Cherie Lunghi
Cherie Mary Lunghi[1]

(1952-04-04) 4 April 1952 (age 71)
Nottingham, England
Alma materRoyal Central School of Speech and Drama
Occupation(s)Actress and voice over artist
Years active1975–present
Ralph Lawson
(m. 1975; div. 1976)
ChildrenNathalie Lunghi

Cherie Mary Lunghi (born 4 April 1952) is an English film, television, theatre actress and voice over artist. She is known for her roles in many British dramas. Her international fame stems from her role as Guinevere in the 1981 film Excalibur. Her long list of screen, stage, and TV credits include football manager Gabriella Benson in the 1990s television series The Manageress and a series of advertisements for Kenco coffee. She also competed in the 2008 series of Strictly Come Dancing.[2] She is the mother of the actress Nathalie Lunghi.

Early life

Lunghi was born in Nottingham.[3] Her father, Alessandro Lunghi, was Italian.[4]

She was raised by her mother, aunt and grandmother, seeing her father only occasionally. Lunghi has described herself as feeling "different" as she did not have a mother and father like other children.[5]: 89, 90  Lunghi attended Richmond Grammar School in North Yorkshire but has said that she was not academic and far more interested in make believe.[5]: 90 


Educated at London's Arts Educational School,[6] Lunghi played Hedvig in The Wild Duck [7] and Alice in Alice in Wonderland [8] on BBC radio while still at school. After graduating from Homerton College, Cambridge[failed verification] and London's Central School of Speech and Drama, she joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in the late 1970s, taking leading roles such as Perdita, Celia, and Viola.[6] She had a starring role in the 1979 British short film Diversion (the prototype for the 1987 U.S. film Fatal Attraction). In 1981 she landed the role of Guinevere in the film Excalibur.[6]

She starred in the 1982 television serial Praying Mantis, based on the book (Les Mantes Religieuses) by Hubert Monteilhet. The thriller co-starred Pinkas Braun, Carmen du Sautoy, and Jonathan Pryce. In 1985 Lunghi played Michal in King David alongside Edward Woodward and Richard Gere. She also appeared alongside Robert De Niro in The Mission. Lunghi told author Paul Stenning, "It was wonderful working with him, it was extraordinary actually. He transforms right in front of you. You are aware when watching him on screen that he has transformed – he is not Robert De Niro – he is somebody else. I don't think you can learn how to do that; it's just the power of your imagination."[5]: 94 and 95 

In the mid-1980s, she relocated to Los Angeles for eight years, but returned to England to care for her mother. After the birth of her daughter she took various short-term parts, including playing the band members' mutual love interest in the music video for Level 42's song "Something About You". Lunghi has described how she had been working during pregnancy and was working again three months after giving birth, saying, "it was working mother guilt. I was juggling and balancing, trying to be fair to my career and to my child. Nathalie would come everywhere with me."[5]: 95 

Lunghi took on the lead role in football drama The Manageress (1989–90), and participated in the BBC adaptation of Edith Wharton's posthumously published novel, The Buccaneers (1995), as Laura Testvalley. In addition to film and television work, she appeared in a long-running advertising campaign on British television for Kenco coffee from the late 1990s onwards.

In 2006, Lunghi appeared on television in Casualty 1906, playing Matron Eva Luckes, and had a recurring guest role in the regular Casualty series as Professor Camille Windsor. In 2013, she narrated some episodes of the BBC genealogy series Who Do You Think You Are?.[9]

Strictly Come Dancing

In 2008, she competed in the sixth series of BBC television's Strictly Come Dancing (14-week run), partnered by James Jordan.[10] After her first dance, the Foxtrot on the Ladies Night in week two, she scored the highest points of the first two weeks (33). She beat this score with another series-best score of 35/40 for the rumba to finish week four atop the remaining 12 contestants with an average score of 34/40. The score for her third dance, the American Smooth, was an impressive 34 to maintain her average, though she slipped to 31/40 for the Paso Doble, and further to 26/40 on her fifth outing, in the Salsa. She returned to form the following week with a Waltz, scoring 36/40, and was joint first on the leaderboard.

She was voted off the competition on 16 November 2008 (week nine), losing by three votes to one in the dance-off against model Lisa Snowdon after performing a Cha-Cha-Cha.[11] In the January/February 2009 Strictly Tour, she danced an American Smooth and a rumba with James Jordan.

Personal life

Lunghi was briefly married to South African student Ralph Lawson after the pair met while studying at London's Central School of Speech and Drama.[4] The 1975 marriage was one of convenience so that Lawson could remain in the UK. The couple never lived together as husband and wife, instead staying in separate homes in Newcastle. Lawson moved back to South Africa two years later to take a new job.[12] She has a daughter, Nathalie Lunghi (b. 1986), with the director Roland Joffé.


Year Title Role
1980 Diversion Erica
1981 Excalibur Guinevere
1985 King David Michal
Parker Jenny Parker
1986 The Mission Carlotta
Letters to an Unknown Lover Helene
1987 Coast to Coast Susan
1988 Intrigue Adriana
To Kill a Priest Halina
1990 Ransom Claire Stein
1993 Silent Cries Audrey
1994 Mary Shelley's Frankenstein Baroness Frankenstein (Victor's Mother)
1995 Jack and Sarah Anna
1997 An Alan Smithee Film: Burn Hollywood Burn Myrna Smithee
2001 Back to the Secret Garden Lady Mary Craven
2004 Viper in the Fist Miss Chilton
2011 Love's Kitchen Margaret
2018 Patrick Rosemary


Year Title Role Notes
1964 The Valiant Varneys Episode: "The Incredible Adventures of James Rupert Varney" [13]
1967 A Pretty Row of Pretty Ribbons The young girl [14]
1968 Sherlock Holmes Emily Episode: "The Second Stain"
1969 Dr. Finlay's Casebook Kirstie (Antonio) Episode: "The Visitation[15]
1973 The Brontës of Haworth Student Episode: "Home and Abroad" [16]
1976 Peter and the Princess Princess [17]
1976 Bill Brand Alex Ferguson
1978 Edward and Mrs. Simpson Lady Thelma Furness
The Comedy of Errors Ephesus Townsperson
1978 Play of the Month Anna Danby Episode: "Kean[18]
1979 Prince Regent Princess Charlotte Episode: "Milk and Honey[19]
1980 Festival: The Misanthrope Celimene [20]
1980 Armchair Thriller Stephanie Episode: "Dead Man's Kit"
1980 'Tis Pity She's a Whore Annabella [21]
1981 Tales of the Unexpected Karen Masterson Episode: "Death in the Morning"[22]
The Manhood of Edward Robinson (The Agatha Christie Hour - TV series) Lady Noreen Elliot
1981 If Winter Comes Csöppi/Ilóna [23]
1982 Playhouse Emily Episode: "Preview" [24]
1982 Oliver Twist Nancy
Praying Mantis Beatrice Manceau
1982 Jackanory Storyteller Episodes: "Puss in Boots",[25] "Jack and the Beanstalk[26] and "Cinderella[27]
1983 Play of the Month Celimene Episode: "The Misanthrope[28]
1983 The Sign of Four Mary Morstan
1984 Play for Today Sue Episode: "Desert of Lies[29]
1984 Strangers and Brothers Margaret Davidson/Eliot
Master of the Game Margaret Van der Merwe
Ellis Island Una Marbury
Much Ado About Nothing Beatrice
Bones Jenny Parker
1985 Vicious Circle Estelle [30]
"Something About You" by Level 42 Love interest Music video
1985 The Daughter-in-Law Minnie [31]
1986 Harem Usta
The Monocled Mutineer Dorothy
1987 Screen Two Susan Episode: "Coast to Coast[32]
1987 Coast to Coast Susan
The Lady's Not for Burning Jennet Jourdemayne
1988 The Man Who Lived at the Ritz Lili
1989 The Manageress Gabriella Benson
1990 The Ruth Rendell Mysteries Natalie Arno Episode: "Put on by Cunning"
1991 The Strauss Dynasty Jetti
1992 Covington Cross / Charing Cross Lady Elizabeth
1993 A Question of Guilt Helen West [33]
1995 The Buccaneers Laura Testvalley
1996 Strangers Joan Episode 1 of Canadian TV series
The Canterville Ghost Lucille Otis
Moloney Dr. Sarah Bateman
1998 Little White Lies Julia
1999 Hornblower Duchess of Wharfedale/Kitty Cobham Episode: "The Duchess and the Devil"
David Copperfield Mrs Steerforth
2000 A Likeness in Stone Merie Kirschman
2001 EastEnders Jan Sherwood
2002 The Inspector Lynley Mysteries Sarah Gordon Episode: "For the Sake of Elena"
Waking The Dead Leah Gold Episode: "Thin Air"
The Seasons Alter Titania
2003 Cutting It Zinnia Raggitt
Midsomer Murders Lillian Webster Episode: "The Green Man"
New Tricks Diane Loveless Episode: "Good Work Rewarded"
2004 The Brief Cleo Steyn
2005 Agatha Christie's Marple Sadie Swettenham Episode: "A Murder is Announced"
2006 Dalziel & Pascoe Kay Miclean Episode: "Houdini's Ghost"
Casualty 1906 Matron Eva Luckes
2007 Hotel Babylon Mrs. Poldark
2007–2011 Secret Diary of a Call Girl Stephanie Series regular
2007–2008 Casualty Camille Windsor Episodes: "Inheritance", "This Mess We're In – Part One" and "This Mess We're In – Part Two"
2008 Casualty 1907 Matron Eva Luckes
A Touch of Frost Detective Sergeant Annie Marsh Episode: "Dead End"
Apparitions Woman Episode 6
Strictly Come Dancing Herself
2009 Casualty 1909 Matron Eva Luckes
2011 Lewis Grace Orde Episode: "The Gift of Promise"
2013 Who Do You Think You Are? Narrator
Pat & Cabbage Cabbage (Jean)
Death in Paradise Jayne Smythe Episode: "Death in the Clinic
2014 Holby City Kathy David Episode: "Self Control"
2014 Wizards vs Aliens Eva Starling Episode: "The Quantum Effect"
2016 Midsomer Murders Alexandra Monkford Episode: "A Dying Art"
2022 Strike Gloria Conti Episode: "Troubled Blood"


Date Title Role Director Station
12 Mar 1965 The Raft of the Medusa [34] Second girl Archie Campbell Network Three
21 Apr 1965 The Long Childhood [35] Marilyn Hugh Stewart BBC Home Service Afternoon Theatre
1 Jul 1965 A Day Like Sunday [36] Alison Charles Lefeaux Network Three
27 Sep 1965 The Wild Duck [7] Hedvig Charles Lefeaux BBC Home Service
26 Jan 1966 Quiet Wedding [37] Miranda Bute David H. Godfrey Light Programme Midweek Theatre
28 Feb 1966 The Turn of the Screw [38] Flora John Tydeman BBC Home Service
13 Apr 1966 The Monument [39] Fanny's children Douglas Cleverdon Network Three
23 May 1966 International Couriers: The Kidnappers [40] Judith Carroway David H Godfrey Light Programme
26 Jul 1966 – 13 Sep 1966 The Dark Rising [41] Mary Durban David H. Godfrey Light Programme
20 Feb 1967 Ye Daughters of Jerusalem [42] Debbie Hudson Charles Lefeaux BBC Home Service
29 Apr 1967 When Sam was King [43] Gail Fleming Brian Miller BBC Home Service Saturday-Night Theatre
30 Jan 1969 Kittens Are Brave [44] Barbara Shiplake Charles Lefeaux BBC Radio 3
25 Dec 1969 Alice's Adventures in Wonderland [8] Alice Charles Lefeaux BBC Radio 4
6 Jun 1972 Golden Ring on my Finger [45] Clara Richard Keen BBC Radio 4
31 May 1975 Blood Sport [46][47] Lynnie Keeble David H. Godfrey BBC Radio 4 Saturday-Night Theatre
7 Oct 1975 Lost Yer Tongue? [48] Janet Tony Cliff BBC Radio 3 Drama Now
4 Apr 1986 – 11 Apr 1986 Joyous Days in the Desert [49] Janet Ross Brian Miller BBC Radio 4
21 Sep 1986 Six Characters in Search of an Author [50] the Step-daughter Walter Acosta BBC Radio 4 & BBC World Service
30 Jul 1988 Peter Ibbetson [51] Mary Duchess of Towers Brian Miller BBC Radio 4 Saturday-Night Theatre


Her stage credits include:[52]

Date Title Role Director Company / Theatre
25 October 197227 October 1972 The Country Wife Alithea David Terence Royal Central School of Speech and Drama / Embassy Theatre, London [53][54]
26 December 19741975 Canterbury Tales Nun Roger Chapman Nottingham Playhouse Company / Nottingham Playhouse [55]
30 January 1975 She Stoops to Conquer Miss Kate Hardcastle Robert Knights Nottingham Playhouse Company / Nottingham Playhouse [56]
20 March 1975 Major Barbara Sarah Prunella Scales Nottingham Playhouse Company / Nottingham Playhouse [57]
1975 Teeth 'n' Smiles Laura English Stage Company / Royal Court Theatre, London
5 April 19761977 Much Ado About Nothing Hero John Barton Royal Shakespeare Company / Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-on-Avon [58]
10 March 19777 April 1977 Royal Shakespeare Company / Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne [59]
29 June 1977 Royal Shakespeare Company / Aldwych Theatre, London [60]
28 September 1976 Destiny Liz and Carol Ron Daniels Royal Shakespeare Company / The Other Place, Stratford-on-Avon [61]
29 March 19779 April 1977 Royal Shakespeare Company / Gulbenkian Studio, Newcastle-upon-Tyne [62]
10 May 1977 Royal Shakespeare Company / Aldwych Theatre, London [63]
17 January 1977 The Boy Friend Maisie Gillian Lynne Royal Shakespeare Company / Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-on-Avon [64]
25 March 19772 April 1977 The Phoenix and the Turtle Roberta Peter Stevenson Gulbenkian Studio, Newcastle-upon-Tyne [65]
1 June 1976 The Winter's Tale Perdita John Barton Royal Shakespeare Company / Royal Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford-on-Avon [66]
1 November 1977 The Days of the Commune Genevieve Howard Davies Royal Shakespeare Company / Aldwych Theatre [67]
26 July 1977 1977 That Good Between Us Rhoda Barry Kyle Royal Shakespeare Company / Warehouse Theatre, London [68]
3 August 1977 Bandits Madeline and Pat Howard Davies Royal Shakespeare Company / Warehouse Theatre [69]
2 May 1977 King Lear Cordelia Trevor Nunn Royal Shakespeare Company / Aldwych Theatre [70]
15 September 1978 1978 As You Like It Celia John Caird
Trevor Nunn
Royal Shakespeare Company / Aldwych Theatre [71]
21 December 19781979 Saratoga Lucy Carter Ronald Eyre Royal Shakespeare Company / Aldwych Theatre [72]
12 June 19791980 Twelfth Night Viola Terry Hands Royal Shakespeare Company / Royal Shakespeare Theatre [73]
11 March 1980 Royal Shakespeare Company / Theatre Royal, Newcastle upon Tyne [74]
11 April 1980 Royal Shakespeare Company / Aldwych Theatre [75]
7 May 1982 Uncle Vanya Yelena Andreyevna Michael Bogdanov National Theatre Company / Lyttelton Theatre, London [76]
14 January 1987 Holiday Julia Seton Lindsay Anderson Old Vic, London [77]
3 January 19901991 The Homecoming Ruth Peter Hall Comedy Theatre, London [78]
21 June 20009 September 2000 Passion Play Eleanor Michael Grandage Comedy Theatre, London [79]


  1. ^ "Cherie Lunghi". Debrett's. Archived from the original on 15 September 2014. Retrieved 15 September 2014.
  2. ^ Midgley, Neil (18 September 2008). "Cherie Lunghi: Strictly Come Dancing". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 11 November 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2009.
  3. ^ General Registry Office (GRO) birth records
  4. ^ a b "Cherie Lunghi: I have 'seduced' so many men". Daily Express. 14 October 2008. Archived from the original on 14 January 2013. Retrieved 19 November 2008.
  5. ^ a b c d Paul Stenning (24 November 2013). "Success – By Those Who've Made It". In Flight Books. ISBN 978-1628475869
  6. ^ a b c Butler, Robert (14 November 1993). "Show People: Scoring a different goal: Cherie Lunghi". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 30 January 2012. Retrieved 9 June 2009.
  7. ^ a b The Wild Duck – BBC Radio Times
  8. ^ a b Alice's Adventures in Wonderland – BBC Radio Times
  9. ^ Mullin, Cheryl (24 July 2013). "What's on TV tonight: Who Do You Think You Are?, The Café and Love/Hate". Birmingham Mail; Trinity Mirror. Archived from the original on 8 December 2015. Retrieved 25 July 2013.
  10. ^ "Strictly Come Dancing stars unveiled". Daily Mirror. 28 August 2008. Archived from the original on 3 February 2009. Retrieved 9 September 2008.
  11. ^ "Cherie No More!". Daily Express. 17 November 2008. Archived from the original on 10 July 2012. Retrieved 19 November 2008.
  12. ^ "Strictly Come Dancing's Cherie Lunghi had sham marriage". Daily Mirror. 11 October 2008. Archived from the original on 2 February 2009. Retrieved 19 November 2008.
  13. ^ The Valiant Varneys – BBC – Radio Times
  14. ^ A Pretty Row of Pretty Ribbons – BBC Radio Times
  15. ^ Dr. Finlay's Casebook: The Visitation – BBC Radio Times
  16. ^ The Brontës of Haworth Yorkshire Television – Theatricalia
  17. ^ Peter and the Princess – BBC – Radio Times
  18. ^ Play of the Month: Kean – BBC – Radio Times
  19. ^ Prince Regent: 7: Milk and Honey – BBC – Radio Times
  20. ^ Festival: The Misanthrope – BBC – Radio Times
  21. ^ 'Tis Pity She's a Whore – BBC – Radio Times
  22. ^ ""Tales of the Unexpected" Death in the Morning (TV Episode 1982) - IMDb". IMDb.
  23. ^ If Winter Comes – BBC – Radio Times
  24. ^ Playhouse: Preview – BBC – Radio Times
  25. ^ Jackanory: Puss in Boots – BBC – Radio Times
  26. ^ Jackanory: Jack and the Beanstalk – BBC – Radio Times
  27. ^ Jackanory: Cinderella – BBC – Radio Times
  28. ^ The Misanthrope – BBC – Radio Times
  29. ^ Play for Today: Desert of Lies – BBC – Radio Times
  30. ^ Vicious Circle – BBC – Radio Times
  31. ^ The Daughter-in-Law – BBC – Radio Times
  32. ^ Screen Two: Coast to Coast – BBC – Radio Times
  33. ^ A Question of Guilt – BBC Radio Times
  34. ^ The Raft of the Medusa – BBC – Radio Times
  35. ^ Afternoon Theatre: The Long Childhood – BBC – Radio Times
  36. ^ A Day Like Sunday – BBC – Radio Times
  37. ^ Midweek Theatre: Quiet Wedding – BBC – Radio Times
  38. ^ The Turn of the Screw – BBC – Radio Times
  39. ^ The Monument – BBC – Radio Times
  40. ^ International Couriers: The Kidnappers – BBC – Radio Times
  41. ^ The Dark Rising – BBC – Radio Times
  42. ^ Ye Daughters of Jerusalem – BBC – Radio Times
  43. ^ Saturday-Night Theatre: When Sam was King – BBC – Radio Times
  44. ^ Kittens Are Brave – BBC – Radio Times
  45. ^ Golden Ring on my Finger – BBC – Radio Times
  46. ^ Saturday-Night Theatre: Blood Sport – BBC – Radio Times
  47. ^ Blood Sport – BBC Saturday-Night Theatre – Dick Francis – YouTube
  48. ^ Drama Now: Lost Yer Tongue? – BBC – Radio Times
  49. ^ Joyous Days in the Desert – BBC – Radio Times
  50. ^ Globe Theatre: Six Characters in Search of an Author – BBC – Radio Times
  51. ^ Saturday-Night Theatre: Peter Ibbetson – BBC – Radio Times
  52. ^ Cherie Lunghi – Theatricalia
  53. ^ The Country Wife – Theatricalia
  54. ^ Reviewed in The Stage, 9 November 1972, page 19.
  55. ^ Canterbury Tales – Theatricalia
  56. ^ She Stoops to Conquer – Theatricalia
  57. ^ Major Barbara – Theatricalia
  58. ^ Much Ado About Nothing – Theatricalia
  59. ^ Much Ado About Nothing – Theatricalia
  60. ^ Much Ado About Nothing – Theatricalia
  61. ^ Destiny – Theatricalia
  62. ^ Destiny – Theatricalia
  63. ^ Destiny – Theatricalia
  64. ^ The Boy Friend – Theatricalia
  65. ^ The Phoenix and the Turtle – Theatricalia
  66. ^ The Winter's Tale – Theatricalia
  67. ^ The Days of the Commune – Theatricalia
  68. ^ That Good Between Us – Theatricalia
  69. ^ Bandits – Theatricalia
  70. ^ King Lear – Theatricalia
  71. ^ As You Like It – Theatricalia
  72. ^ Saratoga, or Pistols for Seven – Theatricalia
  73. ^ Twelfth Night – Theatricalia
  74. ^ Twelfth Night – Theatricalia
  75. ^ Twelfth Night – Theatricalia
  76. ^ Uncle Vanya – Theatricalia
  77. ^ Holiday – Theatricalia
  78. ^ The Homecoming – Theatricalia
  79. ^ Passion Play – Theatricalia