Anna Friel - Details


Anna FrielAnna 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 was bitten by the acting bug, landing several minor TV appearances in soaps (Emmerdale and Coronation Street) and a 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 was as far as you can get from the stereotypical lesbian image of crew cut, dungarees and Doc Martens. The gay community lapped it up (resists temptation to insert smiley), and by the time the ground-breaking first ever 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, but Anna's career has continued apace.

Frankly, most of her work has been in relatively low-budget movies that have achieved little critical or commercial success so far, and are in stark contrast to the universal acclaim she received on her Broadway début (see more on this below). She has however been working non-stop and is inundated with theatre, film and TV offers. Anna has recently (summer 2002) finished filming her first big-budget movie, Timeline, in Canada.

Anna lived in London until recently, though work commitments meant that she was rarely home. She bought a home in Windsor in summer 2000, where she now lives with her partner David Thewlis when not at his London home or away working. David also has a small part in Timeline, which gets its UK release next year.


  • 12th July 1976 - Birth