Helen Pearson is a British actor best known for her portrayal of ‘Frankie Osborne’ in the daily soap ‘Hollyoaks.’ Born and raised in Leicester, England, Helen started acting in the late 1980s and first appeared in a minor role in the film ‘Consuming Passions.’ In 1990, she appeared as ‘April McIntosh’ in the soap opera ‘EastEnders.’ It was one of the top-rated and longest-running British soap operas of all time. ‘EastEnders’ did not exactly transform her acting career, but things started to change quickly at the turn of the century. She bagged the role of ‘Carol Wareing’ in the soap ‘Emmerdale’ in 2000 and then earned the role of ‘Frankie Osborne’ in the opera ‘Hollyoaks.’ This turned out to be one of the most-loved characters in the show. Apart from TV, she has been part of a few theater productions too.
Childhood & Early Life
Helen Pearson was born on November 16, 1959, in Leicester, England. She grew up with her younger brother, Richard Cadell, who later became a famous puppeteer.
Helen started auditioning in the mid-1980s. She bagged a small TV role in ‘The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole’ in 1987. She earned her first minor film role in 1988, in the British black comedy ‘Consuming Passions.’ She played a supermarket assistant in the film.
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After an unsuccessful stint with films, Helen turned to TV and bagged a role in the soap opera ‘EastEnders’ in 1990. The show had been launched in 1985 and had quickly become one of the most-watched soap operas in British TV history.
Helen played the short-lived role of ‘April McIntosh’ in the soap. She appeared in four episodes, which were telecast between March 20 and July 10. Although hers was a minor role, Helen portrayed it with grace. This validated the fact that Helen was a perfect soap-opera actor.
In the 1990s, her TV roles dwindled, and this made her turn to stage productions. She played the titular role in the play ‘Educating Rita’ and toured around the country with the crew. She was also associated with the ‘Stephen Joseph Theatre’ based in Scarborough. In addition, she performed for the ‘Hull Truck Theatre Company.’ In between her theater productions, she appeared in the comedy–drama series ‘The Darling Buds of May.’ She also appeared in ‘A Touch of Frost’ and ‘Inspector Morse’ in the 1990s.
As the 2000s arrived, she focused on TV again and landed a role in the soap opera ‘Emmerdale.’ It was a long TV soap and brought Helen in the mainstream limelight again. This also led her toward the most iconic role of her career, in the daily soap ‘Hollyoaks.’
In 2002, Helen began playing the role of ‘Frankie Osborne’ in ‘Hollyoaks.’The soap had begun in the mid-1990s and had become one of the most widely watched TV shows on British TV. Helen appeared on the show for the next 15 years and gradually became the longest-running female character on the show. Critics praised - Helen’s portrayal of ‘Frankie,’ dubbing her as a “feisty blonde.”
After 15 long years, her character finally “died” of a stroke in November 2017. ‘Frankie Osborne’ is widely regarded as one of the most iconic British soap-opera characters of all time. Frankie’s death invited strong reactions from the ardent fans of the soap, while many praised the plot twist.
In 2015, Helen Pearson was arrested for driving under the influence of alcohol in Staffordshire. She was driving without insurance and had three times the legal alcohol limit in her system. Following a trial, she was banned from driving for 26 months and was fined €720 for the insurance offence, €122 for costs, €215 for court criminal charges, and €86 as a victim surcharge. In addition, she was also ordered to do 120 hours of unpaid work.
Helen got married to her partner Paul Faulkner in 2013. She shared the wedding photographs on social media, mentioning that she was “the happiest girl alive.”