Gemma Whelan began her career as a stand-up comedian but found fame with dramatic roles in "The Moorside" (BBC One, 2017), "Gentleman Jack" (BBC One, 2019-) and, most notably, "Game of Thrones" (HBO, 2011-19), in which she played the fierce ironborn warrior Yara Greyjoy. Born in Leeds, England in 1981, Gemma Whelan trained as a dancer, opera singer and musical theatre performer but first caught attention on the stand-up comedy circuit in which she performed in the character of aristocrat Chastity Butterworth. She made her screen debut in short film "Frites" (2008) before playing Emily Blunt's maid in supernatural horror "The Wolfman" (2010), Lilliputian Rose in Jack Black vehicle "Gulliver's Travels" (2010) and ad executive Veronica in short-lived sitcom "The Persuasionists" (BBC Two, 2010). Whelan's big break came in 2012 when she was cast as the self-assured seafaring warrior Yara Greyjoy in the adaptation of George R. R. Martin's novels, "Game of Thrones" (HBO, 2011-19). During her 16-episode stint on the fantasy phenomenon, Whelan also played free spirit Irene Coles in period comedy "Mapp and Lucia" (BBC One, 2014), narrated the mockumentary "Almost Royal" (BBC America, 2014-16) and was cast as Veronica in family sitcom "Uncle" (BBC Three, 2014-17). After showing up as ill-fated housewife Len in broody comedy slasher "Prevenge" (2016), Whelan landed the recurring roles of aspiring actress Kate in Shakespearean spoof "Upstart Crow" (BBC Two, 2016), Natalie Cassidy's fictional sister Kat in the satirical "Morgana Robinson's The Agency" (BBC Two, 2016) and kitchen maid Ida Battersea in the adaptation of Jacqueline Wilson's children's novels, "Hetty Feather" (CBBC, 2015-). Whelan then portrayed real life figures Karen Matthews, the real-life mother who faked the disappearance of her own nine-year-old daughter, in gritty drama "The Moorside" (BBC One, 2017), and Patricia Campbell, a magazine assistant, in British monarchy drama "The Crown" (Netflix, 2016-). After playing DC Eunice Noon in the comic book miniseries "The End of the F***ing World" (Channel 4, 2017-), Whelan returned to more familiar comedic territory when she joined the cast of children's sketch show "Horrible Histories" (CBBC, 2015-), appeared as Diane in the adaptation of Evelyn Waugh's social satire "Decline and Fall" (BBC One, 2017) and took the leading role of Miranda in dysfunctional family film "Surviving Christmas with the Relatives" (2018). Whelan further showcased her dramatic skills when she was cast as diarist Anne Lister's sister Marian in period piece "Gentleman Jack" (BBC One, 2019-) and governess Mrs. Weston in Autumn de Wilde's take on Jane Austen classic "Emma" (2019).