Occupation: Unknown
Gender: Female
Family: Husband: Phillip

Son: Shaun

Born: 14 April 1946
Died: 23 March 2004
Status: Deceased
Appeared in: Shaun of the Dead
Portrayed by: Penelope Wilton

"It's been a funny sort of day, hasn't it?"
―Barbara's last words, to Shaun

Barbara is a main character in Shaun of the Dead and is the mother of the film’s central protagonist, Shaun.


She looks to be a woman in her 50s or 60s, and she lives in an upper-middle-class neighbourhood in London. She is married to Phillip, and they have been together for 17 years. Her first husband died, and she remarried when Shaun was 12. The tie between Shaun and his mother is very strong, and she lovingly refers to him as "pickle." Unfortunately, due to the tension between Shaun and Phillip, her son limits his visits to twice per month.


Barbara makes her first appearance via phone, calling Shaun after the zombie attacks become widespread. She tells her son that some men (zombies) tried to get into the house, and one of them bit Phillip. When Shaun asks her if they are still outside, she replies that they closed the curtains and cannot see them.

Shaun decides to go rescue his mother and kill Phillip (who they assume is infected). When Shaun arrives at her house, she’s very glad to see her son and immediately offers to make tea and sandwiches. While she gets started, Shaun moves to the living room to kill the bitten Phillip. Of course, he can’t bring himself to do it, so he urges his mother to come away with him. Barbara states that she will not leave without Phillip. She also mentions that she called a doctor about Phillip’s wounds and that they need to wait for him.

Shaun and his mother move into the kitchen, and Shaun continues to try and get her to leave Phillip. He tells her about Phillip once chasing him with a piece of wood, but Barbara seems unmoved. Next, Shaun fabricates a story about Phillip molesting him as a young boy. Barbara turns and gives Shaun a disappointed look, causing Shaun to quickly admit that it was a lie.

He is finally able to convince her to come with him, but they also have to take Phillip along. Outside the house, they are attacked by zombies and Phillip is once again bitten. Barbara provides him with some tissues. A short time later, Phillip dies from his injuries and comes back as a zombie. Barbara doesn’t want to leave him, but Shaun convinces her that there’s nothing left of the man she married.

As the group heads on foot towards the safety of the Winchester Tavern, Barbara seems quite preoccupied by the death of her husband. As they pass through a backyard, Barbara sees a zombie staring at her through a window. She freezes up and falls behind the group.

Hearing her screams moments later, Shaun charges to the rescue and saves her from the zombie. Afterwards, Barbara seems even more distant, but she still manages to put on a brave face when spoken to by other members of the group. The group finally manages to reach the Winchester. As they go inside, Barbara finds some flowers which Shaun had bought for her but tossed into the trash after he and Liz broke up. Barbara seems very attached to the flowers and keeps them close to her.

As the zombies attempt to get inside the pub, Liz moves Barbara away from the combat area. Barbara seems very happy to finally meet Liz and gives her a necklace which Shaun’s father had given to her. At this point, Liz notices that Barbara has been bitten. Barbara tells her that she doesn’t want to be a bother, and she hasn’t mentioned it because Shaun would worry. Minutes later, Barbara starts going into convulsions. Shaun rushes to her side and tries to comfort her. Barbara seems delirious at this point, and soon dies.

Moments later, she rises from the dead. Shaun points a rifle at her, unsure of what to do. When she bares her teeth and prepares to attack, a grief-stricken Shaun is forced to shoot her in the head, killing her.



  • When Ed shouts into the phone "We’re coming to get you, Barbara!" it is a reference to the classic line from "Night of the Living Dead".
  • Simon Pegg cried real tears after filming her death scene, as he imagined his actual mum during the process.