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Michelle Gomez at San Diego Comic-Con in 2015. (Photo: Jason Merritt/Getty Images)

Michelle Gomez has created some of the most memorable TV characters of the past two decades – from hilariously deranged hospital liaison officer Sue White in cult sitcom Green Wing to super-strict headmistress Miss Pickwell in Bad Education, and of course classic Doctor Who baddie Missy a.k.a. The Master, the scheming nemesis of Peter Capaldi‘s Timelord.

To celebrate her intriguing new role opposite Kaley Cuoco in upcoming thriller series The Flight Attendant – Gomez is playing an international businessman with anger-management issues, a role she’s sure to smash – here are some things you might not know about the super-talented Scottish actress.

1. She grew up in Glasgow, where her dad worked as a photographer and her mum ran a modeling agency.

She’s said it was a house with “quite a lot of Harry Belafonte and quite a lot of rum.” Gomez grew up with three brothers and told The Sunday Times: “I had to stick up for myself. I wouldn’t have survived with a Barbie and a hairbrush. I was always very physical. That was my communication. My mother would tell me to stop p*****g about, but would sort of encourage it as well. Everybody said, ‘Oh, you’re such a bloody actress.'”

2. As her Instagram followers will know, she really loves to dance.

“Apparently I came dancing out the womb,” she told Bustle last year. “It makes me free and shakes off any nerves or anxiety, and then I’m kind of open for something good to happen.”

3. Gomez attended stage school from the age of 12 – specifically, the junior section of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Dance.

“I’ve always been a show-off. I’ve always felt that it’s been a destiny, a quiet destiny,” Gomez told The Observer in 2007. “I lived and breathed it. I was a high-kicking, fame-loving t**t when I was growing up.”

4. But after she completed drama school, it took her a while to land regular acting work.

For a period, Gomez would work several jobs simultaneously to make ends meet. “There was a time when I’d clean the lavvies in the morning – I’m using a tiny violin as I’m saying all of this – then lunch-time I’d be a kitchen porter, and in the evening I’d go into the pubs around all these football stadiums as a karaoke presenter,” she told The Sunday Times in 2008. “The guy that would take me in the van would go, ‘Michelle, can we have more than just the mic back at the end of the day?’ I’d be singing “Ruby, Don’t Take Your Love to Town,” and [the pub punters] would nick the equipment around me. That was the best learning for working an audience, definitely.”

5. Early in her acting career, a co-worker nicknamed Gomez “the roach” because of how determined and resilient she was.

“And I said: ‘What, like cockroach?’” Gomez told the i a few years ago. “They said: ‘Yeah, because you’re out there, you get rejected day after day, you get crushed like a bug but you keep coming back. You’re indestructible.’”

6. In 2012, she played a landlord spying on her tenant in a fun TV commercial for British insurance company Direct Line.

7. She’s been married to fellow actor Jack Davenport (Coupling, Pirates of the Caribbean, The Morning Show) for 20 years.

The couple have a son, Harry, who was born in 2010 – and he seems to have inherited his mother’s sense of fun.

8. She knows exactly why she’s often cast in rather dark, villainous roles – but doesn’t believe that her most famous characters are “unhinged.”

“God gave me this face. You know, I don’t have a button nose. With this profile I was always going to be playing w*tches and b*tches,” she told What’s on TV. “Actually, I don’t think of them as being unhinged. Pickwell was frustrated at working with imbeciles. Sue White was just bored. I think they’re a kind of mouthpiece for women who are a little different. They’re intelligent, fearless, and they don’t give a fig what you think about them.”

9. She decided to leave Doctor Who because Peter Capaldi and show runner Steven Moffat were also bowing out.

“I thought, if my friends are leaving, I’m leaving too,” she told the i in 2017. “I’m so lucky to have had Steven writing for me. And for Peter to be my Doctor, I guess I feel quite loyal about it in a way. I don’t know how Missy would respond to a new Doctor.”

10. She can definitely carry a tune, as this fan-made tribute video proves.

Gomez’s Doctor Who rendition version of Toni Basil‘s “Mickey” – which she turned into “hey Missy, you’re so fine…” – was actually an improvised moment. Respect.

Which is your favorite ever Michelle Gomez role?

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Filed Under: Michelle Gomez
By Nick Levine