Ruth Gemmell

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Ruth Gemmell
Born ( 1967-01-02) 2 January 1967 (age 48)
Darlington, County Durham, England
Occupation Actress
Years active 1991–present
Spouse(s) Ray Stevenson (1997–2005)

Ruth Gemmell (born 2 January 1967) is an English actress.

Early life[edit]

Ruth Gemmell was born in Darlington, County Durham, England. She has three brothers.[1] She attended an all-girls' school in Darlington called Polam Hall School.[1] Her parents divorced when she was a child and she moved with her mother to Darlington from Barnard Castle. Later she moved to London, to live with her father, to pursue her acting dream. She states; "I moved to London because I assumed you had to go to drama school there...I didn't know any better. Having not lived with my dad before I thought it was an ideal opportunity, which is crazy now!"[2]

She trained at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London.


Gemmell has played a variety of roles mainly in theatres plus TV dramas. She played the leading female role in the 1997 film Fever Pitch starring opposite Colin Firth[3] and had another leading role in the comedy/drama January 2nd (2006).

In 2004 she starred in Tracy Beaker's Movie of Me as the mother of the title character, who abandoned her when she was a baby, leading her to spend life in a children's home.

From January 2009 she became a recurring character in EastEnders as Debra Dean, the mother of a teenage girl who, identically to her role in Tracy Beaker's Movie of Me, abandoned her daughter when she was an infant.

In August 2009, she starred as Rebecca Sands in two episodes of The Bill.[4]

Ruth has appeared three times in the BBC's police drama Waking the Dead, playing two different characters. Her first appearance was in 2002 in the episode Special Relationships as DI Jess Worral, a former lover of DSI Boyd. She next appeared in the episode Sins of seventh season in 2008 as Linda Cummings, an exceptionally intelligent serial killer. Gemmell reprised the role of Cummings in Endgame, the fourth episode of the eighth season of the show. The storyline had Cummings manipulating Boyd and revealed that Cummings' accomplice was responsible for the drugs overdose that killed Boyd's son Luke. The role reprisal of Cummings is a first in the show's history.

Gemmell's ex-husband Ray Stevenson has also appeared in the show as consultant child abductor in the episode Fugue State.

Ruth starred in Episode 8 of Jimmy McGovern's BBC drama Moving On playing the role of Joanne, in November 2010.[5]

In November 2011, Ruth played Lady Shonagon in the adaptation for BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour of "The Pillow Book", by Robert Forrest. She appeared as Jen, the wife of an adulterous civil servant, in Channel 4 drama Utopia, in early 2013.

Television work[edit]

Film work[edit]

Theatre work[edit]

  • Betrayal
  • The Weir
  • Nabokov's Gloves
  • The Turn of the Screw
  • Othello
  • Measure for Measure
  • Uncle Vanya
  • An Ideal Husband
  • The Winter's Tale
  • The Second Mrs Tanqueray
  • The Importance of Being Earnest
  • A Tale of Two Cities
  • Death and the Maiden
  • Coram Boy

She performed in Macbeth and King Lear for the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2004/2005.

Radio work[edit]

Date Title Role Director Station
11 August 200815 August 2008 The Pillow Book[7] Shonagon Lu Kemp BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour Drama
8 June 200912 June 2009 The Pillow Book (series 2)[8] Shonagon Lu Kemp BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour Drama
30 October 2010 The Vanishing[9] Lieneke Kirsty Williams BBC Radio 4 Saturday Play
26 May 201130 May 2011 The Spy Who Came in From the Cold[10] Liz Gold written by John le Carré dramatised by Robert Forrest BBC Radio 4
15 November 201019 November 2010 The Pillow Book (series 3)[11] Shonagon Lu Kemp BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour Drama
31 October 20114 November 2011 The Pillow Book (series 4)[12] Shonagon Lu Kemp BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour Drama

Personal life[edit]

Gemmell was married in Westminster, London, in 1997 to actor Ray Stevenson, whom she met in 1995 during the filming of TV drama Band of Gold. The couple divorced in 2005.[citation needed]


External links[edit]