14 August 1955 |
Islington, London, England
|Height||5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)|
|Partner(s)||Geoff Knights (1988–2009)|
|Children||Jessica Rae Taylforth Knights and Harrison Jay Taylforth Knights|
Margret Taylforth (mother) Ronald Taylforth (father)Kim Taylforth (sister), Debora Taylforth (sister), Janice Taylforth (sister) and Ron Taylforth (brother)
Gillian Taylforth (born 14 August 1955) is an English actress. She is best known for her role as Kathy Beale on the BBC soap opera, EastEnders (1985–2000) and has also appeared as Jackie Pascoe-Webb on ITV's Footballers Wives (2002–06), and more recently as Sgt. Nikki Wright in ITV's The Bill (2006–08). She has also appeared in film during her early career, has presented on ITV's Loose Women and appeared as a celebrity contestant on Strictly Come Dancing in 2008. In January 2013, she was a contestant in Celebrity Big Brother. She recently played Sandy Roscoe on Channel 4 soap opera Hollyoaks, but left in Summer 2014, and returned in December to again leave with Joe Roscoe in January 2015.
Gillian Taylforth is the second child of Margret Taylforth and Ronald Taylforth. She has one elder sister, two younger sisters and one younger brother.
She has two children, Jessica Rae Taylforth Knights (born 1992) and Harrison Jay Taylforth Knights (born 1999), by her ex-fiancé Geoff Knights, who died of cancer in November 2013.
Early life and career
Taylforth attended William Tyndale Junior School, Barnsbury Secondary School for Girls, Kingsway College of Further Education and the Anna Scher Theatre School in London. She started her acting career in the 1970s and before securing her big break she worked as a secretary between minor roles. Early television appearances include roles in the BBC comedy Hi-de-Hi!, Shelley, Play for Today, On Safari, Minder, Sink or Swim and The Rag Trade. In 1980, she won the role of Sherry in the film The Long Good Friday, which proved to be extremely successful at the box office.
On 19 February 1985, Taylforth appeared as Kathy Beale in the first episode of the BBC's new soap opera EastEnders. This role earned her huge popularity and public recognition on British television. Taylforth's character was in the show on and off from 1985 until 2000, and covered an array of serious issues including rape, domestic violence, teenage pregnancy, divorce, alcoholism and meningitis. She became one of the longest running characters to feature in the soap, but eventually quit in 1998. She made a brief return in 1999 to aid the departure of actor Ross Kemp, who played her character's brother-in-law, Grant Mitchell. Taylforth made her last appearance as Kathy on 6 January 2000.
Although press rumours throughout 2005 suggested that Taylforth was returning to the show, this did not occur and the character of Kathy died off-screen in February 2006, in a car crash in South Africa. Taylforth has commented: "I was a bit upset at first because it was 13 years of my life and I didn't like the thought of being killed off. I thought she might come back to see Ian (her on-screen son) and have some illness. But that's the way it goes." Since, Taylforth has expressed an interest in returning to the show, if Kathy was to 'come back from the dead' and has openly said that it was a mistake to 'kill off' her character. In 2013, she not only repeated her wish to return to EastEnders, but revealed that former producers wanted Kathy back in EastEnders and admitted that it was a very big mistake to kill off the character. However, an EastEnders spokesperson said that producers currently have no plans to bring back Kathy Beale. On 14 November 2014, Taylforth reprised the role of Kathy for a short stint for Children In Need after Ian knocks his head and sees the deceased women in his life.
Subsequent work and roles
After quitting EastEnders, Taylforth was cast as Jackie Pascoe-Webb in ITV's popular televised drama, Footballers Wives. In a Channel 4 poll for the 100 Greatest Sexy Moments, a time where she ends up having sex on top of a snooker table with Cristian Solimeno was placed at number 49. She played the role for all five series, which made her the only cast member to appear in every series without taking a break. (Zöe Lucker also appeared in all five series, but left midway through the 4th series before returning towards the end of the final one.)
In 2006, she played the role of Mandy Searle in the comedy/drama Jane Hall and she also has appeared as a recurring panelist on ITV's topical chat-show Loose Women (2000, 2006 and 2008). She won a regular part in ITV's police drama The Bill playing Sergeant Nikki Wright, and made her first screen appearance on 8 November 2006. Taylforth left the role in 2008.
In February 2013, it was announced that she had joined the cast of British soap opera, Hollyoaks, as matriarch of the Roscoe family, Sandy Roscoe.  After just over a year in the role, Taylforth announced her decision to leave the role of Sandy to spend more time with her real-life family. She departed on-screen on 22 August 2014.  However, it was also announced that Taylforth would reprise the role of Sandy on 30 December 2014, but she left yet again shortly afterwards.
Strictly Come Dancing
Taylforth was partnered with Anton Du Beke in the sixth series of Strictly Come Dancing in 2008, but was voted off in Week 2 after a dance-off with Jodie Kidd. It later emerged that Taylforth had suffered torn knee ligaments whilst in training for the live shows, but chose to dance on regardless.
|Week #||Dance/Song||Judges' score||Result|
|2||Foxtrot / Razzle Dazzle||4||5||7||6||22||Eliminated|
Taylforth is the sister of actress Kim Taylforth. During her time in EastEnders, she dated her fellow cast-mate Nick Berry, who played Simon Wicks. She began a relationship with Geoff Knights in the late 1980s. The couple lived in Broxbourne, Hertfordshire. She gave birth to their daughter Jessica in 1992. In 1996 she suffered a miscarriage, and less than a year later doctors told her that the baby she was carrying had severe abnormalities and she was advised to terminate the pregnancy." In 1999, she became a mother for a second time, to son Harrison.
Knights and Taylforth have an extensive tabloid media history. In January 1994, Taylforth was involved in a high-profile court case when she sued The Sun newspaper for libel after they ran a story claiming she and Knights had performed sexual acts on a slip road on the A1 in their Range Rover. Taylforth claimed that her partner had suffered an acute attack of pancreatitis and she was merely massaging his stomach to soothe his abdominal pain; however, a police officer claimed that she was performing fellatio instead. During the court case, The Sun's defence counsel, George Carman QC, entered into evidence a 35-minute home video of Taylforth "suggestively posing with a large sausage [...] graphically simulating masturbation with a wine bottle" and boasting to the camera, "I give very good head". The jury returned a 10-2 majority verdict in favour of The Sun, after which Taylforth collapsed and was taken away by an ambulance.
In November 2006, after celebrating their 20th anniversary, Knights was arrested following a bust-up with Taylforth and spent 18 hours in a police cell. Knights reportedly argued with Taylforth in front of their seven-year-old son at their home in Herts, and then allegedly punched her; she required three stitches on her scalp. Taylforth contacted the police resulting in Knights' arrest, but she reportedly dropped all charges against her partner. In January 2009, Knights was arrested for allegedly assaulting the ex-boyfriend of the couple's daughter Jessica, who was in turn arrested for allegedly assaulting Jessica. It was reported in June 2009 that Taylforth and Knights had split after 23 years together.
In 1995, Taylforth wrote an autobiography entitled Kathy and Me in which she describes her childhood, her teenage years, her first forays into acting and her lifestyle.
TV and Filmography
- Hollyoaks - Sandy Roscoe (2013–2014)
- Celebrity Big Brother - contestant (2013)
- Missing - Judy Waverley (2009–2010)
- Casualty - BBC TV series guest appearance, Series 23, Episode 42 Parent Trap (June 2009)
- Strictly Come Dancing (2008), herself
- The Bill (2006–2008), Sgt Nikki Wright
- Jane Hall (2006) - TV series
- New Tricks (2005), Emma Winters
- Messiah 2: Vengeance Is Mine (2002)
- The House That Jack Built (2002) - TV series
- Footballers' Wives (2002–2006) - TV series
- Messiah (2001)
- Loose Women (2000, 2006, 2008)
- Big Cat (1998)
- Lost in France (1998)
- Doctor Who: Dimensions in Time (1993)
- EastEnders (1985–1998; 1999–2000) - TV series
- On Safari (1982) - children's TV game show with Christopher Biggins
- Minder (1983) - episode "Senior Citizen Caine"
- Sink or Swim (1981)
- Hi De Hi! (1981) - episode "Desire in the Mickey Mouse Grotto"
- The Long Good Friday (1980)
- Watch This Space (1980)
- Shelley (1979) - episode "Moving In"
- The Rag Trade (1977)
- "Births search results 1761-2006". FindMyPast.co.uk. Retrieved 23 January 2013.
- Who's Who On Television. Michael Joseph/ITV books. 1982. ISBN 0-900727-95-0.
- "KAFFY COME HOME", Sunday Mirror. URL last accessed on 2006-10-16.
- Higney, Claire (28 February 2006). "Gillian Taylforth: I still feel like I'm 30". The Mirror. Retrieved 31 May 2009.
- Gillian Taylforth 'keen for EastEnders comeback to work with David Essex' | Metro News
- Taylforth: 'Kathy Beale would sort out Mitchell' - EastEnders News - Soaps - Digital Spy
- "Gillian Taylforth joins 'The Bill'", Digital Spy. URL last accessed on 2006-10-16.
- Simpson, Richard (28 September 2008). "Kathy foxtrots off! Gillian Taylforth is the first woman to leave Strictly Come Dancing". The Daily Mail. Retrieved 15 April 2009.
- "I TELL MY DAUGHTER THAT TESTS SAVE LIVES". The Daily Express. 10 March 2009. Retrieved 15 April 2009.
- Kingsley, Hilary (1990). The EastEnders Handbook. BBC books. ISBN 0-563-36292-8.
- "Victims of the 'silver fox'". BBC News. 29 August 2000. Retrieved 31 May 2009.
- Carman, Dominic (24 April 2007). "Silly sausage... the video that destroyed her case". London: The Times. Retrieved 31 May 2009.
- White, Richard (7 November 2006). "Son sees TV's Gillian hit by dad". The Sun. Retrieved 31 May 2009.
- "Ex-EastEnder Gillian Taylforth's Partner Arrest for Allegedly Attacking Daughter's Boyfriend". The Daily Mail. 25 January 2009. Retrieved 31 May 2009.
- "Taylforth splits from long-term partner". Digital Spy. 10 June 2009. Retrieved 8 June 2009.