Gemma Craven
Born Rita Gemma Gabriel

1 June 1950 (age 63) DublinIreland

Occupation Actress, Performer, Singer, Musician
Years active 1972–present
Spouse(s) Frazer Hines (1981–1984)

David Beamish (1990–1996)

Gemma Craven (born Rita Gemma Gabriel; 1 June 1950) is an award-winning Irish actress. She is best known for her role as Joan Parker, the frigid wife of Arthur (Bob Hoskins), in the BBC TV drama Pennies From Heaven (1978).


 [hide*1 Biography


Gemma Craven's family moved from Dublin to England in 1960, and she attended the same school as Helen Mirren, St Bernard's Convent High School for Girls in Westcliff-on-Sea in Essex.[1][2]

She appeared as Cinderella in the film The Slipper and the Rose (1976) opposite Richard Chamberlain.[3] Cast as an unknown, she was spotted by one of the producers while performing at the Bristol Old Vic in a production of The Threepenny Opera. The local press touted the event as her own "Cinderella" story. The musical gave Craven an opportunity to shine with her impressive singing talents.

In London's West End, she starred opposite Tom Conti in the musical They're Playing Our Song for which she won a Laurence Olivier Award for her performance,[4] the lead role in South Pacific and in Noël Coward's Private Livesopposite Marc SindenTony Anholt and his wife Tracey Childs which toured throughout 1991 and into 1992.[5] She also played Josie in Boy George's Taboo and features on the OCR singing "Independent Woman".[6][7]

She appeared as Joan Parker, the frigid wife of Arthur (Bob Hoskins), in the original television version of Dennis Potter's Pennies From Heaven (1978) and has made guest appearances on Robin of Sherwood (1985), The BillThe Morecambe and Wise ShowThe Two Ronnies and Father Ted (episode "And God Created Woman"). in the popular English drama Midsomer Murders episode, "Shot at Dawn" as Judy Hicks, the wife of Dave Hicks (Brian Capron).

Her most substantial film role was as Minna Wagner opposite Richard Burton's Richard Wagner, in the 1983 film Wagner. She also made an appearance in The Mystery of Edwin Drood (1993).

On radio, she played the part of Helen in the BBC Radio 4 comedy Clare in the Community.

She appeared on Irish television in the popular medical drama series The Clinic which runs weekly on RTÉ One.

In November/December 2008, Craven appeared in Hollyoaks Later as Erin "Ma" Fisher - Mother to MalachyKris and Bernadette.

In 1980 she had a one off show for BBC Radio 1 in Star Special and also one off shows for BBC Radio 2 in 1981 and 1982.

Personal life[edit]Edit

Craven was married from 1981-1984 to actor Frazer Hines.

Craven now lives in Blackpool with "Lord Odin" who changed his name, by deed poll, from his birth name of Gary Womack. (Previously, Womack had his name changed to Mickey Mouse.)

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