Isla was born in Bangalore, India and was sent to boarding school in Scotland before she was six years old. She survived, and at the age of 16 was accepted by RADA since when she has had a successful career as an actor. She is married to fellow Patron Julian Glover and lives in Barnes.

Isla has written her memoir A Tiger’s Eye, which as the title suggests, evokes her childhood in India. In the book she writes frankly about her dyslexia.

Theatre includes: Made in Dagenham at the Adelphi theatre, The Lyons (Menier Chocolate Factory), Steel Magnolias (UK tour), The Breath of Life (Sheffield Lyceum), Collaboration (Chichester and Duchess Theatre), The President’s Holiday (Hampstead Theatre), The History Boys (Wyndham’s Theatre), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum, Stuff Happens and What the Butler Saw (National Theatre), Mrs Warren’s Profession (Bristol Old Vic), Noises Off (Piccadilly), One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest (UK Tour) and Six Degrees of Separation (Sheffield Crucible), Othello, Jumpers, Vivat, Vivat Regina, Kiss me Kate, The Cherry Orchard, The Browning Version, Black Comedy. (Bristol Old Vic) Pirandello’s Henry IV (Wyndham’s), Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know (Ambassadors and Doolittle Theatre, Los Angeles), Twelfth Night, Miss Julie, The Rivals, King Lear (Old Vic) Private Lives, Hayfever, The Matchmaker, In praise of Love, Tartuffe (National Tours).

Television appearances include: Granchester (Lovely Day), Single Father (Red Productions), Law and Order (Kudos), Casualty (BBC), Quatermass (BBC), NewTricks (BBC), Midsomer Murders (Bentley), A Touch of Frost (Yorkshire TV), The House of Cards (BBC), The History Man (BBC), Mother Love (BBC), The Beggars Opera (BBC), The Advocates, Off Peak, Taggart (STV) and The Bounder (YTV).

Film work includes Johnny English Reborn, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade, Treasure Island, Afterlife, Mrs Caldicott’s Cabbage War, The Battle of Britain and Taste the Blood of Dracula.

Appearances include: Poetry recital at The Barnes Literary Society 10th Anniversary Dinner (April 2014) and a tea party discussion on her book A Tiger’s Eye, also for the BLS.