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Gillian Kearney

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Title: Gillian Kearney  
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Subject: Kearney, Hedda Gabler, Aigburth, Catherine Cookson, List of people from Merseyside, Ray Fearon, Damon and Debbie, Hope and Glory (TV series), List of Brookside characters, List of Casualty characters
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Gillian Kearney

Gillian Kearney
Born Gillian Louise Kearney[1]
(1972-05-09) 9 May 1972 (age 42)
Liverpool, Merseyside, England, UK[1]
Occupation Actress
Years active 1986–present

Gillian Louise Kearney (born 9 May 1972, Liverpool, Merseyside) is an English actress best known for playing Jessica Harrison in the long-running BBC television medical drama series Casualty, and her early role as Debbie McGrath in Channel 4's Liverpool-based soap opera Brookside and the spin-off mini-series Damon and Debbie.

Early life

One of four children born to Gerard and Barbara (née Allerston) Kearney, Gillian Kearney has three brothers: Matthew, Peter and Tom, a professional footballer. Her father is a retired civil engineer and her mother a school care worker. Growing up in Aigburth, she attended St. John Almond RC High School, Garston,[2] where she gained nine GCSEs and four A-levels.


Her interest in acting began at secondary school. After repeatedly being overlooked for the lead roles in school productions, she decided to join the Liverpool Everyman Youth Theatre, where she featured in plays including All Flesh is Grass (as Ema),[3] Katie Crackernuts and Yer Dancin'? It was there, in 1986, that she was spotted by members of the production team at Mersey Television, an event that resulted in her being asked to audition for a role in Channel 4's Liverpool-set drama series Brookside. Kearney landed the role of Debbie McGrath, the girlfriend of Damon Grant (played by Simon O'Brien). When O'Brien decided to leave The Close, he requested that his character be killed off so he wouldn't be tempted to return to the show. Because Damon was so popular, particularly with younger viewers, it was decided to create a 'soap bubble' in which the character would meet his demise — Damon and Debbie became Britain's first mini-series spin-off from a soap opera.[4][5] A year after filming her final scenes, Kearney was asked to return for a few episodes. Christmas 1988 saw Debbie McGrath make an unexpected return to visit Sheila Grant, Damon's mother; she arrived with her baby, Simon – Damon's son.

In 2002 Kearney landed the coveted role of June Forsyte in the ITV1 adaptation of John Galsworthy's classic novel, The Forsyte Saga. She later reprised the role for the second series. Following the success of The Forsyte Saga, Kearney's next role brought her back onto the ITV screen in its newest medical drama Sweet Medicine. Kearney was cast as Dr Deborah "Deb" Sweet and starred alongside Jason Merrells, who played her husband, and Patricia Hodge as her formidable mother-in-law. The show was intended to take up the mantle of the popular rural drama Peak Practice, which had recently ended, but low viewing figures saw Sweet Medicine axed after just one series.

In 2005 Kearney landed a role in Channel 4 hit Shameless playing the role of Marty's girlfriend Sue. She left the show along with her on-screen partner in 2007.[6] She had a number of television roles following her departure before landing the role of Jessica Harrison in Casualty, in January 2008. Kearney left Casualty in February 2010, but returned briefly to tie up the loose ends of her character's storyline in May 2010.

Personal life

Kearney has lived in Crouch End, North London, since July 2000,[7] but rented a property in Clifton, Bristol, during her time appearing in Casualty.[8] In April 2009 she mentioned, in a This Morning television interview, that she was seeing a final-year medical student called Eddie Foo, whom she had met whilst in Bristol.[8] Early in 2010, Kearney revealed their engagement and intention to marry in Ireland later that year,[9] but the plans were soon put on hold when she discovered that she was expecting their first child. On 26 August 2010 she gave birth to John Gerard, an 8 lb 3 oz baby boy.[10]


  • London to Brighton (2006) (uncredited)
  • The Lives of the Saints (2006)
  • The Other Half (2006 UK film) (2005)
  • Homecoming (2003)
  • In His Life: The John Lennon Story (2000)
  • Shirley Valentine (1989)


  • Moving On ... Danielle; 30 January 2013, BBC One
  • Silent Witness … Detective Inspector Bridges
  • Casualty … Jessica Harrison; 12 January 2008 – 6 February 2010, 1 May 2010 – 8 May 2010, BBC One
  • Primeval … Valerie Irwin; in one episode (No.2.3); 26 January 2008, ITV1
  • Lilies … Miss Bird in The Serpent (No.1.7); 23 February 2007, BBC One
  • Trial & Retribution … Gina Casper in "Curriculum Vitae" (No.13); 4–5 February 2007, ITV1
  • Shameless … Sue in 12 episodes; 22 February 2005 – 9 January 2007, Channel 4
  • Where the Heart Is … Maria in "Peaches and Cream" (No.9.8); 14 August 2005, ITV1
  • Sweet Medicine … Deborah Sweet; 4 September – 2 November 2003, ITV1
  • The Forsyte Saga (2002 miniseries) … June Forsyte; 7 April 2002 – 2003, ITV1
  • Blue Murder … Leslie Tulley in the two-part pilot episode; 18 May 2003, ITV1
  • The Real Jane Austen … Jane Austen; 30 December 2002, BBC Two
  • Clocking Off … Lynne Watson in two episodes:
    • "The Lads" (No.2.6); 14 May 2001, BBC One
    • Episode No.3.1; 31 January 2002, BBC One
  • Midsomer Murders … WPC Jay Nash in "Dark Autumn"; 16 September 2001, ITV
  • Murder in Mind … Catrin Palmer in "Teacher"; 22 April 2001, ITV
  • Hope and Glory … Kitty Burton in 10 episodes; 27 June – 5 November 2000, BBC One
  • Black Cab … Phil in "Marriage Guidance"; 25 May 2000, BBC2
  • Liverpool 1 … Julie Callaghan; 7 September 1998 – 1999, BBC One
  • Sex, Chips & Rock n' Roll … Ellie Brookes; 5 September – October 1999, BBC One
  • The Things You Do for Love … Young Joan in "Sweet Dreams"; 23 December 1998, (writer: Kay Mellor; director: Ken Horn)
  • Hetty Wainthropp Investigates … Debra Woolmer in "A Minor Operation" (No.3.7); 16 January 1998, BBC One
  • The Ruby Ring … Elizabeth Langley; 26 November 1997, Hallmark
  • Heartbeat … Susan Watkins in "Frail Mortality" (No.6.6); 6 October 1996, ITV
  • The Tide of Life … Emily Kennedy; January 1996, ITV
  • Men of the World … Jenny in "Happy Birthday Kendle" (No.2.4); 16 August 1995, BBC1
  • Casualty … Mandy in "Beggars Can't Be Choosers" (No.6.7); 18 October 1991, BBC1
  • Waterfront Beat … Helen in six episodes:
    • "Dilemma" (No.2.8); 20 February 1991, BBC1
    • "Acid Ship" (No.2.7); 13 February 1991, BBC1
    • "Pick Up" (No.2.6); 6 February 1991, BBC1
    • "E.P.O.S." (No.2.5); 30 January 1991, BBC1
    • "Microlights" (No.2.2); 9 January 1991, BBC1
    • "Pirates" (No.2.1); 2 January 1991, BBC1
  • The Final Frame … Cassy; 12 April 1990, Kinesis Films for Channel 4 (director: Paul Oremland)
  • Damon and Debbie … Debbie McGrath; 4–18 November 1987, Channel 4
  • Brookside … Debbie McGrath; 30 January 1986 – December 1988, Channel 4



External links

  • Internet Movie Database

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