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Julia Sawalha (1968)

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  Summary  

Julia Sawalha is an English actress known for her roles as Saffron Monsoon in Absolutely Fabulous, 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. She also played Dorcas Lane in the BBC's costume drama Lark Rise to Candleford.

  Biography  

 early life
Sawalha was born in London, the daughter of Roberta 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. 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
Sawalha made her debut in the 1982 BBC mini series Fame is the Spur 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 Pecksniff in the BBC production of Martin Chuzzlewit.

From 1992 to 2005, Sawalha played straight-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 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. 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. The following year, she became the Alan Davies 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? 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. 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. 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.

 personal life
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, the father of Lily Allen and Alfie Allen.

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.

After meeting Rich Annetts at the Glastonbury Festival in 2005, the couple moved to Bath, Somerset and lived in a flat close to the Royal Crescent. Annetts had a canal boat on the Kennet and Avon canal, which the couple would regularly visit. They then moved to a cottage in the Somerset countryside, which they renamed Flowers Cottage. Sawalha started growing her own vegetables, attending yoga lessons and is studying for an Open University English degree. Sawalha and Annetts have since split up.

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Whole or part of the information contained in this card come from the Wikipedia article "Julia Sawalha", licensed under CC-BY-SA full list of contributors here.