DoctorDoctor Who Guide

Dervla Kirwan

Last updated 05 March 2013


Dervla Kirwan
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Dervla Kirwan

Born: Sun 24th October 1971 (age: 42)



Dervla Kirwan is an Irish television and stage actress famous for roles in British television shows which included Ballykissangel and Goodnight Sweetheart among others. 

She also appeared in the Doctor Who Christmas special episode, "The Next Doctor" and provided the voiceovers for the well-known "This is not just food" television advertising campaign for UK retailer Marks & Spencer.

Kirwan was born in ChurchtownDublinIreland. Her father , Peter Kirwan was an insurance broker, and her mother, Maureen O'Driscoll was a language teacher. 

Her first credited TV roles were in the TV series Troubles in 1988 and The Lilac Bus in 1990 alongside Stephanie Beacham based on Maeve Binchy's novel.

Kirwan moved to London when she was sixteen when she was cast in a play at the Bush Theatre. She won acclaim in 1988 for her performance as the factory girl Linda in A Handful of Stars, the Bush Theatre premiere of the first play in Billy Roche's Wexford Trilogy. In 1992, again at the Bush, she starred in a revival of the complete trilogy.

She got her television break in the 1991 BBC Scotland production of A Time To Dance, adapted by Melvyn Bragg from his own novel, playing Bernadette Kennedy. In the same year, she also appeared in the play Water Music at the Cockpit Theatre, written by award-winning playwright Lyndon Morgans (singer-songwriter with the Welsh folk noir band Songdog). In 1992, she also starred in Hush by April De Angelis at theRoyal Court Theatre, while January 1994 found her playing in Peter Hall's seasonal production of Georges Feydeau's farce An Absolute Turkey at the Globe Theatre

Kirwan briefly appeared in Casualty, and in the first three series of Goodnight Sweetheart alongside Nicholas Lyndhurst. In 1997, she sang with Dustin the Turkey on his cover of "Fairytale of New York" for his album Faith of Our Feathers.

For 23 episodes, from 1996–1998, she appeared in Ballykissangel in the role of Assumpta Fitzgerald. Assumpta is the landlady of BallyK's only pub, Fitzgeralds, and is no friend of the church - until Father Peter Clifford (Stephen Tompkinson) is posted to the village from his previous parish in Manchester. She also continued this role for a Comic Relief special of The Vicar of Dibley, and in a Father Ted special. Kirwan 's performance in Ballykissangel won her the National TV Award for Best Actress in 1996, and the Irish Post Award for Best Irish Entertainer in 1997. In 1998, she starred alongside Christopher Eccleston in the Michael Winterbottom film With Or Without You as Belfast girl Rosie Boyd.

In 1999, she appeared in another BBC production, a made for TV Christmas film called The Greatest Store in the World. She played the single mum of two girls who are made homeless a few days before Christmas. Kirwan co-starred with Brian Blessed and Peter Capaldi. In 2001, she starred as Emma Rose in a BBC series Hearts and Bones alongside Sarah ParishAmanda HoldenHugo Speer and Damien Lewis. The show ran for two series. She also starred in the Sky TV series The Bombmaker as a former IRA bomb maker. That year she also appeared in a stage production of Dangerous Corners by JB Priestley in Leeds alongside now husband Rupert Penry-Jones.

In 2003, Dervla again appeared on stage with Penry-Jones in Les Liason Dangereuses at the Bristol Old Vic directed by Samuel West.

Kirwan starred in School for Seduction, a 2004 film which also starred Kelly Brook. She appeared in the BBC 1 crime drama series 55 Degrees North with Don Gilet, which aired in 2004. She returned for a second series in 2005. The series was shown in the US under the title The Night Detective. In 2005, she also appeared on the Lyttelton stage at the National Theatre in the role of Alice in Brian Friel's Aristocrats. In 2006, she played Bertha in Exiles at the National Theatre.

In 2007, she appeared in the BBC drama True Dare Kiss and on stage in Harold Pinter's Betrayal at the Donmar Warehouse.

In 2009, Kirwan was in the BBC drama Moving On, where she played Laura in the episode Dress To Impress. She also guest starred in Law & Order: UK, playing the role of Beatrice McArdle.

Kirwan appeared in the Irish film Ondine alongside Colin Farrell and Stephen Rea which was released in 2009. She played Maura, the alcoholic bitter ex-girlfriend of Colin's character Syracuse. Kirwan won the award for Best Supporting Actress in a Film at the 2010 Irish Film and Television Awards (IFTAs) for her role in Ondine.

Kirwan appeared in the BBC drama series Material Girl, which aired in January 2010. She was also cast in the role of Bundle in Agatha Christie's Marple.

Kirwan also appeared in the four-part BBC drama The Silence in 2010.[7] She played the role of the warm-hearted aunt of a young deaf girl who witnessed a murder. The Silence aired in July 2010. For her role as Maggie, Kirwan won the Dagger for Best Supporting Actress at the 2010 Crime Thriller Awards.

Kirwan has also been the subject of an episode of Who Do You Think You Are? in which she found out more about her Irish and distant Jewish descent. Her great uncle was the Irish nationalist leader, Michael Collins. It was first shown on August 2, 2010.

In 2011, Kirwan worked on Injustice a five-part psychological thriller on ITV written by Anthony Horowitz. She starred as Jane Travers, wife of main character, Will Travers played by James Purefoy.

From April to May 2012, Dervla appeared on stage at the Chichester Festival Theatre in a Jeremy Herrin production of Uncle Vanya. Dervla played Sonya alongside an exceptional cast which included Roger Allam (as Vanya), Timothy West and Lara Pulver. The play received warm reviews and response to Dervla's performance was generally postive.

In June 2012, Dervla appeared on screen as Alex Demoys alongside Christopher Eccleston in the three part BBC1 drama miniseries Blackout.

Biography from the Wikipedia article, licensed under CC-BY-SA






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