12 February 1984 |
Bury, Greater Manchester, England
|Height||5 feet 6 inches (1.68 m)|
McAlpine was born and bred in Bury, Greater Manchester. She is of Scottish and Irish descent, with a grandfather from County Kerry and a grandmother from County Sligo. As a young girl she used to put on shows on the patio for the neighbours, charging them 50 pence apiece. She did song and dance routines, copying groups like Bananarama.
Her father Tom McAlpine works in mental health and was recently awarded the OBE for services to mental healthcare. With his encouragement she took up amateur dramatics at the age of eight, when father and daughter appeared together in a pantomime by the Bury Parish Players. She was the fairy and he was the dame. As a teenager she joined the Carol Godby Theatre Workshop. McAlpine's parents separated when she was young after which she lived with her father. She has a brother, Thomas McAlpine (b. 1971),
She had a difficult time at school and did not like teachers: 'My reports always said I talked too much and made me think I was crap. I wasn't in the popular group at school and I didn't especially get on with the girls ... All through school I was going for parts. They wouldn't give me time off for the auditions, so I used to end up wagging it.
McAlpine's big break came in 1997 when at the age of 13 she did stand-up comedy in London and came second in a Young Comedian Of The Year competition run by Fanta. At the grand final at Comedy Store in London she met TV presenter Jonathan Ross and comedian Peter Kay, and was so inspired that she entered a second time in 1998, coming in second again. She spent four years (1997–2001) doing stand-up comedy at charity nights, galas and pub nights with her father in Bury.
McAlpine played Michelle Morley in Emmerdale from 1999 to 2001. After leaving school she enrolled in her local college, Holy Cross, and began studying for A-levels. At the age of 17 she auditioned for the part of Fiz Brown ( now Fiz Stape) on Coronation Street, a role she has played since 2001. McAlpine drew inspiration for Fiz from her father's work with troubled children. She was originally hired for just five episodes, and went back to studying for her A-levels and working part-time in Boots The Chemist. However her comic timing had so impressed Coronation Street producers that they offered her a long-term contract.
- Who Wants to be a Millionaire (16 August 2008) - Contestant, won £50,000 for charity
- The Cube (2 January 2011) - Contestant, won £1,000 for Mood Swings
- All Star Family Fortunes (11 September 2011) - Contestant
- The Chase (16 September 2012) - Contestant, won £15,750 for Mood Swings
- All Star Mr & Mrs (22 May 2013) - Contestant
- Tipping Point: Lucky Stars (28 July 2013) - Contestant, won £6,700 for Mood Swings
- Pointless Celebrities (30 November 2013) - Contestant
- All Star Family Fortunes (28 December 2013) - Contestant, on the Coronation Street team, won £30,000 for Mood Swings and The Albert Kennedy Trust
|2002||The British Soap Awards||'Best Newcomer'||Won|
|2008||TV Quick Awards||'Best Soap Actress'||Nominated|
|“||I'm very proud of my Scottish roots and definitely love coming up to Scotland. When I'm in England I really stand out because of my red hair but when I come up to Scotland I feel normal because there are so many people with my colouring. I definitely feel different having red hair, but in a good way. Even though I may sound it, I am no way English. My granddad Alan was Scottish and my grandmother was Irish. My other granddad was born in England but his parents were Scottish.||”|
Since the age of 17 McAlpine has devoted her spare time to helping deprived children in Egypt through the Thebes Project in Luxor. She has also opened a restaurant in Manchester city centre, Annie's, with her boyfriend Chris Farr. The restaurant serves modern British cuisine.
- Rick Fulton, 'Fiz: I'm a Flaming Scot', Scottish Daily Record (21 March 2008), p. 24.
- Sue Crawford, 'Interview - Jennie McAlpine - Stand up and deliver', Daily Mirror (11 August 2001), p. 11.
- Claire Donnelly, 'Fiz Is the Biz'Daily Mirror (2 February 2005).
- Jon Peake, 'Soaper troupers', The Sun (18 May 2002), The TV Mag, p. 17.