Niamh Moriarty wants to shine a light on the complex issues facing the disabled community and is an advocate for disability inclusion and on-screen diversity
Dubliner Niamh Moriarty is just 16 years old and already has an impressive number of stage and screen credits to her name. She previously played Tiny Tim in the Gate Theatre’s 2019 10-week run production of A Christmas Carol, scripted by Jack Thorne and directed by Selina Cartmell, and recently appeared in Toy Show The Musical, January 2023. Niamh voiced characters in Riverdance: The Animated Adventure (2021) on Netflix and played Ellis in the 2019 short film My Mother’s Shoes.
However, her latest role is undoubtedly the most high profile to date – that of Marnie in Jack Thorne’s four-part BBC drama Best Interests which centres around a family driven apart by having to make choices no parent would ever want to make.
In the nuanced legal drama, the young actor stars opposite TV royalty Sharon Horgan (Bad Sisters), Michael Sheen (The Queen) and Alison Oliver (Conversations with Friends).
The story follows Andrew (Sheen) and Nicci (Horgan) and their two daughters, Katie (Oliver) and Marnie, who has a life-threatening condition. The doctors believe it is in Marnie’s best interests to be allowed to die, arguing that she is in pain and the treatments are becoming too invasive – but the family disagrees. Her parents start a fight that will take them through every stage of the legal process as they struggle to contemplate this huge decision.
The series is one example of the complex issues that are faced by the disabled community and shining a light on such matters is something that Niamh holds close to her heart.
As well as being an incredibly talented young actor, training at Take2 Performing Arts School in Dublin since 2016, Niamh is passionate about advocating for on-screen diversity and disability inclusion. She was diagnosed with a form of cerebral palsy in her legs called Spastic Diplegia at the age of three and uses a wheelchair. Niamh’s goal is to encourage disabled actors who may feel they do not fit in the industry and hopes to change this narrative through her work.
Speaking about her upcoming role, Niamh said: “I was delighted to have the opportunity to work on this series with BAFTA Award-winning Jack Thorne, who is a brilliant advocate for diversity, and to share the screen with Michael Sheen and fellow Irish women Sharon Horgan and Alison Oliver. The production team on Best Interests made me feel right at home. My trailer was the only wheelchair accessible trailer in the UK at the time of filming! That really sparked something in me and made me determined to advocate for change. Thankfully a lot is changing now with the brilliant work of Jack Thorne, TripleC and the TV Access Project. It’s a change that I can’t wait to be a part of.”
Niamh’s next role will be as Daisy in Amazon’s young adult fantasy feature-length film Silver, based on the popular novel series of the same name by Kerstin Gier.
The first two episodes of Best Interests will air on Monday, 12 June and Tuesday, 13 June at 9 pm on BBC One. The third and fourth episodes will air the following week on the same days in the same time slot. Watch the trailer below: