larch Miniseries
Episode 1
2013 Death in Paradise Janice Palmer Series 2, episode 6: "A Dash of Sunshine"
Vera Mary Culvert Series 3, episode 3: "Young Gods"
2015 Foyle's War Lady Ava Woolf Series 8, episode 2: "Trespass"
Call the Midwife Dulcie Roland Episode #4.6
2020 The Alienist Mallory Hunter Series 2, episode 7: "Angel of Darkness: The Last Exit to Brooklyn"
2021 The Girlfriend Experience Dr. Lindbergh 2 episodes
2022 Miss Scarlet and The Duke Mary Dawson Series 2, episode 3: "A Pauper's Grave"


  1. ^ Researcha[permanent dead link]
  2. ^ Brake, Colin (1995). EastEnders: The First 10 Years: A Celebration. BBC Books. ISBN 0-563-37057-2.
  3. ^ "Matilda Ziegler's CV". PFD. Archived from the original on 16 November 2007. Retrieved 20 June 2007.
  4. ^ "Cabin Pressure: Boston". BBC Programmes. Retrieved 25 July 2021.
  5. ^ "Bean, the Bard and babies". Coventry Evening Telegraph. 19 April 2001. Retrieved 20 June 2007.[dead link]

External links[edit]