Sheridan Smith on No Return, singing, and love for dogs

Find out more about actress Sheridan Smith from her latest role in ITV's No Return, her love of animals and how her baby son Billy has inspired her.

Sheridan Smith

by Christine Smith |

She’s one of the country’s most versatile and talented actresses, turning her hand to musicals, TV and comedy. But how much do you know about the popular actress?

Sheridan Smith in No Return

Sheridan Smith in No Return
©ITV

Sheridan's most recent role is playing mum Kathy Powell in the fictional, extremely tense and emotional ITV four-parter No Return, in which her 16-year-old son Noah is accused of sexual assault against another boy while the family are holidaying in Turkey.

“You can act being a mum but there’s something very different when you are a parent yourself with a child of your own. All I kept thinking of was Billy. I didn’t have to act too much in the crying scenes because you just imagine this mother going through this hell and are thinking ‘if it was my little boy’.

People had said you can’t fully understand the protectiveness you feel when you have a child and they’re right. Billy’s not even two yet but I feel it.

Playing Kathy in “No Return” felt like the right role to play after having a child and being a mum and really understanding the lioness of a mother that I know I would be. Kathy certainly is. Every mother – and parent – would do anything and everything they could to save their child.”

Sheridan Smith No Return
©ITV

It was a role Sheridan says she was desperate to play as soon as she’d read the script.

“I read all four episodes back-to-back without pausing. I was gripped – I had to know what happened. It gave me that jelly belly feeling of ‘What would you do in that situation?’ Kathy and her husband Martin are just ordinary people in an extraordinary situation and I’ve never been to a read-through like the one for this. It was so powerful. I mean, I cried all the way through. Kathy is an amazing lead role. She’s fiercely loyal and fiercely protective and someone I could relate to. I’ve not had such an intense role ever.”

She even met a familiar face on set, as she's known actor Michael Jibson, who plays her husband Martin in No Return, since she was 16. “We were in Bugsy Malone together in the West End when we were both in the National Youth Music Theatre. It was an interesting experience being married to him!” she says.

Sheridan Smith's relationship with Jamie Horn

In 2021 the 40-year-old actress found herself heartbroken after she and her fiancé Jamie Horn split after three years together.

The couple first met back in 2018 on the dating app Tinder, before Jamie reportedly proposed to her after one month with an engagement ring costing over £10,000!

While the pair are co-parenting their young son Billy together, it's no secret that Sherdian found the break-up tough and made it clear she was keen to find love again.

That's why we were so pleased to hear that she's dating again and the man in question happens to be her ex-boyfriend from 20 years ago!

She shared the sweet news on her Instagram page, writing alongside a cute video of the pair: 'So pleased this fitty I dated back in the day (20 years ago) is back in my life! Life works in mysterious ways 🥰🤴🏾 miss u Mr L ❤️'

Sheridan Smith singing

It's no secret that Sheridan Smith has an incredible singing voice. Not only has she showcased this in a number of TV series, but she's also a regular on the West End, starring in roles including Legally Blonde, and most recently as the narrator in Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber's Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

Perhaps our favourite role however was when she played Cilla Black in the ITV drama series, Cilla. Here she is singing the famous, Anyone Who Had A Heart.

Sheridan Smith's love of dogs

You rarely see Sheridan turning her talents to TV presenting, until she presented the entertainment series, Pooch Perfect.

Sheridan says it’s her son Billy who gave her the confidence to try something new – and she loved every minute hosting BBC’s entertainment series, Pooch Perfect.

The show sees ten professional dog groomers battle it out in a series of themed challenges to compete to be crowned the UK’s top dog stylist.

And for Sheridan, she couldn’t have dreamt of a better programme to be part of if she tried.

“I am the crazy dog lady,” she enthuses. “I’ve got six dogs, four donkeys and a baby, so this job was perfect! I actually had to promise my mum, though, that I wouldn’t bring any more livestock home!

“It is my first TV presenting job and I was nervous beforehand. Everyone was so welcoming and it was a lot of fun to make but I wouldn’t have had the nerve to do it if I didn’t have Billy. I really do hope the show will bring some light relief at this horrible time – 2020 was such a strange year.”

Each week, the ten contestants face a variety of challenges with different dog breeds and they will be judged by grooming experts Colin Taylor and Verity Hardcastle. Like in Bake Off and Strictly Come Dancing, one of the contestants will be eliminated each week.

“I found that bit emotional,” admits Sheridan. “I loved all the people taking part.

“But what this programme does show is how important dog groomers are. What really made me laugh in lockdown is all the videos people made of them trying to groom their own dogs! I was in awe watching the groomers compete and I’ve picked up lots of tips.”

I’ve got six dogs, four donkeys and a baby

Part of the appeal of Pooch Perfect was also the fact she could bring Billy, who was born during lockdown, along to the set.

“Billy was in the green room next door so I could pop in and see him,” she explains. “He loved it – dogs are so much part of our family.”

Reflecting on her love affair with one of the nation’s favourite pets, Sheridan reveals she has been crazy about dogs ever since she was a child growing up in Lincolnshire. Her big dream, she admits, was to be surrounded by dogs and animals.

And so the fact she can now do that with Billy is the icing on the cake.

“Ever since I was a child, I’ve loved dogs but we couldn’t afford one,” she confides. “Everyone knew I was dog mad, so when I bought my own place the first thing I did was to get a Pug called Barry Manilow!

“I’ve had lots of dogs since and I currently have two great Danes, Trevor and Dave, two Boston Terriers, Ronnie and Reggie, and two Chihuahuas, Bernard and Dumbo. They are all best mates and they are all amazing!

“The fact I can do what I always dreamed of with Billy now is lovely.”

“It’s that unconditional love and they always sense everything. Even when I was pregnant, one of my dogs, Reggie, became super protective!”

Relaxed and happy, Sheridan admits she feels very fortunate to be back working when so many of her colleagues are still unable to return to work. “I’m so grateful,” she confides. “We were one of the first TV shows to film with Covid regulations and everything was in place to make sure we were two metres apart. They did an amazing job to make it so slick, but it was awful not being able to hug as I am normally such a hugger!”

A career that has spanned more than 20 years

Grateful to have so many projects lined up for 2021 as well, Sheridan says she has never taken anything for granted over a career that has spanned more than 20 years.

Landing her big TV break in the Royle Family in 1999 and going on to star in Two Pints of Lager and A Packet of Crisps, Gavin and Stacey, Benidorm, and ITV’s gritty docu-dramas The Widower and The Moorside, Sheridan has won many plaudits over the years for playing phenomenal women such as the iconic Cilla Black.

In 2015, she was awarded an OBE for services to drama – an honour she is still proud of today. She and her now ex-fiance Jamie recently enjoyed the most incredible and special first Christmas with Billy.

It was also very poignant, Sheridan reveals, because it was the first time she didn’t feel sad following the death of her beloved dad, Colin, in early December 2016, “Christmas has been fine but it hasn’t felt right before,” she explains. “Now with Billy, it’s been so magical and I was so excited in the run up. And now I have got years and years more with him to come! I am looking forward to doing with him all the little rituals we used to do when I was a child.”

Returning back to her pet love of dogs, Sheridan adds: “Pooch Perfect has been such a joyous job. And I know how much people have loved having dogs during lockdown. They are great companionship when you are on your own.”

Popular articles to read next

Gavin and Stacey star to front Census 2021 community heroes campaign

Larry Lamb: "I’d never even dreamt of being an actor"

Paul O'Grady: his husband, TV shows and books

Beverley Callard on her husband, career and her new comedy series

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us