Jenny Seagrove

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Jenny Seagrove
Jenny Seagrove crop.jpg
Seagrove in 1988
Jennifer Ann Seagrove

(1957-07-04) 4 July 1957 (age 65)
  • Actress
  • animal rights activist
  • singer
Years active1980–present
(m. 1984; div. 1988)

Jennifer Ann Seagrove (born 4 July 1957) is an English actress. She trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and first came to attention playing the lead in a television dramatisation of Barbara Taylor Bradford's A Woman of Substance (1984) and the film Local Hero (1983). She starred in the thriller Appointment with Death (1988) and William Friedkin's horror film The Guardian (1990). She later played Louisa Gould in Another Mother's Son (2017).

She is known for her role as the character of Jo Mills in the long-running BBC drama series Judge John Deed (2001–07). Her credits as a voiceover artist include a series of Waitrose television advertisements.

Early life[edit]

Seagrove was born Jennifer Ann Seagrove in Kuala Lumpur, Malaya (now Malaysia) in 1957, to British parents, Pauline and Derek Seagrove.[1] Her father ran an import-export firm, which afforded the family a privileged lifestyle.[1] When Seagrove was less than a year old, her mother suffered a stroke, and was unable to care for her. Seagrove attended St Hilary's School in Godalming, Surrey, England from the age of nine.[1]

After leaving school, Seagrove began attending acting classes and trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, in spite of her parents' wishes for her to have a career as a professional cook.[1] Seagrove developed bulimia in her early adulthood, but recovered: "I could feel myself tearing my stomach, and I kind of pulled out of it," she said. "It was a very slow process."[1]



Seagrove's theatre work includes the title role in Jane Eyre at Chichester Festival Theatre (1986); Ilona in The Guardsman at Theatr Clwyd (1992); and Bett in King Lear in New York, again at Chichester (1992).

She played opposite Tom Conti in Present Laughter at the Globe Theatre (1993); Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker at the Comedy Theatre (1994); Dead Guilty with Hayley Mills at the Apollo Theatre (1995); Hurlyburly for the Peter Hall Company when the production transferred from the London Old Vic to the Queen's Theatre (1997); co-starred with Martin Shaw in the Parisian thriller Vertigo (Theatre Royal Windsor October 1998) and then with Anthony Andrews (also Windsor, 1998).

In 2000 she appeared in Brief Encounter at the Lyric Theatre; followed by Neil Simon's The Female Odd Couple at the Apollo (2001). Again at the Lyric Theatre in 2002 she played the title role in Somerset Maugham's The Constant Wife, followed by a revival of David Hare's The Secret Rapture in 2003, and The Night of the Iguana two years later in 2005.

Coming to the West End from a UK tour, she played Leslie Crosbie in Maugham's The Letter at Wyndham's Theatre (2007), again co-starring with Anthony Andrews.[2]

In December 2007, she played Marion Brewster-Wright in the Garrick Theatre revival of Alan Ayckbourn's dark, three-act comedy Absurd Person Singular.[3]

In 2008, she and Martin Shaw starred in Murder on Air, at the Theatre Royal, Windsor.

In 2011, she once again starred alongside Martin Shaw in The Country Girl at the Apollo Theatre, playing the part of Georgie Elgin.

In early 2014, she appeared as Julia in a revival of Noël Coward's Fallen Angels. The production was produced by her partner Bill Kenwright and also starred Sara Crowe.[4]

In 2015, she and Martin Shaw starred in an adaptation of Brief Encounter, using an original radio script from 1947 and staged as "a live broadcast from a BBC radio studio", at the Theatre Royal Windsor, playing the parts of Laura Jesson and Alec Harvey.[5]

Returning to the West End in October 2017, Seagrove played Chris MacNeil in The Exorcist at the Phoenix Theatre.[6]


Seagrove starred alongside Rupert Everett in the Academy Award-winning short film A Shocking Accident (1982), directed by James Scott. Her first major film appearance was in Local Hero (1983) in which she played a mysterious environmentalist with webbed feet. Roles in a number of films including Savage Islands (aka, Nate and Hayes, 1983) opposite Tommy Lee Jones and Appointment with Death (1988) followed. One of her lead starring roles was in The Guardian (1990), directed by William Friedkin, in which she played an evil babysitter. In 2017, she played the lead role in Another Mother's Son, starring as Louisa Gould, a member of the Channel Islands resistance movement during World War II, who famously sheltered an escaped Russian slave worker in Jersey and was later gassed to death in 1945 at Ravensbrück concentration camp.


Seagrove first came to mass public attention in the 10-episode series of the BBC production Diana (1984) adapted from an R. F. Delderfield novel, in which she played the title role as the adult Diana Gaylord-Sutton (the child having been played in the first two episodes by Patsy Kensit). Seagrove starred in two American-produced television miniseries based upon the first novels of Barbara Taylor Bradford: as Emma Harte in A Woman of Substance (1984) and Paula Fairley in Hold the Dream (1986). She portrayed stage actress Lillie Langtry in Incident at Victoria Falls (1992), a UK made-for-television film. As the female lead, Melanie James in the film Magic Moments (1989), she starred with John Shea, who played the magician Troy Gardner with whom she falls in love.

Seagrove, along with Simon Cowell, presented Wildlife SOS (1997), a documentary series about the work of dedicated animal lovers who save injured and orphaned wild animals brought into their sanctuary.

Most of Seagrove's filmed work since 1990 has been for television. Between 2001 and 2007, she appeared as QC Jo Mills in the series Judge John Deed. She was the subject of This Is Your Life in 2003 when she was surprised by Michael Aspel.[citation needed]

With John Thaw she guest starred in the episode "The Sign of Four" (1987) of the series Sherlock Holmes. She guest starred in episodes of Lewis ("The Point of Vanishing", 2009) and Identity ("Somewhere They Can't Find Me", 2010). A few years later, she appeared in the series Endeavour (the prequel to the Inspector Morse series), in the episode "Rocket" (2013).[7]

Personal life[edit]

Seagrove is an animal rights activist and an advocate for deregulation of the herbal remedy industry in the United Kingdom, and promotes a vegetarian diet.[8]

Since 1994, her partner has been the theatrical producer Bill Kenwright, chairman of Everton F.C.[9] The couple appeared together as contestants on a charity edition of ITV1's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, winning £1,000. They also appeared together on a celebrity edition of the BBC's Pointless which aired on 3 January 2014.[10]

Seagrove was previously married to British and Indian actor Madhav Sharma from 1984 to 1988 and then dated film director Michael Winner until 1993.[11][12]

Mane Chance Sanctuary[edit]

Mane Chance Sanctuary is a registered charity that provides care for rescued horses, based in Compton, Guildford. The charity aims to "provide sanctuary and relief from suffering for horses, while promoting humane behaviour to all animals and mutually beneficial relationships with people who need them".[13]

Mane Chance Sanctuary was established in 2011 by Seagrove, who stepped in to support a friend facing financial difficulties.[14] Seagrove was able to secure land on Monkshatch Garden Farm and has since grown the charity which today cares for over 30 horses using a unique system of equine welfare.

The charity's trustees include the actor Sir Timothy Ackroyd Bt. and the philanthropist Simrin Choudhrie.[14] The chairman is James McCarthy.

In 2014, she performed a duet alongside singer Peter Howarth called The Main Chance, as part of a cause for the Mane Chance Sanctuary.


Year Title Role Notes
1980 Dead End Short film
1982 Moonlighting Anna
1982 A Shocking Accident Sally Short film
1983 Local Hero Marina
1983 Savage Islands Sophie
1985 In Like Flynn Terri McLane Television film
1986 A Dangerous Kind of Love
1988 Appointment with Death Dr. Sarah King
1988 A Chorus of Disapproval Fay Hubbard
1989 Magic Moments Melanie James Television film
1990 The Guardian Camilla
1990 Bullseye! Health Club Receptionist and Girl with John Cleese
1991 Deadly Game Lucy Television film
1991 Some Other Spring Helen Television film
1992 Incident at Victoria Falls Lillie Langtry Television film
1992 Miss Beatty's Children Jane Beatty
1999 Don't Go Breaking My Heart Suzanne
2001 Zoe Cecilia
2012 Run for Your Wife Taxi passenger
2012 Pranks Joyce Short film
2017 Another Mother's Son Louisa Gould
2021 Off the Rails Kate Completed


Year Title Role Notes
1982 The Woman in White Laura Fairlie Mini-series
1982 Crown Court Margaret Anderson Television series; 1 episode
1982 The Brack Report Angela Brack Television series; 10 episodes
1983 Diana Diana Gayelorde-Sutton Mini-series
1984 Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense Sara Helston Television series; 1 episode
1985 A Woman of Substance Young Emma Hart Mini-series
1985 The Hitchhiker Meg Television series; 1 episode
1985 Hold the Dream Paula Fairley Mini-series
1987 The Sign of Four Miss Mary Morstan Television episode
1989 The Betrothed The Noble Lady in Monza Mini-series
2000 Casualty Summer Television series; 1 episode
2001 Peak Practice Sister Frances Television series; 1 episode
2001–07 Judge John Deed Jo Mills Television series; 29 episodes
2009 Lewis Cecile Rattenbury Television series; 1 episode
2010 Identity Miriam Brolin Television series; 1 episode
2013 Endeavour Nora Broom Television series; 1 episode
2015 X Company Television series; 1 episode


  1. ^ a b c d e Cooper, Jonathan; Farrell, Mary H.J. Farrell (21 May 1990). "After Years of Fighting Her Own Demons, Jenny Seagrove Strikes Terror as the Guardian's Evil Nanny". People. Archived from the original on 7 February 2016.
  2. ^ "The Letter". The Stage. 3 May 2007. Archived from the original on 6 June 2007.
  3. ^ "Absurd Person Singular". The Stage Reviews. Archived from the original on 19 September 2012. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  4. ^ Smurthwaite, Nick (24 January 2014). "The Stage / Reviews / Fallen Angels". The Stage. Archived from the original on 19 February 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  5. ^ Dix, Barry (16 February 2015). "Review: Brief Encounter On Air, at The Theatre Royal, Windsor". MyLondon. Retrieved 5 October 2020.
  6. ^ Tripney, Natasha (1 November 2017). "The Exorcist review, Phoenix Theatre, London, 2017". The Stage.
  7. ^ McCulloch, Dan (28 April 2013). "Endeavour: exclusive guide to episode three – Rocket". Radio Times. Archived from the original on 14 March 2016. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  8. ^ "Jenny Seagrove: a veggie of substance". Archived from the original on 7 May 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2009.
  9. ^ "'My personal life was a disaster' | Theatre story | Arts".
  10. ^ Mainwaring, Rachel (14 December 2013). "Connie Fisher hosts A Night at the Musicals". Western Mail. Archived from the original on 25 December 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  11. ^ "Michael Winner". The Daily Telegraph. London. 21 January 2013. Archived from the original on 26 February 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  12. ^ "Film director Michael Winner: Life in pictures". The Daily Telegraph. London. 21 January 2013. Archived from the original on 26 February 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  13. ^ "Mane Chance Sanctuary Website – accessed 4 November 2018".
  14. ^ a b Lambert, Victoria (25 July 2015). "'We are at the start of a journey to see horses as healers'" – via

External links[edit]

Media related to Jenny Seagrove at Wikimedia Commons