RUNNER UP: Dawn French
BAFTA-winner Dawn French was born to an RAF family in North Wales but was educated at St Dunstan's Abbey School boarding school, now Plymouth College.
She became friends with career comedic partner Jennifer Saunders in 1977 at the London Central School of Speech and Drama, collaborating together for over 30 years.
The 55-year-old's big break came on Channel 4's The Comic Strip Presents programme in 1982 and she has since gone on to win acclaim for her part in French & Saunders and The Vicar of Dibley, winning a British Comedy award in the process.
French is the author of two novels as well as her autobiography, Dear Fatty.