Childhood & Early Life
Jessica Hynes was born Tallulah Jessica Elina Stevenson, on October 30, 1972, in Lewisham, England. She was quite young when her parents divorced, and following their separation, she was raised single-handedly by her mother. They moved to Brighton.
Her parents divorced when she was quite young, but he kept in touch with Jessica. He worked as a textile designer and an artist, which influenced Jessica in her early years. Her mother, on the other hand, worked in the tourism industry initially and then as a teacher.
Even as a child, Jessica had deep artistic inclinations. The writer inside her grew as she stepped into her teenage years. She would write unique and bizarre science-fiction stories.
Following her high-school graduation, she joined the ‘National Youth Theatre’ and participated in several plays organized by the group. At the age of 18, she moved out of her house to build a career in acting. She set base in London.
There, she began doing small comedy shows. She also did many theatrical plays and auditioned for TV and film roles.
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She made her theatrical debut with the ‘National Youth Theatre’ in 1990, when she appeared in a key role in the play ‘Blitz.’ She appeared in major roles in plays until she made her screen debut in 1993. Although she continued to work in theatrical plays, she appeared in plays less frequently after venturing into movies.
She made her screen debut with the 1993 film titled ‘Swing Kids,’ essaying the supporting role of ‘Helga.’ The film was a moderate critical success but fared badly at the box office.
She also appeared in the film ‘The Baby of Macon,’ which featured her in the supporting role of a midwife. The film premiered at the ‘Cannes Film Festival’ and was met with critical acclaim. Following the theatrical release of the film, she focused on her comedy and TV career and took a break from working in films.
After making her TV debut in 1994, with a small role in the series titled ‘The House of Eliott,’ she appeared in small/guest roles in series such as ‘Tears Before Bedtime,’ ‘Mash and Peas,’ and ‘Asylum.’
In 1997, she tasted success with her guest role in a single episode of the popular British series ‘Midsomer Murders.’ She played ‘Judith Lessiter’ in one of its episodes, ‘The Killings at Badger’s Drift.’
The following year, she played various characters on the sketch-comedy show titled ‘Unnatural Acts.’ She appeared in four episodes of its first season.
In 1998, she was signed to portray ‘Cheryl Carroll’ in the successful sitcom titled ‘The Royle Family,’ which ran for three seasons, from 1998 to 2000. Following this, the series ran specials till the late 2000s. The sitcom was a huge critical and commercial success, with Jessica receiving a lot of praises for her portrayal. At the 1999 ‘British Comedy Awards,’ she was awarded the ‘Best Female Comedy Newcomer’ award.
In 1999, she appeared in the lead role in the sitcom ‘Spaced,’ co-starring Simon Pegg. They co-wrote the sitcom. The series was directed by the Edgar Wright and was a huge critical and commercial success, running for two seasons, spanning 14 episodes.
Her performance as ‘Daisy’ in the sitcom earned her the ‘Best TV Comedy Actress’ at the 2001 ‘British Comedy Awards.’ The sitcom ‘Spaced’ also received a nomination for the ‘BAFTA Award’ for the ‘Best Situation Comedy.’
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She also appeared in films such as ‘Born Romantic’ and ‘Pure.’ She got her big film breakthrough in 2004, when she appeared as ‘Yvonne,’ one of the main characters in the Edgar Wright-directed zombie comedy ‘Shaun of the Dead.’ The film was a huge critical and commercial success and gained a cult following over time.
Jessica continued with her highly successful TV career in the mid-2000s, with roles in series such as ‘QI’ and ‘According to Bex.’ Following this, she also delivered award-winning performances in comedy series such as ‘Twenty Twelve,’ ‘W1A,’ and ‘There She Goes.’
In 2013, she served as the writer, creator, and lead actor in the sitcom titled ‘Up the Women.’ Although it received encouraging reviews, it was canceled after nine episodes.
She was seen playing main roles in films such as ‘Confetti,’ ‘Magicians,’ and ‘Faintheart.’ In the more recent years, she has appeared in key roles in films such as ‘The Fight’ and ‘Alright Now.’
Despite a successful film and TV career, Jessica still does theater. She was nominated for a ‘Tony Award’ in 2009, for her performance in the play titled ‘The Norman Conquests.’
Her recent works also include the film ‘Nativity Rocks!’ and the series ‘Years and Years.’
She lent her voice to the character ‘Mafalda Hopkirk’ in ‘Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix.’
She directed the 2018 movie ‘The Fight.’