Leah Bracknell

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Leah Bracknell
Born Alison Rosalind Bracknell
(1964-07-12) 12 July 1964 (age 52)
Westminster, London, England
Residence Worthing, England
Occupation Actress
Years active 1976–present
Children 2

Leah Bracknell (born Alison Rosalind Bracknell 12 July 1964 in Westminster, London) is an English actress, best known for her role as Zoe Tate in Emmerdale. She is also a qualified teacher with the British School of Yoga and designs and produces her own line of jewellery.[1][2]

She is the daughter of the late English television director David Ian Bracknell (1932-1987) and Chinese-Malaysian actress Li-Er Hwang.[3][4][5]


Leah's parents, David Bracknell and Li-Er Hwang, met while filming The World of Suzie Wong in Hong Kong in 1959. David was part of the MGM Production Team and Li-Er played the part of "Wednesday Lu" in the film. The adopted name "Leah" is an anglicization of her mother's name "Li-Er".

Bracknell grew up in London and Oxford and spent a year in New Zealand and Fiji.[6] She first appeared on TV series The Chiffy Kids in 1976, which was directed by her father, David. After attending the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art within two years of leaving she was cast in the ITV1 soap opera, Emmerdale playing the role of vet and land owner, Zoe Tate. She appeared in the programme for 16 years (with breaks, including two spells of maternity leave) until leaving the serial in 2005. She was initially only due to leave for nine months but has not returned since.[7] The character was the first lesbian on a British soap and was one of the longest-featured gay characters on television, as well as lead actress on the show.

Bracknell won the 'Best Exit' award at the British Soap Awards in May 2006 for her exit from the role of Zoe Tate, she was part of the scene, which was nominated for "Spectacular Scene of the Year". In 2002 she was nominated for 'Most Popular Actress' at the National Television Awards and "Best Dramatic Performance" at the British Soap Awards. She is a member of the Screen Actors Guild.[citation needed]

After leaving Emmerdale, she returned to the theatre appearing as Mrs Manningham in "Gaslight" and "Strangers on a Train". In 2008, she joined the touring Theatreworks production of Turn of the Screw to play the lead role, that of the governess. She has also appeared in the TV dramas Judge John Deed, Casualty 1907 and in the daytime soap Doctors. In June 2007, she joined the cast of ITV1 daytime soap The Royal Today as Matron Jenny Carrington.[1]

In October 2016, Bracknell revealed that she was suffering from terminal lung cancer.[8] A fundraising appeal to pay for treatment in Germany hit its target of £50,000 within three days.[9]


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