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Gemma Craven

Gemma Craven
Born Rita Gemma Gabriel
(1950-06-01) 1 June 1950
Dublin, Ireland
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 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).


  • Biography 1
  • Personal life 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


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 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); she has since talked about the difficulty the role presented in undertaking a nude scene, which was seen as counter to her public image.[8] She also made guest appearances on Robin of Sherwood (1985), The Bill, The Morecambe and Wise Show, The 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 Malachy, Kris and Bernadette.

Personal life

Craven was married from 1981-1984 to actor Frazer Hines and from 1990-1996 to financier David Beamish.

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.)[9]


  1. ^ Phil Penfold (11 February 2005). "Trucking on - Gemma Craven".  
  2. ^ Joe Jackson (September 24, 2006). "Gemma's second blooming".  
  3. ^ Gemma Craven at the Internet Movie Database
  4. ^ Theatre of Comedy productions 1980
  5. ^ British Theatre Guide 2001
  6. ^ British Theatre Guide 2006
  7. ^ "Taboo". Dress Circle. Retrieved 2009-03-29. 
  8. ^ "Desert Island Disks". BBC Radio 4. 29 January 1988. Retrieved 7 May 2015. 
  9. ^

External links

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