Lucy Benjamin
Lucy Benjamin at the BAFTA
Born
Lucy Jane Baker

(1970-06-25) 25 June 1970 (age 52)
Other namesLucy Taggart
OccupationActress
Years active1982–present
Notable workEastEnders
Spouse
Richard Taggart
(m. 2006)
Children2

Lucy Benjamin (born Lucy Jane Baker, 25 June 1970) is an English actress. After appearing in various television series including Close to Home (1989–1990), Press Gang (1989–1993) and Jupiter Moon (1990, 1996), she was cast in the BBC soap opera EastEnders as Lisa Fowler in 1998, for which she received a nomination for Most Popular Actress at the 2001 National Television Awards.

Following her initial departure from the soap in 2003, she competed in The X Factor: Battle of the Stars (2006) which she won, as well as competing in I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! (2009). She made guest returns to EastEnders in 2010 and 2017, while also appearing in series such as Casualty and Doctors. From 2019 to 2020, she reprised her role as Lisa on EastEnders on a regular basis.

Early life

Benjamin was born on 25 June 1970 in Reading, Berkshire as Lucy Jane Baker.[1] While attending school in Sandhurst, she performed in school concerts; her parents were informed by one of her primary school teachers that she had drama talent and advised them to let her attend a nearby theatre school.[2] She began attending Redroofs Theatre School in Maidenhead,[1] and began dance lessons at the age of nine.[2] She took the stage surname of Benjamin from her brother.[1]

Career

Benjamin's first acting role was as a child actress in Doctor Who in 1983, playing a younger version of the character Nyssa in Mawdryn Undead.[1] In 1989, she starred in the children's television programme Press Gang, where she played Julie Craig.[3] From 1989 to 1990, Benjamin appeared in two series of LWT sitcom Close to Home, playing Paul Nicholas' teenage daughter Kate Shepherd.[4] Also in 1990, Benjamin appeared in the British Satellite Broadcasting (BSB) Galaxy Channel soap opera Jupiter Moon.[3] In 1995, she appeared in the Adrian Edmondson and Rik Mayall comedy Bottom.[5]

From 1998 to 2003, she played Lisa Fowler in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. During her time on the programme, Benjamin was involved in one of the soap's most viewed storylines, known as "Who Shot Phil?" (2001). The storyline centered on the shooting of her on-screen lover Phil Mitchell, and who, out of the many potential candidates, was responsible. Her character was eventually revealed to be the shooter.[1] She was asked back for a short period in 2003, to help with the forthcoming exit of Steve McFadden, who was taking a hiatus from the programme.[2] After leaving EastEnders, Benjamin appeared in the BBC television programme The Afternoon Play and the BBC medical drama Casualty.[1] She has also appeared in pantomimes across London, as well as touring for 6 months in the play Framed.[6] In April 2006, the Daily Mirror reported that Benjamin was in talks with EastEnders about reprising the role of Lisa Fowler. Benjamin stated in an interview that all rumours of her returning to EastEnders were inaccurate.[7]

In June 2006, Benjamin appeared on The X Factor: Battle of the Stars, which she won. She was mentored by judge Louis Walsh.[8] She also appeared as Heather in Stephen Fry's drama Kingdom.[2] In October 2006, Benjamin appeared in an episode of the BBC soap opera Doctors.[9] In September 2008, she appeared in All Star Family Fortunes, winning £10,000 for her charity Rosie's Rainbow Fund.[2] Benjamin then starred in The Pretender Agenda at the New Players Theatre with Lee Ryan, as well as starring in the horror film Not Alone.[10] In 2009, she was a contestant in the ITV1 series I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here![2] In August 2010, Benjamin returned to EastEnders for one episode in a storyline that was building up to the exit of Barbara Windsor.[11]

In 2013, Benjamin starred as Velma Von Tussle in the UK tour of the West End stage show Hairspray.[12] Between April and July 2017, Benjamin had a recurring role as Denise Ellisson in Casualty.[13] Benjamin reprised her role as Lisa for a short stint in July 2017, part of on-screen daughter Louise Mitchell's (Tilly Keeper) bullying storyline.[14]

On 27 May 2019, it was announced that Benjamin would be returning to EastEnders on a permanent basis.[15] She returned on 2 September 2019, and departed in January 2020 alongside Keeper.[16] In May 2021, she starred in another episode of the BBC soap opera Doctors as Jan Fisher.[17] For her appearance in Doctors, she won the award for Acting Performance at the RTS Midlands Awards.[18] The win marked her first award in her career.[19] In 2022, she is set to reprise her role of Jan in Doctors.[20]

Personal life

Benjamin married oil businessman Richard Taggart at Babington House, Somerset on 30 March 2006.[21] The couple met during a flight to Dubai and became engaged three months later. Benjamin and Taggart now live in Gidea Park, Greater London.[22]

In the first episode of The X Factor: Battle of the Stars on 31 May 2006, Sharon Osbourne accidentally revealed that Benjamin was pregnant. Benjamin smiled while host Kate Thornton commented: "I don't think you wanted that announced tonight, did you?"[23] Benjamin gave birth by caesarean section to a daughter at Harold Wood Hospital in London on 22 November 2006.[24] On 19 October 2010, she revealed that she was three months pregnant with her second child.[25] In April 2011, she gave birth to a second daughter.[26]

In May 2015, she was awarded £157,250 by Mr Justice Mann as part of a £1.2 million celebrity payout during the phone hacking scandal of the Mirror Group newspapers (Trinity Mirror), under her married name Lucy Taggart.[27]

Filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1982 Beau Geste Young Claudia 2 episodes
1983 Doctor Who Nyssa Uncredited
1983 Spooky Amy Episode: "The Exorcism of Amy"
1985 Up the Elephant and Round the Castle Kate Episode: "And They Came Unto Jim"
1985 Me and My Girl Gemma Tindle Episode: "Picture of Harmony"
1987 The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole Sharon Botts Episode #1.2
1988 Star Trap Nancy Television film
1989–1990 Close to Home Kate Shepherd Main role
1989–1993 Press Gang Julie Craig Main role
1990, 1996 Jupiter Moon Fiona McBride Recurring role
1992 The Bill Michele Prout Episode: "Private Enterprise"
1994 Murder Most Horrid Katherine Episode: "A Severe Case of Death"
1994 Class Act Berryl Chapman Episode #1.1
1995 Bottom Nurse Episode: "Dough"
1996 The Bill Ingrid Episode: "Bits and Pieces"
1997 Staying Alive Zoe Marson Episode #2.5
1997 Dangerfield Audrey Bremner Episode: "And Lips That We Might Tell"
1998–2003, 2010, 2017, 2019–2020 EastEnders Lisa Fowler Series regular
2003 The Afternoon Play Amanda Episode: "The Real Arnie Griffin"
2004 Casualty Gina Taylor 2 episodes
2006 The X Factor: Battle of the Stars Herself Contestant
2006 Doctors Tracey Morrel Episode: "No Smoke"
2008 Kingdom Heather Episode #2.3
2009 Missing Sandra Taylor Episode #1.1
2009 I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here! Herself Contestant
2012 Holby City Lois Earnshaw Episode: "To Absent Friends"
2014, 2017 Detectorists Maggie Recurring role
2015 New Tricks Lesley Carmichael Episode: "The Fame Game"
2015, 2017 Casualty Denise Ellisson Recurring role
2015 Doctors Gina Stewart Episode: "You Can Run"
2017, 2019 The Dumping Ground Ms. Bloomfield 2 episodes
2018 Eleven Cass Film
2021–2022 Doctors Jan Fisher Guest role
TBA Game of Two Halves Lynn Film

Stage

Year Title Role Venue
1992-1993 Mother Goose Princess Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton
1993-1994 Jack and the Beanstalk Jack Orchard Theatre, Dartford
1994-1995 Dick Whittington Alice Fitzwarren Wycombe Swan, High Wycombe
2002-2003 Cinderella Faith Godmother Assembly Halls, Tunbridge Wells
2004-2005 Aladdin The Princess Gordon Craig Theatre, Stevenage
2005 Framed! Judy Theatre Royal, Norwich
2005-2006 Cinderella Fairy Godmother The Deco Theatre, Northampton
2007-2008 Dick Whittington Fairy Bowbells Ashcroft Theatre, Croydon
2008 The Pretender Agenda Various The New Players Theatre
2011-2012 Peter Pan Mrs. Darling Mayflower Theatre
2012-2013 Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs Wicked Queen Anvil Theatre, Basingstoke
2013 Hairspray Velma Von Tussle UK Tour
2015 The Deadly Murder Camille Dargus Sondheim Theatre
2019 The Ruffian on the Stair Joyce Hope Theatre
2019-2020 Cinderella Fairy Godmother Central Theatre, Chatham
2021-2022 Cinderella Fairy Godmother Watersmeet Theatre, Rickmansworth
2022 Henry IV Rebellion RSC Eleanor Royal Shakespeare Company

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Nominated work Result Ref.
2001 National Television Awards Most Popular Actress EastEnders Nominated [28]
2021 RTS Midlands Awards Acting Performance Doctors Won [18]

References

  1. ^ a b c d e f "I'm A Celebrity: 10 things you need to know about Lucy Benjamin". Daily Mirror. Reach plc. 28 January 2012. Archived from the original on 18 May 2021. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  2. ^ a b c d e f "Interview with EastEnders star Lucy Benjamin". Great British Life. 16 September 2010. Archived from the original on 18 May 2021. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  3. ^ a b Eames, Tom (5 September 2016). "Press Gang: What happened to the journalist kids in Steven Moffat's debut show?". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Archived from the original on 22 June 2020. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  4. ^ "Close To Home". British Classic Comedy. Archived from the original on 29 November 2020. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  5. ^ "Lucy Benjamin". British Comedy Guide. Archived from the original on 18 May 2021. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  6. ^ "Framed!". BBC News. Archived from the original on 3 October 2014. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  7. ^ Green, Kris (3 April 2006). "Lucy Benjamin NOT returning to Walford". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 18 May 2021. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  8. ^ "Lucy 'shocked' by X Factor win". Evening Standard. 5 June 2006. Archived from the original on 1 October 2015. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  9. ^ "No Smoke". BBC. Archived from the original on 18 May 2021. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  10. ^ Slasher, Masked (1 October 2009). "Not Alone Wraps Production". Dreadcentral.com. Archived from the original on 29 March 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  11. ^ "Lucy Benjamin to make one-off 'Enders return". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. 17 April 2010. Archived from the original on 23 February 2021. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  12. ^ Laws, Roz (3 May 2013). "Former EastEnder Lucy Benjamin stars in Hairspray". Coventry Telegraph. Archived from the original on 18 May 2021. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  13. ^ "REVEALED: A Casualty fave is stabbed to death!". What's on TV. Future plc. Archived from the original on 21 January 2021. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  14. ^ Dainty, Sophie (21 July 2017). "EastEnders brings back Lisa Fowler in the aftermath of Louise Mitchell's horror incident". Digital Spy. Archived from the original on 15 August 2019. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  15. ^ Methven, Nicola (26 May 2019). "Lucy Benjamin 'excited' as she prepares for EastEnders return as Lisa Fowler". Daily Mirror. Archived from the original on 26 May 2019. Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  16. ^ Harp, Justin. "EastEnders' Tilly Keeper shares cheeky tribute to her character Louise Mitchell after exit scenes". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Archived from the original on 27 September 2020. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  17. ^ Timblick, Simon (18 May 2021). "Doctors spoilers: Ex-EastEnders star Lucy Benjamin in guest role". What's on TV. Future plc. Archived from the original on 18 May 2021. Retrieved 18 May 2021.
  18. ^ a b "RTS Midlands 2021". Royal Television Society. Retrieved 7 December 2021.
  19. ^ Duff, Seamus (9 March 2022). "Lucy Benjamin stuns fans as she ditches her bottle blonde locks for natural grey". Daily Mirror. (Reach plc). Retrieved 19 May 2022.
  20. ^ Doctors [@BBCDoctors] (16 June 2022). "Dido Miles and @Lucy_Benjamin, the stars of our award-winning episode 'Three Consultations and a Funeral', wanted to share some exciting news! #BBCDoctors" (Tweet) – via Twitter.
  21. ^ "East Ender Lucyweds". Daily Mirror. UK. 31 March 2006. Archived from the original on 22 December 2007. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  22. ^ X Factor: Lucy Benjamin
  23. ^ "Showbiz – News – Ex-'Enders actress Lucy Benjamin pregnant". Digital Spy. 30 May 2006. Archived from the original on 7 December 2006. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  24. ^ "A Special Delivery For Lucy". Daily Mirror. UK. 23 November 2006. Archived from the original on 22 December 2007. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  25. ^ "NEW PICTURES Pregnant Celebrities | Gallery Specials". Now Magazine. 22 June 2010. Archived from the original on 18 April 2012. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  26. ^ "HELLO! Exclusive: Lucy Benjamin proudly presents baby Rosie to the world". Hello. 18 July 2011. Retrieved 25 June 2022.
  27. ^ "Phone hacking: Celebrities win damages from Mirror Group". BBC. 21 May 2015. Archived from the original on 8 November 2020. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  28. ^ "Lucy Benjamin". MN2S. Retrieved 19 May 2021.