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Jessica Martin (born 1962) is an English actress, singer and impressionist whose career has diversified to include comic writing and illustrating.
Life and career
She graduated with a degree in English and Drama from Westfield College, London University and Central School of Speech and Drama. After graduating she became an impressionist on the fringe circuit, performing alongside Rory Bremner and Harry Enfield. She was given a regular slot on Spitting Image and became the only female member of London Weekend's Copy Cats. Fellow team members included Bobby Davro with whom she partnered for three series of his weekly show Bobby Davro's TV Weekly. Martin and Gary Wilmot went on to star in the West End hit show Me and My Girl. They performed for two years at the Adelphi Theatre and did a national tour.
Martin went on to play leading musical roles including Mabel in the 1996 production of Mack and Mabel at the Piccadilly Theatre, Nellie Forbush in South Pacific, Mrs Lovett in Sweeney Todd and Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard. She also guest-starred in the 1988 Doctor Who serial The Greatest Show in the Galaxy, starring Sylvester McCoy as the Doctor, in which she played a punk werewolf. Many years later, she provided the voice of the Queen in Voyage of the Damned, the 2007 Christmas special, which starred David Tennant as the Doctor.
She played the Lady of the Lake in the national tour of Spamalot in 2011, Lottie Ames in the award-winning production of Mack and Mabel and Lottie Lacey in the revival of William Inge's Dark at the Top of the Stairs.
In October 2015, she joined the cast of Elf: The Musical, playing the role of Emily Hobbs at the Dominion Theatre. In September 2016, she was featured in Robert J. Sherman's Bumblescratch playing the dual roles of Bethesda Bumblescratch and the Widow MacGregor at the Adelphi Theatre. She was named a Variety Club Celebrity Ambassador for her work in Bumblescratch and her other works.
Martin has made numerous radio appearances including a specially written one off special for BBC Radio 2, Cybill Liberty, written by Mark Brisenden featuring a 1940s female radio detective Cybill Liberty, including Judy Garland and Carmen Miranda all played by Jessica.
Martin provides voice acting for the English-language version of the PlayStation 2 game Dragon Quest VIII, most notably as Empyrea, and has also performed as a voice over artist for a range of animations and commercials. She has also recorded several audio books including Mary Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Men.
In 2004, Martin recorded a song for the CD Weird & Wonderful - A Collection Of Songs by Alexander S. Bermange celebrating weirdos and weirdness, featuring sixteen West End stars (released on Dress Circle Records). In 2008, she joined author and columnist Mark Steyn to release a cover of "It's a Marshmallow World", a holiday song first popularised by Bing Crosby.
Her first published work was a story illustrated by her 'mentor' Mark Buckingham which was included in the Thought Bubble Anthology 2013. Her first comic written and drawn by herself was It Girl about silent film superstar Clara Bow. It was self-published in November 2013 and was selected as one of the "Ten Must Own Comics 2013" by Broken Frontier's Small Press website.
Her first graphic novel Elsie Harris Picture Palace, set in the 1930s British film industry, was shortlisted in the Myriad First Graphic Novel Prize 2014. It was published in Spring 2015.
Her new graphic novel 'Life Drawing: A Life Under Lights' is a memoir about her life as an actress, singer and artist. Published with Unbound and published Spring 2019.
- "Full casting announced for Elf at Dominion". whatsonstage.com. Whats On Stage. 18 August 2015. Retrieved 28 October 2015.
- "Variety Awards Darren Day, Michael Xavier and Jessica Martin Ambassador Status". Bumblescratch - A New Musical by Robert J Sherman. 5 September 2016.
- "West End Wilma – Review: Bumblescratch (Adelphi Theatre) ★★★★".
- "Variety Honours Five West End Actors and Musical Directors". variety.org.uk. 26 September 2016.
- "It's a Marshmallow World - Macleans.ca". Blog.macleans.ca. 26 June 2014. Retrieved 23 July 2014.
- Oliver, Andy (2 January 2014). "Celebrating 2013: Ten UK Small Press Comics You Need to Own". Broken Frontier. Retrieved 3 February 2019.
- Official website
- Jessica Martin on IMDb
- Jessica Martin, Star of Stage, Screen and… Comics?! December 2014 interview