One Day star Ambika Mod smiling at the camera plus inset kissing co-star Leo Woodall in One Day

One Day star Ambika Mod ‘accidentally’ fell into acting after Covid setbacks

Ambika has a special talent for breaking our hearts

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One Day star Ambika Mod is an award-winning performer, even though you might not know her name yet… So you’ll be surprised to learn that acting wasn’t even her first choice of career.

Despite her heartbreaking performance as Shruti in This Is Going to Hurt, and her new role in Netflix‘s adaptation of David Nicholls’ book One Day, Ambika only became an actor after Covid-19 thwarted her plans for another career.

Here’s everything you need to know about One Day actress Ambika Mod, what she’s been in before, and her original choice of career…

Ambika Mod as Emma Morley delivering a toast at her best friend's wedding in Netflix series One Day
Ambika Mod plays Emma Morley in Netflix drama One Day (Credit: Netflix)

Who plays Emma Morley in One Day?

Ambika Mod is a British actress from Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. She is best known for her role in This Is Going To Hurt.

She was named a BAFTA Breakthrough talent in 2022. In 2023, she won Best Actress from the Broadcasting Press Guild Awards and Best Supporting Actor at the RTS Awards. Quite rightly.

Ambika Mod portrays the lead role of Emma Morley in the new Netflix adaptation of One Day.

She recently appeared on The Graham Norton Show, talking about the role. She said: “I turned it down to begin with. I was being an idiot thinking it wasn’t for me. A month later I rang my agent to say I had made a terrible mistake.”

How old is Ambika Mod? Where is she from?

Although her birth date is unknown, Ambika Mod is reportedly 28 years old at the time of writing.

Ambika grew up in Potters Bar, Hertfordshire. She attended Dame Alice Owen’s School, before studying at St Mary’s College in Durham from 2014 to 2017. Like her One Day character Emma, she studied English at university.

She initially hoped for a career in stand-up comedy, after performing at both Durham and the Edinburgh Fringe Festival.

However, Covid hit and she retrained as an actor. Speaking to BAFTA, she said: “When Covid hit and my live comedy went away, I began to figure out what it was I wanted to do. I started doing acting classes, because I thought if I’m not working I might as well try to get better at that.”

After re-training, she won a role in the excellent drama This Is Going to Hurt, and “everything seems to have blown up in a really amazing way”.

In 2024, she told The Guardian: “I still don’t think of myself as an actor. I sort of fell into it accidentally.”

Talking to Graham Norton on his Friday night chat show, Ambika revealed she had not been in a good place mentally in 2019 after her last comedy gig at the Edinburgh Fringe: “I felt a bit lost and quite depressed and thought I wasn’t getting anywhere.

“On the last day of the Fringe, we climbed Arthur’s Seat and I remember it as a terrible time. I was not loving myself or my life. Then cut to almost exactly three years later and I am filming in Edinburgh at Arthur’s Seat playing the lead in a Netflix series of my favourite book. It felt very special. A full circle moment.”

Ambika Mod and Ben Whishaw having a conversation in character as Shruti and Adam in This is Going to Hurt
Before One Day, Ambika Mod played the over-worked Shruti in This Is Going to Hurt (Credit: BBC)

Is Ambika Mod from Yorkshire?

Actress Ambika Mod she perfected her Yorkshire accent watching the pupils of Educating Yorkshire.

She admitted binge-watching the Channel 4 documentary in order to get the part of Emma in the new TV adaptation of David Nicholl’s beloved novel.

And she thanked the children and teachers of the award-winning fly-on-the-wall show filmed in a Yorkshire secondary school for helping her nail her Yorkshire accent.

Of course, those of you who have watched the film will know that Anne Hathaway’s accent was destroyed by critics and cinema viewers alike.

Who did she play in This Is Going to Hurt?

Ambika portrayed tragic Shruti Acharya in BBC One drama This Is Going to Hurt in 2022. While the show was based on the memoirs of doctor-turned-writer Adam Kay, Shruti was a fictional character.

Ben Whishaw played obstetrics and gynaecology registrar Adam, while Shruti was a SHO (very junior doctor) working under his tutorage.

Over the course of the series, Shruti underwent a transformation from overwhelmed youngster to incredibly competent doctor. However, she also struggled to find a work/life balance and tragically ended her own life in devastating scenes.

Ambika Mod and Leo Woodall in character as One Day's Emma and Dexter, laughing together on the floor
Emma and Dexter’s romance is one-of-a-kind, but is Ambika seeing anyone in real life? (Credit: Netflix)

What TV shows and movies has she been in?

Ambika’s first TV credits come from her comedy days. In 2019, she starred as Sarah (Average Young Person) in an episode of The Mash Report. The series was then broadcast on BBC Two, and featured Nish Kumar as host.

She also played the role of Samantha in an episode of Channel 4‘s satirical sketch series The B@IT (2019).

Since moving into acting, Ambika has starred in AppleTV+ drama Trying (2021) and season two of Billie Piper drama I Hate Suzie (2022).

She also appeared in the pilot of BBC Two sitcom Martin Fishback (2022), which also starred Fergus Craig and Samantha Spiro.

However, it was 2022’s This Is Going to Hurt where Ambika got her big break as a leading role. From there, she’s bagged the role of Emma Morley in the eagerly-awaited Netflix adaptation of the David Nicholls classic novel One Day.

Ambika will also star in the upcoming Disney+ psychological thriller Playdate. The series was announced in June 2023, and will be on our screens soon. Holliday Grainger and Denise Gough will also star.

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A post shared by Ambika Mod (@ambikamod)

Does she have a partner? Is she dating co-star Leo Woodall?

Ambika Mod has not publicly confirmed if she is dating anyone, although she does post plenty of pictures of friends on her Instagram account.

She is not dating her One Day co-star Leo Woodall, who has confirmed a romance with White Lotus co-star Meghann Fahy.

Does One Day star Ambika Mod have Instagram?

Yes, Ambika Mod has a verified Instagram account. Her handle is @ambikamod.

While she mostly posts promotional pictures for her acting roles, Ambika has also shared personal photos and behind-the-scenes images. Most importantly, she has shared photos of her beloved dog!

Read more: Netflix adaptation One Day is just around the corner: Start date, cast, and number of episodes

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One Day will stream on Netflix from Thursday, February 08, 2024.

Are you a fan of Ambika Mod in One Day? Leave us a comment on our Facebook page @EntertainmentDailyFix and let us know what you think.

Susan Brett
TV Writer