Julia Sawalha

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Julia Sawalha
Born(1968-09-09) 9 September 1968 (age 46)
London, England
EthnicityAnglo-Jordanian
OccupationActress
Years active1981–present
TelevisionPress Gang
Second Thoughts
Jonathan Creek
Martin Chuzzlewit
Pride and Prejudice
Ain't Misbehavin'
Faith in the Future
Absolutely Fabulous
Lark Rise to Candleford
ParentsNadim Sawalha
Roberta Lane
RelativesNadia Sawalha (sister)
Dina Sawalha (sister)
Baha Sawalha (cousin)
Lara Sawalha (cousin)
 
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Julia Sawalha
Born(1968-09-09) 9 September 1968 (age 46)
London, England
EthnicityAnglo-Jordanian
OccupationActress
Years active1981–present
TelevisionPress Gang
Second Thoughts
Jonathan Creek
Martin Chuzzlewit
Pride and Prejudice
Ain't Misbehavin'
Faith in the Future
Absolutely Fabulous
Lark Rise to Candleford
ParentsNadim Sawalha
Roberta Lane
RelativesNadia Sawalha (sister)
Dina Sawalha (sister)
Baha Sawalha (cousin)
Lara Sawalha (cousin)

Julia Sawalha (born 9 September 1968) is an English actress known mainly for her role as Saffron Monsoon in Absolutely Fabulous. She is also known for portraying Lynda Day, editor of the Junior Gazette, in Press Gang and Lydia Bennet in the 1995 television miniseries of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Additionally, she played Dorcas Lane in the BBC's costume drama Lark Rise to Candleford and Carla Borrego in Jonathan Creek.

Early life[edit]

Sawalha was born in London, the daughter of Roberta Lane and actor Nadim Sawalha. She was named after her grandmother, a Jordanian businesswoman who had received an award from Queen Noor for enterprise. She is of Jordanian, English, and French Huguenot ancestry.[1] She was born into an acting family: her father Nadim is an actor who appeared in the James Bond movies The Spy Who Loved Me and The Living Daylights, while her sister Nadia starred in the soap EastEnders and is now a television presenter and chat show host.

Career[edit]

Sawalha made her debut in the 1982 BBC miniseries Fame is the Spur[2] and in 1988, played a small role in Inspector Morse on the episode "Last Seen Wearing". She first gained attention for her starring role in the Bafta award-winning ITV teenage comedy/drama Press Gang, which ran from 1989 to 1993. From 1991–94, she starred in the ITV family comedy Second Thoughts and continued with her character, Hannah (Lynda Bellingham's daughter), in the British Comedy Award-winning Faith in the Future (1995–98). In 1994, she played Mercy (Merry) Pecksniff in the BBC production of Martin Chuzzlewit.

From 1992 to 2012, Sawalha played strait-laced daughter Saffron Monsoon in the BBC sitcom Absolutely Fabulous alongside Jennifer Saunders and Joanna Lumley. She starred in the 1995 BBC adaptation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice as Lydia Bennet, co-starring opposite Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. She also voiced Ginger in DreamWorks/Aardman's Chicken Run. In addition, on Christmas Eve, in The Flint Street Nativity, she played Dawn "the wise man".

In 2000, she appeared as Janet, the Australian barmaid ("Built for bar work; it's instinct... instinct!!") in the first series of the British sitcom Time Gentlemen Please. She also played the much put-upon PA to "Zak" in Argos TV adverts during 2002–2004, along with Richard E. Grant.[citation needed] She has also joined actor Ioan Gruffudd in the internationally successful TV/DVD adaptations of CS Forester's Horatio Hornblower novels, as the captain's wife Maria.[citation needed] The following year, she became Alan Davies's co-star in Jonathan Creek after Caroline Quentin left, appearing in a Christmas Special ("Satan's Chimney"). She returned for a series between 2003–2004.

In 2006, she participated in the third series of the genealogy documentary series Who Do You Think You Are?[3] tracing her family's roots, which are Jordanian Bedouin on her father's side, and French Huguenot on her mother's. She also appeared in the pilot of BBC 1's A Taste of my Life presented by Nigel Slater.[4] After a two-year break, she was back on screen in May 2007, competing in the BBC dog training celebrity reality show The Underdog Show.[5] She then returned to acting in two successive BBC costume dramas; as Jessie Brown in 2007 series Cranford, followed by Lark Rise to Candleford in 2008. She provided the voice acting for Sister Hannah (a.k.a. "Hammer"), a main character in the Xbox 360 video game Fable II.[when?][citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

Sawalha lived with Press Gang co-star Dexter Fletcher, and subsequently comedian Richard Herring. She also had a relationship with Patrick Marber. She reportedly had an affair with actor Keith Allen.[6]

On 1 January 2004, it was alleged in the tabloid newspapers that she had married boyfriend Alan Davies, her co-star in the television series Jonathan Creek. Both she and Davies, who avoided discussing their private lives in public, denied this, and took legal action against the reports.[7]

After she met Rich Annetts at the Glastonbury Festival in 2005, the couple moved to Bath, Somerset, and lived in a flat close to the Royal Crescent. Sawalha started growing her own vegetables, attending yoga lessons and studying for an Open University English degree.[5][8] Sawalha and Annetts have since split up.[9]

Filmography[edit]

Greenshaw's Folly TV Miss Marple

YearFilmRoleNotes
1981Keep It in the FamilyWalk-On Roleuncredited
1982The Pirates of PenzanceDaughteruncredited
Fame Is the SpurAmyTV series (1 episode: "Episode 1.2")
Educating MarmaladeGood GirlTV series (4 episodes)
1988Inspector MorseRachelTV series (1 episode: "Last Seen Wearing")
1989Press GangLynda Day/Young Katherine HillTV series (43 episodes: 1989–1993)
RTS Television AwardBest Actor
1990SpatzChloe FairbanksTV series (1 episode: "The Sound of Muzak")
1991El C.I.D.TrudyTV series (1 episode: "Thursday's Child")
Buddy's SongKelly
CasualtyNikki WatsonTV series (1 episode: "Living In Hope")
Second ThoughtsHannah GrayshotTV series (47 episodes: 1991–1994)
1992BottomVeronica HeadTV series (1 episode: "Parade")
Absolutely FabulousSaffron MonsoonTV series (40 episodes: 1992–2012)
1994LovejoyJoanna WhymarkTV series (1 episode: "Double-Edged Sword")
KeeperAlisontv short
Martin ChuzzlewitMercy PecksniffTV series (6 episodes)
1995In The Bleak MidwinterNina Raymond (Ophelia)
Pride and PrejudiceLydia BennetTV mini-series (6 episodes)
Faith in the FutureHannah GrayshotTV series (22 episodes: 1995–1998)
1996French and SaundersTV series (1 episode: "Baywatch")
Tales from the CryptTeresaTV series (1 episode: "The Kidnapper")
The Wind in the WillowsThe Jailer's Daughter
1997McLibel!Helen SteelTV mini-series (1 episode: "Episode 1.1")
Ain't Misbehavin'Dolly NightingaleTV mini-series (3 episodes)
1998Absolutely Fabulous: Absolutely Not!Saffron Monsoonvideo
1999Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal DeathEmmaCharity spoof TV movie by Comic Relief
The Flint Street NativityWise ManTV movie
The Nearly Complete and Utter History of EverythingCatherine ParrTV movie
2000Chicken RunGingervoice
MirrorballFreda Krelltv short
Time Gentleman PleaseJanet WilsonTV series (21 episodes: 2000–2001)
2001Venus and MarsMarie
Jonathan CreekCarla BorregoTV series (7 episodes: 2002–2004)
2002The Final CurtainKaren Willet
2003Hornblower: LoyaltyMaria MasonTV movie
Hornblower: DutyMaria Mason/HornblowerTV movie
2007CranfordJessie BrownTV series (5 episodes)
2008Lark Rise to CandlefordDorcas LaneTV series (40 episodes: 2008–2011)
2014Remember MeJan WardTV series

Appearances[edit]

YearAppearanceNotes
1992The WordTV series (1 episode: "Episode 3.2")
1993Parallel 9TV series (1 episode: "Episode 2.5")
1997An Audience with the Spice GirlsTV special
1998Light LunchTV series (1 episode: "The Future's Bright, the Future's Funny")
1999Late LunchTV series (1 episode: "#2.14")
2000The Hatching of 'Chicken Run'TV special
Loose WomenTV series (1 episode: "#2.13")
Bob MartinTV series (1 episode: "Through the Keyhole")
MasterchefTV series (1 episode: "#10.14")
Poultry in Motion: The Making of Chicken RunTV special
HBO First LookTV series (1 episode: "The Hatching of Chicken Run")
Stars in Their EyesTV series (1 episode: "Cerys Matthews")
2004The Story of Absolutely FabulousTV special
Hell's KitchenTV series (1 episode: "#1.4")
2006A Taste of My LifeTV special
Who Do You Think You Are?TV series (1 episode: "Julia Sawalha")
2007The Underdog ShowTV series (unknown episodes)
The Graham Norton ShowTV series (1 episode: "#1.7")
2009The Alan Titchmarsh ShowTV series (1 episode: "9 March 2009")

Voice[edit]

YearTitleRoleNotes
1999 - 2000Kipper the DogMouseAnimated TV series (4 episodes: 1999 - 2000)
2000SheeepGeorginaAnimated TV series (26 episodes: 2000)
2004Comedy ConnectionsNarratorTV series (14 episodes: 2003–2004)
2008Fable IIHannah/HammerGame for Xbox 360

References[edit]

External links[edit]