Posted: 30/10/2012 at 15:23
What about Skimmia 'Kew Green' - evergreen, glossy green leaves, pale scented flowers in late winter and bright red berries (there are lots of other varieties but this one is very nice).
Mahonias are happy in full shade - but you will need to check the variety as some grow huge. The leaves are quite architectural and evergreen and they have bright yellow scented flowers in winter.
Garrya Elliptica is an attractive wall shrub - not colourful but male plants has lovely long catkins which start off pale green and turn silver lasting for ages.
Or this wiegelia - link below is ok in full shade.
Colourful is more difficult but Japanese Anemones grow happily in shade and they come in white, bright and pale pink.
Virginia Creeper or Boston Ivy are both climbers that grow in shade and have good autumn colour
Other plants that are happy in shade are hostas, bergenia cordifolia (can be very bright pink flowers), lilly of the valley, liriope muscari (bright blue flowers)
We had a shady woodland garden and the back of our house faced north and it does feel daunting at first as you hear so much negative about having deep shade.
But quite a lot of plants will survive but they may flower less than in a sunny spot - I learnt the hard way not to be tempted by anything that says full sun.