15 August 1973 |
Marc Bannerman (born 15 August 1973) is an actor. His most notable role has been his portrayal of Gianni di Marco in the BBC soap opera, EastEnders. His character was introduced in 1998, but was axed three years later by the executive producer of EastEnders, John Yorke. He has since appeared on various television and reality television programmes, most notably I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! in 2007. His appearance on I'm a Celebrity… made headlines in the UK due to his flirtations with singer Cerys Matthews, which publicly ended his two-year relationship with actress Sarah Matravers.
Whilst training at The Courtyard Theatre Company, he played a variety of roles ranging from Palamon in The Canterbury Tales to performing in Nosferatu. This diversity followed him into his career with television performances as Paul in The Stalkers Apprentice, Gangster in On the Eighth Ball, Phil in The Bill and Malcolm in Chalk for the BBC.
In 1997, Bannerman auditioned for the role of Gianni di Marco, a member of a new Italian family introduced to the BBC's award-winning serial drama EastEnders. He got the part by telling the producers he was half-Italian and half-Sardinian. He first appeared on screen in January 1998 and remained in the role until 2000, when all his character's family, bar his on-screen brother Beppe (Michael Greco), were axed by executive producer John Yorke.
Since his departure, Bannerman irregularly appeared in two series of the comedy series Time Gentlemen Please alongside Julia Sawalha, Phil Daniels and Al Murray. He also appeared as his idol Elvis Presley in Celebrity Stars in their eyes. He has presented Wish You Were Here...? for ITV, and has also played guest leads in The Grimleys and Dream Team on Sky One. He has made appearances in the BBC hospital drama Holby City, in the ITV2 drama Footballers' Wives: Extra Time, the ITV game-show Celebrity Wrestling and Hotel Babylon (2008).
Stage appearances include King Rat in Dick Whittington at Eastbourne, and David Freeman in In Two Minds at the Theatre Royal, Windsor and the Churchill Theatre, Bromley. Bannerman has also appeared as the Beast in Spillers Pantomimes productions of Beauty and the Beast at the Woodville Halls, Gravesend.
In November 2007, Bannerman was a contestant on the 7th series of the ITV reality show, "I'm a Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here!", a popularity contest that transports various celebrities to the Australian jungle to undergo unpleasant trials. He was persuaded to enter by his former EastEnders co-star Dean Gaffney, who appeared in the 2006 series of "I'm a Celebrity...". Bannerman polled the least votes from viewers and was the first celebrity to be evicted from the show. It has been suggested that he failed to garner support from the voting public due to "his dalliance" with fellow contestant Cerys Matthews, whom he openly flirted with despite being in a long-term relationship with actress Sarah Matravers.
In 2014 he agreed to take on the leading role in Spencer Hawken's No Reasons. The movie begins shooting in March 2014, and reunites Bannerman with Landscape Of Lies co-stars Lucinda Rhodes and Daniel Peacock.
Bannerman has admitted to suffering from depression and turning to alcohol as a result of being axed from EastEnders in 2000. In 2005 he commented, "I just didn't know what was happening to me. The axeing came like a bolt out of the blue and it hit me very badly. I suffered depression and turned to the bottle to get me out of it. I also started eating all the wrong things. As a result, my weight ballooned to 17½ stone...I remember feeling very bitter, especially at the way they got rid of us. There was no warning - we were just out. The way it was done just wasn't very nice. I mean, you are given some sort of job security with a part in a popular show and you think you are set up for a while at least. But then it's just taken from you...I struggled financially for a time."
Bannerman dated his EastEnders co-star Nadia Sawalha, who played Gianni's love interest Annie Palmer, for nearly four years. Despite reports in 2001 that they were planning to marry, they split in 2002. Bannerman dated Coronation Street star Suranne Jones early in 2005 before beginning a relationship with actress Sarah Matravers later that year. Their relationship came under media scrutiny following Bannerman's appearance on the reality television show I'm a Celebrity… in 2007. While participating in the show, Bannerman formed a flirtatious relationship with the Welsh singer, Cerys Matthews and, following his eviction from the show, Bannerman confessed that he and Matthews had connected on a "very deep level" and that he had struggled with his emotions whilst being in the camp with her. As a result of his closeness to Matthews, Bannerman and Matravers split, and Matravers has since alleged that Bannerman had beaten her on a number of occasions. On 11 December 2007, the BBC reported that Bannerman had been arrested following a confrontation with photographers outside a Welsh pub whilst visiting Matthews.
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