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|Born||Hurstpierpoint, Sussex, England, UK|
|Known for||Drop the Dead Donkey|
Born in Hurstpierpoint, Sussex to father Guy Thomas Hayden-Gwynne, she played county level tennis before studying Sociology at the University of Nottingham, and is fluent in French and Italian. She then took a five-year lectureship in Italy at the University of Rome La Sapienza, where she taught English as a foreign language.
Gwynne lives in London with her partner, Jungian psychotherapist Jason Phipps, and their two sons, Orlando (born 1997) and Harrison (born 2000). She also undertakes voluntary work for the charity Sightsavers International, a group committed to combating blindness in developing countries. In August 2014, Gwynne was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.
Gwynne became an actress in her mid-twenties, with her past reflected in her first prominent television role as feminist lecturer Dr Robyn Penrose in the BBC dramatisation of David Lodge's Nice Work in 1989.
Her first high profile comedy role was as Alex Pates in Drop the Dead Donkey in 1990. She then appeared in the 1991 Children's ITV science-fiction series Time Riders and later became a regular in Peak Practice; first appearing at the start of series 7 (Episode 1) in 1999 as Dr Joanna Graham. The character of Dr Joanna Graham was written out of the show at the end of series 9 (Episode 13) when she was fatally shot whilst intervening in a conflict between a man and his daughter. After Peak Practice Gwynne went on to star in Merseybeat in 2001.
Her theatre work has included a variety of regional and London based appearances, from the Octagon, Bolton in Hedda Gabler, to Richard Cheshire's Way of the World appearing in London's West End productions of Ziegfeld, City of Angels and Billy Elliot the Musical at the Victoria Palace Theatre, for which she was nominated for an Olivier Award. She reprised her role as Mrs Wilkinson in the Broadway production of Billy Elliot, which opened at the Imperial Theatre on November 13, 2008. Gwynne has been awarded the Outer Critics Circle Award, Theatre World Award, and Drama Desk Award for her performance in Billy Elliot. She was also nominated for a 2009 Tony Award. Gwynne has also performed in numerous productions for the Royal Shakespeare Company. Her television appearances are now more focused on shorter dramas, such as the role of Julius Caesar's wife, Calpurnia, in the TV series Rome. She also appeared in the first Christmas special episode of Midsomer Murders.
She has guest starred in an episode of Lewis in the first of a new series (2008). She appeared in the first episode of series 2, "And the Moonbeams Kiss the Sea", playing the character of Sandra Walters. In 2010, she was also filming a film called Hunky Dory which also stars Minnie Driver and was filmed around Swansea, Wales.
Gwynne performed at the Almeida Theatre in Islington, London in a performance of Becky Shaw which ran from 20 January until 5 March 2011. She also appeared in a second episode of the Midsomer Murders series 14 called "Dark Secrets" which was aired in Britain in 2011. Gwynne starred in the Shakespeare play Richard III alongside Kevin Spacey at The Old Vic in London during the summer 2011 as part of the Bridge Project.
In October and November 2012, Gwynne toured in the play Duet for One. In 2013, she appeared as Margaret Thatcher in the premiere of the stage play The Audience by Peter Morgan. In January 2014, she appeared in an episode of the BBC forensic science series Silent Witness, followed by appearances in another two BBC series in February: the British sitcom Uncle and the crime comedy-drama Death in Paradise.
- Ancestry.com. England & Wales, Birth Index: 1916–2005 [database on-line]. Provo, UT, USA: Ancestry.com Operations Inc, 2008. Original data: General Register Office. England and Wales Civil Registration Indexes. London, England: General Register Office.
- Shoard, Catherine (2005-04-11), All-singing, all-dancing, all-smoking, The Daily Telegraph
- "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories | Politics". theguardian.com. 2014-08-07. Retrieved 2014-08-26.
- "'Billy Elliot' announces its New York cast". Associated Press. 2008-07-16. Retrieved 2008-07-21.[dead link]
- Becky Shaw
- Michael Billington "Richard III – review, The Old Vic", The Guardian, 29 June 2011
- Paul Vale "Duet For One", The Stage, 3 October 2012