Actress of the Day: ANNA FRIEL
Next in: Land of the Lost
Her Character: Holly Cantrell is a crack-smart research assistant of Dr. Rick Marshall played by Will Ferrell.
The Buzz: Short from her memorable stint on Pushing Daisies, Anna will be part of the new movie “Land of The Lost“. It is refreshing to see her in a comedy again. She is a talented actress that has the ability to be the character, so to speak. We totally forget that all her other roles when we see play. Quite a star!
Anna Louise Friel was born on 12 July 1976 in Rochdale, Lancashire.
While at school she envisaged a career as a barrister and, after passing 9 GCSEs, went on to study for her ‘A’ levels at a local college. In the event they were never taken. Anna got involved with the Oldham Theatre Workshop and was bitten by the acting bug, landing several minor TV appearances in soaps (Emmerdale and Coronation Street) and a small part as one of Michael Palin’s daughters in the acclaimed Alan Bleasdale serial GBH on Channel 4.
By the time Anna followed this with the rôle of Beth Jordache in the channel’s soap Brookside, any thoughts of the Bar had been put to one side. She became hugely popular. Beth’s strength of character was admired by mums and their teenage daughters, and Anna’s fresh beauty stirred lustful letching in dads and their sons. Ratings grew steadily as the storyline developed to reveal that Beth and her sister had been sexually abused by their father, who got his comeuppance when Beth and her mother killed him and buried the body under the patio. All good soap opera stuff, if that’s what blows your frock up.
True notoriety came however when it was revealed that Beth was gay The impact was quite amazing, partly because she looked about as far as you can get from the stereotypical lesbian image of the time of crew cut, dungarees and Doc Martens. The gay community lapped it up(!), and by the time the ground-breaking first prime-time lesbian TV kiss was aired Beth Jordache had become a national lesbian icon.
Although it was Anna’s decision to leave the show at the height of her character’s popularity, the haste of her departure and the way that she was written out (a previously undiagnosed heart condition striking her down while on remand for her father’s killing) left something of a sour taste in the mouth. The soap’s ratings have never before or since risen to the level that they achieved during Anna’s stint as Beth, and the soap was ultimately axed by Channel 4 in 2003.
Frankly, since leaving the show most of her work has been in relatively low-budget movies that have achieved little critical or commercial success, in stark contrast to the universal acclaim she received on her Broadway début. She has however been working non-stop, starring alongside an impressive list of contemporary acting talent, and she is always inundated with theatre, film and TV offers.
Anna lived in London until recently, though work commitments meant that she was rarely home. She bought a place in Windsor in summer 2000, where she now lives with her partner, actor David Thewlis. The couple’s first child, Gracie Ellen Mary Friel, was born at Great Portland Street Hospital London on 9th July 2005, a few days before Anna’s 29th birthday.
Read all our Land of the Lost coverage here.