Sally Philips

Yesterday I read an article in the guardian. It was about Sally Philips. You may know her as the actress who played:

  • The Travel Tavern receptionist in Alan Partridge, or
  • Bridget Jones’ friend Shaza, or
  • Tilly in Miranda.


She said how she became a Christian in an interview (for premier Christianity) . She says After university:

“I was hanging out with people like Stewart Lee who went on to write the Jerry Springer opera. I was with that crowd of people, so becoming a Christian was just not going to happen because Christianity was for idiots and everyone knew that! I started researching and writing a sitcom about witches. I thought witches were funny. I had a whole load of books on witchcraft.

I started having really bad nightmares. I thought, ‘Ok, my brain is a computer; I’m feeding it witches. I’m going to stop feeding it witches’. And so I threw all the books away. The dreams didn’t go away. Then I was turning my flat upside down looking for a Bible (which I didn’t have because only idiots read the Bible, obviously).  

My social group was so anti-Christian that I actually found it embarrassing, shaming even, the idea that I might go and buy a Bible. I remember standing outside a bookshop for ages, wondering if I had the guts to buy one.  

After three months of sleeping about three hours a night and [having] these nightmares every single night, I ended up on a job with Milton Jones and Patrice Naiambana – who is a Sierra Leonean actor. I quite quickly established they were both Christians. Milton was 32 and had three kids. I said: ‘What? Who has three kids at that age?! Are you Christian or something?’

I was being rubbish in rehearsal one day and I said to Patrice, ‘Sorry I’m being so bad, the devil came to haunt me last night in the form of a chair’, which was my comedy-telling of the nightmare. And suddenly the siren went off! Patrice said ‘That’s why we have Jesus!’  

To cut a long story short she says:

I became a Christian when Patrice prayed for me in Hammersmith shopping centre at 3am. And to everyone’s surprise I became a Christian and still am.


Here are a couple of other interesting questions she was asked:

I often hear preachers ask: ‘What’s your advice for telling jokes in sermons?’ 

Don’t. Please don’t. Don’t do it! The really exciting thing about preaching is God comes and lights it up. That’s the really wonderful thing, isn’t it? It can be nothing. It can be someone absolutely useless. You can be Moses who has got a stammer and can’t talk. It could be a child. God comes and lights it up and you’re literally just a tube through which God blows. A kazoo. God’s kazoo.


One of the big quandaries I have is: To what degree are you responsible for words you put out there? 

I’ve had a lot of aggro from Christians about playing Shazza [a very swear-y character] in Bridget Jones, but I prayed a lot about how to do it. At the end, the producer said to me, ‘We were so surprised at how Shazza came across so full of love.’ So for me that was a win. I understand it’s an issue for other people and I’m sorry it offends them, but then they didn’t have to go to the cinema.


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