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9 August 1978
Northwest London, England, UK
Daniela Denby-Ashe (born 9 August 1978) is an English actress, best known for playing the character Sarah Hills in the soap opera EastEnders, Margaret Hale in the period drama North and South and Janey Harper in the sitcom My Family. She also played the character Lorraine Donnegan in the drama series Waterloo Road after previously playing a different character, "Jem Allen" in one episode a few years earlier.
Her parents are of Polish descent, her paternal surname being Pszkit. Before they got married, they decided to create a more British-sounding family name, so they looked in the telephone directory and each chose a name they liked and hyphenated them.
Daniela first gained film experience on the children's video "Nursery Rhymes 2" as part of Pickwick Video.
Daniela appeared in many television commercials as a child actor which then led on to children's drama such as Kevin & Co, as well as the Channel 4 sitcom Desmond's. Daniela also appeared alongside Jennifer Saunders and Julia Sawalha in Absolutely Fabulous. Her big break came in 1995 when she landed the role of Sarah Hills in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. She played this character until 1999.
The following year she got the role of Janey Harper in the BBC sitcom, My Family. Daniela took a break from My Family for the fourth series in 2003, but returned to this role in 2004. The eleventh and final series first aired on BBC One from June 2011.
In 2004 she took the lead female role of Margaret Hale in the BBC TV drama adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's North & South, and in 2006 played Mary in the science fiction TV series Torchwood episode Greeks Bearing Gifts. Her other television roles include Office Gossip, Rescue Me, Is Harry on the Boat?, and The Afternoon Play. In 2005, she appeared in the Radio 4 comedy Ring Around the Bath.
In 2007, Denby-Ashe starred as Robert Maxwell's secretary in Maxwell, a BBC drama about his life. In December 2008 she appeared in BBC Four's supernatural drama series Crooked House, and in October 2010 she starred in an episode of the ITV detective drama Midsomer Murders.
In April 2009 she appeared in the fourth series of the BBC drama Waterloo Road as deceitful supply teacher, Jem Allen. In April 2012, Denby-Ashe returned to the drama as a new regular character, Lorraine Donegan. The character, a former pupil taught by current headteacher Michael Byrne (Alec Newman), played an important role in a storyline that has seen the current school move from its location in Rochdale to a new site in Greenock, Scotland at the end of the seventh series. The character appeared regularly throughout the eighth series, however the character left the school toward the end of the series due to a disagreement with Michael, leading to her handing the school over to LA control.
|1992||Desmond's||Jackie||Episode: "Growing Pains"|
|1992||Kevin and Co||Sophie Coe||6 episodes|
|1993||The Bill||Joanne Jameson||Episode: "In Safe Hands"|
|1994||The Bill||Debbie Higgins||Episode: "Gone Away"|
|1995||The Bill||Deirdre Jackson||Episode: "Powerless"|
|1995||Absolutely Fabulous||Victoria||Episode: "The End"|
|1995–99||EastEnders||Sarah Hills||276 episodes|
|2000||Fish||Jess Taylor||6 episodes|
|2000–11||My Family||Janey Harper||94 episodes|
|2001||Is Harry on the Boat?||Lorraine||Television film|
|2001||Office Gossip||Cheryl||6 episodes|
|2002||Rescue Me||Julie Carter||Episode: "Gone Away"|
|2003||The Afternoon Play||Kate||Episode: "Girls' Weekend"|
|2004||North & South||Margaret Hale||All episodes|
|2006||The Family Man||Kelly||Movie|
|2006||Torchwood||Mary||Episode: "Greeks Bearing Gifts"|
|2007||Maxwell||Andrea Martin||Television film|
|2008||Crooked House||Hannah||2 episodes|
|2010||Midsomer Murders||Camilla Farquaharson||Episode: "The Noble Art"|
|2012-13||Waterloo Road||Lorraine Donnegan||32 episodes|
- '"Believe it or not, there's is a story behind my last name. My dad came here when he was twelve. My dad was born in Poland. His name was Miroslaw Pszkit (pronounced SHKEET). Needless to say, when he arrived some people wouldn't learn how to pronounce it properly. So just before he and my mum got married they had a look in the telephone directory. One found the name Denby and the other found Ashe. They couldn't decide between them which name to use so they just put them together with a hyphen in the middle. I'm not Pszkit like my dad; I was born with Denby-Ashe on my birth certificate. So that's where my birth certificate comes from." The Walford Gazette Internet Edition : The Daniela Denby-Ashe Interview : Summer 99
- "Ring Around the Bath". Global British Comedy Collaborative. 2005-03-27.
- "Suchet in title role of BBC Two's drama special Maxwell". BBC Press Office. 2007-02-16.