Sinead Keenan

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Sinead Keenan (born 27 December 1977[1]) is an Irish actress with a wide range of television, film and stage credits. Keenan is best known to Irish viewers for playing Farrah Phelan in Fair City and is best known to UK viewers for playing the role of werewolf Nina Pickering on BBC Three's supernatural drama Being Human,[2] which began airing in 2009. Keenan has been a regular cast member since Series 3 began airing in 2011. In November 2011, Keenan's on-screen partner, Russell Tovey announced he would be leaving Being Human to work full-time on his BBC Three sitcom, Him & Her.[3] On 9 January 2012, it was announced by show creator Toby Whithouse and confirmed by Keenan on Twitter that she would not be appearing in the fourth series of the supernatural drama.


Keenan is the eldest of three children. Her younger brother and sister, Rory and Grainne,[4] are also actors.[5]

She grew up in Dublin, Ireland. She attended University College Dublin[4] and has a degree in Sociology and History.[6] As a child, Keenan says she wanted to be a lawyer because she loved the US legal drama, Matlock, but as she got older she realised that she actually just wanted to play the part of the lawyer, not be one.[5]


Keenan's first role was in 1999, when she was cast as the teenage girlfriend of Cillian Murphy in the film, Sunburn.[5] After this, she played the character Farrah Phelan in Irish soap opera Fair City for a year. Keenan has stated she would return to Fair City, as another character.[7]

Keenan left Fair City amid fears of becoming type-cast,[8] and moved on to film the movie On the Nose with Cracker actor Robbie Coltrane. Her next television role was as Lisa Cassidy in short-lived Irish sitcom The Cassidys.

Keenan then went on to have guest roles in Murder City, Taggart and Doctors, along with starring in movies Conspiracy of Silence and Trouble with Sex, before landing the role of Kelly Hawkins in ITV's Moving Wallpaper, which ran for two series.

Following this, Keenan played Nina Pickering in Toby Whithouse's Being Human. The actress, and her chemistry with on-screen boyfriend Russell Tovey, was so well liked by Whithouse that he edited the storyline to keep Keenan's character in the show.[citation needed] The character of Nina was retained for the second and third series; in the latter Keenan was upgraded to a main cast member.

Following her success in Being Human, Keenan has had guest roles in Victoria Wood's Mid Life Christmas, Agatha Christie's Poirot, Silent Witness and David Tennant's final episodes of Doctor Who.

Throughout her career, Keenan has had strong roots in theatre becoming a member of the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC), playing parts such as Hermia in A Midsummer Night's Dream[9] and Evie in the original play, The American Pilot.[10] She also starred in Comedy of Errors.[11]

In March 2018, Keenan won the Royal Television Society Programme Award for Actor (Female) for her role as Melanie Jones in Little Boy Blue.[12] In April 2018, it was announced that she had been nominated for a Leading Actress BAFTA TV Award for the same role.[13]

Personal life[edit]

Sinead is 5 feet 1.5 inches (156.2 cm) tall. On 25 September 2011, Keenan announced that she was engaged.[14] Keenan is allergic to chocolate.[15] She married in 2012. Sinead is sister to actress Grainne Keenan.



Year Title Role Notes
1999 Fair City Farrah Phelan
2001 The Cassidys Lisa Cassidy
2004 Murder City Young mother Series 1, Episode 5
2007 Taggart Alic Martin Series 23, Episode 3 - Tenement
2008 Doctors Elena Series 10, Episode 22 - Larp
2008 Moving Wallpaper Kelly Hawkins
2009 Comedy Showcase Wendy Series 2, Episode 4 - The Amazing Dermot
2009 – 2011 Being Human Nina Pickering Series One, Episodes 2–6, Series Two, Episodes 1–4, 7, 8. Series Three, Episodes 1–8
2009 Agatha Christie's Poirot Nora Brent Series 12, Episode 1 - The Clocks
2009 Doctor Who Addams The End Of Time - Part One and Two
2009 Victoria Wood's Mid Life Christmas Delia Smith's secretary
2010 Victoria Wood's Little Cracker Mrs Whitefield Short for Sky1
2011 Silent Witness Naomi Silverlake Series 14, Episode 1–2 - A Guilty Mind
2012 Lip Service Nora Series 2
2013 London Irish Bronagh Channel 4
2013 The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot A Doctor Who fan BBC Red Button
2015 Uncle (TV series) Maggie Series 2, Episode 5 - A Guilty Mind
2017 Little Boy Blue Melanie Jones

Personal Appearances[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
2009 Doctor Who Confidential Herself Lords and Masters, Allons-y!
2011 Alan Carr: Chatty Man Herself Series 5, Episode 7


Year Title Role Notes
1999 Sunburn Margaret Keenan's first role
2001 On The Nose Sinead Delaney
2003 Conspiracy of Silence Majella
2004 Mind Of the Crime Carrie TV movie
2006 Trouble With Sex Kathy

Radio and CD audio drama[edit]

Year Title Role Radio station / production company
2011 Crimes Of Mancunia DCI Lise Lazard BBC Radio 4
2014 Iterations of I Aoife Big Finish Productions


Year Title Role Theatre / notes
2003 Loyal Women Adele The Royal Court Theatre
2005 The American Pilot Evie The Other Place
2005 Comedy of Errors Luciana Royal Shakespeare Theatre
2006 A Midsummer Night's Dream Hermia Novello Theatre

Awards and nominations[edit]

Year Organisation Award Work Result Ref.
2018 Royal Television Society Programme Awards Actor (Female) Little Boy Blue Won [16]
BAFTA TV Awards Best Actress Little Boy Blue Nominated


  1. ^ "BBC Three, Being Human character profile and actress biography". BBC. Retrieved 15 April 2018. 
  2. ^ "Being Human Returns to BBC America 24 July". Archived from the original on 22 September 2015. 
  3. ^ Iqbal, Nosheen (11 November 2011). "Russell Tovey: Why I'm Leaving Being Human (and Loving Him & Her)". The Guardian. Retrieved 12 November 2011. 
  4. ^ a b "Interview: Sinead Keenan, actress". Retrieved 20 December 2010. 
  5. ^ a b c "We Chat To Sinead Keenan". Company Magazine. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  6. ^ "FARRAH AND AWAY; Fair City actress has sights on Hollywood". The Free Library. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  7. ^ "I'd return to Fair someone ELSE". The Free Library. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  8. ^ "SEXY SINEAD SWAPS PUB LIFE FOR BIT OF A LAUGH". The Free Library. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  9. ^ "A Midsummer Night's Dream". Online Review. Archived from the original on 22 September 2015. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  10. ^ "Nina". BBC. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  11. ^ "The Comedy of Errors". The Stage. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  12. ^ "RTS Programme Awards 2018". Royal Television Society. Retrieved 13 April 2018. 
  13. ^ "Bafta TV Awards 2018: All the nominees". BBC News. Retrieved 13 April 2018. 
  14. ^ "Sinead Keenan". Twitter. Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  15. ^ "Sinead Keenan". Retrieved 14 November 2011. 
  16. ^ "RTS Programme Awards 2018 In Partnership With Audio Network". Royal Television Society. Retrieved May 18, 2018. 

External links[edit]