Holly Aird

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Holly Aird
Imogen Holly Aird

(1969-05-18) 18 May 1969 (age 54)
Years active1980-present
(m. 1996; div. 2002)
Toby Merritt
(m. 2004)

Imogen Holly Aird (born 18 May 1969)[1] is an English television actress known for playing forensic pathologist Frankie Wharton in the BBC1 drama series Waking the Dead, having previously starred in productions such as Soldier Soldier and the 1997 film Fever Pitch alongside Colin Firth.

Early life[edit]

Aird was born in Aldershot, Hampshire. She was spotted by a casting director at age nine whilst at Bush Davies Ballet School and starred in the 1980 dramatisation of the H. G. Wells novel The History of Mr Polly. In 1981 she portrayed the young Elspeth Huxley in the television adaptation of the latter's autobiographical book The Flame Trees of Thika.


In 1981 she portrayed Elspeth Huxley in The Flame Trees of Thika. In 1982 she starred as the young Beatrix Potter in The Tale of Beatrix Potter. She was seen in The Happy Valley in 1987 with Denholm Elliott, in which she played a schoolgirl in Kenya in the 1930s. She starred in the channel 4 sitcom Dressing for breakfast in 1995. As well as small parts in various television series, Aird became known for playing Nancy Thorpe/Garvey in Soldier Soldier. In 2000 she starred as Frankie Wharton in Waking the Dead.[2] Aird has done voiceover for various BBC natural history projects (including Wild Mallorca) as well as various TV advertisements. In 2007 she played a clinical psychologist in Channel 4's drama 'Secret Life' and in 2009 took a leading role in Talkback Thames's Monday Monday.


Aird has two children, Joseph (with James Purefoy)[3] and Nelly (with husband Toby Merritt, who is a freelance photographer).



Year Title Role Notes
1992 Carry On Columbus Maria
1996 Intimate Relations Deirdre
1997 Fever Pitch Jo
1998 The Theory of Flight Julie
1999 Dreaming of Joseph Lees Maria
1999 The Criminal Det. Sgt. Rebecca White
2002 Possession Ellen Ash
2006 Scenes of a Sexual Nature Molly


Year Title Role Notes
1980 The History of Mr. Polly Miss Polly TV miniseries
1981 The Flame Trees of Thika Elspeth Grant TV miniseries
1982 Secrets Wendy Ansell TV film
1982 Spider's Web Pippa Hailsham-Brown TV film
1982 The Tale of Beatrix Potter Beatrix Potter (young) TV film
1984 Oxbridge Blues Lucy "The Muse"
1985 Affairs of the Heart Rosemary Bonamy Main role
1986 Seal Morning Rowena Farre TV series
1987 The Happy Valley Juanita Carberry TV film
1988 Inspector Morse Angie Hartman "Last Bus to Woodstock"
1988 Double First Ellen Hobson TV series
1989 Mother Love Emily TV miniseries
1990 Chain Vicky Elliott "Vicky Elliott"
1990 Sea Dragon Ffion "The Pursuit", "The Blood Feud"
1991 Miss Marple Gina Hudd "They Do It With Mirrors"
1991–92 Hope It Rains Jace Elliott TV series
1991–1995 Soldier Soldier Sgt. Nancy Thorpe Regular role (series 1–3, 5)
1993 15: The Life and Death of Philip Knight Karen Painter TV film
1995 Kavanagh QC Judy Simmons "A Family Affair"
1995 Circles of Deceit: Dark Secret Sarah Ellis TV film
1995–1998 Dressing for Breakfast Carla Main role
1997 Have Your Cake and Eat It Allie Gray TV miniseries
1997 Rules of Engagement Dawn Boll TV film
2000–2005 Waking the Dead Frankie Wharton Main role (series 1–4)
2006 Losing It Nancy McNaughton TV film
2006 Casualty Laura Merriman "The Edge of Fear", "Killing Me Softly", "Silent Night"
2007 Secret Life Emma TV film
2007 Torn Sarah Hooper / Alice Hooper TV miniseries
2009 Law & Order: UK Julia Mortimer "Buried"
2009 Monday Monday Alyson Cartmell Main role
2010 Material Girl Caroline "1.2"
2010 Identity Tessa Stein TV miniseries
2011 The Promise Chris Matthews TV miniseries
2011 Midsomer Murders Claire Powell "The Oblong Murders"
2011 The Restaurant Inspector Narrator (voice) "1.1", "1.2"
2011 Page Eight Anna Hervé TV film
2017 Unforgotten Elise Dunphy Regular role (series 2)
2017 Grantchester Alice Dunn "3.3"
2021 A Discovery of Witches Francoise Series 2
2021 Casualty Laura Merriman Series 36:14 - "Remember Me Part 1"
2022 Four Lives Jeanette Taylor Mini-series
2023 Hijack Amanda Main role


  1. ^ Thomson, Anna (2018) "On this day: May 18", Metro, 18 May 2018. Retrieved 21 August 2018
  2. ^ Brown, David (2018) "The stars of Waking the Dead on their new prequel drama – and why the show could be coming back to TV'", Radio Times, 4 March 2018. Retrieved 21 August 2018
  3. ^ Farndale, Nigel (2011) "James Purefoy interview", Daily Telegraph, 13 June 2011. Retrieved 21 August 2018

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