The quietly brilliant actress and fashion favourite who takes success in her stride
The morning after Miss Potter premiered in 2006, introducing a 12-year-old Lucy Boynton as the young Beatrix Potter, The Telegraph published a piece by her mother, the writer Adriaane Pielou, with the headline ‘My Lucy, the film star’. To this day, Boynton has never read the story.
It’s a telling anecdote about a performer who, 17 years on from her professional debut, still feels uneasy about the term ‘star’, despite a string of high-profile roles on both the big and the small screens, including as Freddie Mercury’s partner Mary Austin in Bohemian Rhapsody, the undercover agent Jean Courtney in The Ipcress File and the ruthless Astrid Sloan in Netflix’s hit show The Politician. “You wouldn’t think I’m the actress in the family,” she says. “As a child, I remember being really shy and uncomfortable, and in the shadow of my older sister [Emma-Louise Boynton, who now hosts the podcast Sex Talks]. But I think acting gave me access to change myself somehow… It unlocked the idea that I could be different.”