The IT Crowd Wiki
Katherine Parkinson 1.png
Katherine Parkinson
Biographical information

March 9, 1978





Eye colour


Hair colour

Strawberry blonde


5' 6" (1.68 m)

Years Active


In The IT Crowd

Jen Barber

Notable Roles
  • Jen Barber in The IT Crowd
  • Pauline Lamb in Doc Martin

Katherine Parkinson (b. March 9, 1978) is an English actress, most noted for her portrayal of Jen Barber in the Channel 4 comedy series The IT Crowd and her role as Amber in The Old Guys.


Early life[]

Katherine Parkinson was born on March 9, 1978, in England. She was educated at Tiffin Girls' School in Kingston-Upon-Thames, Surrey, before going on to read Classics at St. Hilda's College in Oxford. Here she was first introduced as acting when she appeared in various plays during her college years. At around the age of 19, she met her life-long friend and comedienne Katy Brand. After her education at St. Hilda's, she moved on the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Arts (LAMDA).

Coincidentally, this is where Parkinson met her future The IT Crowd co-star, Chris O'Dowd. O'Dowd has admitted that both he and Parkinson were 'two of the worst students'. Neither finished their courses there and left because both of them 'kind of got a mixture of thrown-out and left-of-our-own-volition'. She had enrolled in a two-year course at LAMDA, however, she left in her second year when she landed a major role in the play The Age of Consent.

Acting career[]

Parkinson subsequently went on to earn minor roles in various TV series before landing a major role in the comedy-drama Doc Martin as Pauline Lamb. Parkinson then auditioned for the Jen Barber, the socially excellent but technically challenged new Head of the IT Department of Reynholm Industries, in Graham Linehan's sitcom The IT Crowd. She auditioned after meeting with her close friend from LAMDA, Chris O'Dowd, who had already landed the role of Roy. O'Dowd felt that Parkinson would be perfect for the role as they were having trouble casting her. Parkinson took O'Dowd's advice and auditioned for the part, and succeeded in getting the role. She starred alongside O'Dowd and Richard Ayoade in all four series lasting from 2006 to the present.

Parkinson has also contributed ideas for sketches to her old friend Katy Brand for her ITV 2 sketch show, Katy Brand's Big Ass Show. She has made appearances in Jonathan Creek and Doctor Who, as well as appearing in Malteaser advertisements. Parkinson has also appeared on radio on BBC Radio 4 programmes such as Laura Solon: Talking and Not Talking, Mouth Trap, with Katy Brand, as well as The Odd Half Hour. Parkinson has also appeared in Hamption's new version of The Seagull in 2007.

Personal life[]

Parkinson's mother is a teacher of English at James Allen's Girls' School. Parkinson is engaged to fellow comedian Harry Peacock. In her acceptance speech at the British Comedy Awards in December 2009, she referred to Peacock as her husband.

Awards and nominations[]

  • 2009: Best Comedy Actress for her portrayal of Jen Barber in The IT Crowd at the 2009 British Comedy Awards.


Year Title Type Role
2005 Ahead of the Class Drama Vicky Foley
Casualty Drama Helen Gibbons
Extras Comedy drama Woman in Queue
2005-2009 Doc Martin Comedy drama Pauline Lamb
2006 Hard to Swallow Comedy short film Katie
2006-present The IT Crowd Sitcom Jen Barber
2007 Fear, Stree and Anger Comedy Gemma
Love Triangle Animation Voice
Christmas at the Riviera Comedy Vanessa
2008 How to Lose Friends & Alienate People Comedy film PR Woman
Easy Virtue Romantic comedy film Marion Whittaker
2009 St Trinian's 2: The Legend of Fritton's Gold Comedy film Physics teacher
The Boat that Rocked Comedy film Felicity
Comic Relief 2009 Comedy charity festival Stella
The Old Guys Comedy Amber
Jonathan Creek Crime drama Nicola
2010 Cooked Animated short film Voice

Behind the scenes[]

  • Parkinson's favourite TV shows include Peep Show, Star Stories, One Foot In The Grave, Pulling, League Of Gentlemen, Steptoe And Son, and Bruce Forsyth's The Generation Game.
  • Parkinson has appeared alongside Chris O'Dowd in both The IT Crowd and The Boat that Rocked.

External links[]