Abigail Lucy Cruttenden (born 23 March 1968) is an English actress. After beginning her career as a child, she went on to play opposite Sean Bean as his character Richard Sharpe's wife Jane in several episodes of the TV series Sharpe. She has since become known for her roles in sitcoms, which include Kate Weedon in the ITV comedy series Benidorm (2007–2009), and Anna in the BBC sitcom Not Going Out (2014–present).

Abigail Cruttenden
Abigail Lucy Cruttenden

(1968-03-23) 23 March 1968 (age 55)
Years active1980–present
  • (m. 1997; div. 2000)
  • Jonathan R. Fraser
    (m. 2003)
RelativesHal Cruttenden (brother)

Early life edit

Cruttenden was born on 23 March 1968 in Richmond, London to a family with history in the acting industry.[1] Her grandmother, Cynthia Coatts (1915–2013) founded the Rosslyn School of Dance and Drama in London,[1] while her mother, Julia Cruttenden (1938–2013), ran the stage make-up school Greasepaint in London.[2] Her father Neville (1940-1990) was an advertising executive who also indulged in amateur theatrics before deciding to become a professional actor at 49.[3][4] Her brother is Hal Cruttenden, a stand-up comedian, and she has an older sister Hannah, who works in journalism.[5]

Career edit

Cruttenden started her acting career when she was 12, appearing in the BBC2 Playhouse episode Elizabeth Alone in 1981. She gained significant notice in only her second screen role in the critically acclaimed TV film P'tang, Yang, Kipperbang, playing the object of affection to a lovesick schoolboy in the coming of age drama, which was written by Jack Rosenthal. As she recalled in a newspaper interview in 1996, she did not realize she would have to kiss costar John Albasiny towards the film's climax. "I was 14 and painfully shy, like my character. I vividly remember them saying we had to kiss at the end. I was completely thrown because it wasn't in the script. Tears welled in my eyes and I mumbled 'All right then.' But I had never kissed anyone before, ever. It was all rather traumatic."[6]

She continued to have regular acting work throughout her teenage years, including a regular role in the TV sitcom Mog (1985-86), the TV Aids drama Intimate Contact (1987) and The StoryTeller episode "Hans My Hedgehog" in 1987. Despite coming from a family involved in the acting industry, her parents were keen for her to concentrate more on her schooling. By this point, Cruttenden was thoroughly committed to acting, and when she was offered the stage role in Romeo and Juliet halfway through sitting for the last two of her four A levels, she took the role.[7]

Cruttenden immersed herself in her acting work, taking roles in TV shows TECX, Coasting and Centrepoint (all 1990), and appearing in the detective series Van der Valk and The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes in 1991.

After a break from TV to do more theatre work, she appeared on screen for the first time in three years in the TV period comedy drama Love on a Branch Line in 1994, a role which required her to appear nude. Then in 1996 she was cast as Jane Gibbons in the TV series Sharpe as the love interest and eventual wife of Richard Sharpe, played by Sean Bean.

She continued to find regular work in the theatre and on television, with roles in Doctors and Nurses (2004) and The Robinsons (2005), but it was not until she was cast in the TV sitcom Benidorm in 2007 that she gained another hit show. She appeared in the first three series until she left the show in 2009.

There was a dearth of screen roles for the next 5 years, with only an appearance in an episode of the sitcom The Royal Bodyguard in 2012 during this time. Since 2014, she has been a regular on the sitcom Not Going Out, playing the role of Anna, Hugh Dennis' wife and snobby neighbour to Lee and Lucy.

Personal life edit

In 1990 her father Neville died suddenly of a stomach haemorrhage, aged 50. He had left his job as an advertising executive the year before to become a professional actor, and had had two TV roles in the pipeline before his sudden death.[8]

In 2013 Cruttenden suffered a double family bereavement. On 16 March she lost her grandmother Cynthia Coatts, who died at the age of 97. Then on 14 December she lost her mother Julia after a long battle with a brain tumour.

During the filming of Sharpe, Cruttenden met actor Sean Bean. They married on 22 November 1997.[9] Their daughter was born in November 1998. They divorced in July 2000.[10] In 2003, she married Jonathan R. Fraser. They have a daughter.[11]

Cruttenden lives in East Sheen, south-west London.[12]

Filmography edit

Television edit

Year Title Role Notes
1981 BBC2 Playhouse Young Elizabeth Episode: Elizabeth Alone
1983 Storyboard Emma Episode: Lytton's Diary
1985-1986 Mog Miranda
1987 The Storyteller The Princess Episode: "Hans My Hedgehog"
Intimate Contact Nell Gregory
1988 The Bell-Run Gudrun Glover TV movie
1989 Agatha Christie's Poirot Geraldine Oglander
1990 Coasting Emma Conway Episode: "Illuminations"
Centrepoint Saskia TV Mini Series
TECX Marijke Van Der Broeke Episode: Rock a Buy Baby
1991 Van der Valk Else Episode: A Sudden Silence
The Casebook of Sherlock Holmes Miss Violet Merville Episode: The Illustrious Client
1994 Performance Clara Browning Episode: A Message for Posterity
Love on a Branch Line Belinda Flamborough
1996 Sharpe's Regiment Jane Gibbons
Sharpe's Siege Jane Sharpe née Gibbons
Sharpe's Mission Jane Sharpe
1997 Jane Eyre Blanche Ingram TV film adaptation
Sharpe's Revenge Jane Sharpe
Sharpe's Justice
Sharpe's Waterloo
The Ruth Rendell Mysteries Annabel Lynes Episode: Bribery & Corruption
Into the Blue Heather Mallender
1998 The Canterbury Tales Emily Voice
2000 Anna Karenina Betsy "Part 1", "Part 3"
Monarch of the Glen Lizzie MacDonald Episodes "1.5", "1.8"
2002 Helen West Emily Eliot Episode: A Clear Conscience
2003 Rosemary & Thyme Patsy Connolly Episode: "Arabica and the Early Spider"
2004 Doctors and Nurses Lucy Potter 6 episodes
2005 The Robinsons Vicky Robinson Episode: "1.6"
2007–2009 Benidorm Kate Weedon Regular role, 17 episodes (series 1–3)
2007 Foyle's War Evelyn Richards Episode: "Casualties of War"
The Commander Judy Thornton Episode: The Devil You Know
Sex, the City and Me Ali TV movie
2008 Teenage Kicks Kate Episode: "Sex"
2009 The Green Green Grass Doctor Episode: "I Done It My Way"
2012 The Royal Bodyguard Mary Town-Jones Episode: The Perils of Attraction
2014–present Not Going Out Anna Regular role
2015 The Outcast Anne Rawlins TV Mini Series
Citizen Khan Virginia Episode: "Farley Manor"
2016 Fresh Meat Oregon's Mother Episode: "4.6"
2017 Midsomer Murders Nell Fryer Episode: "Death by Persuasion"
Casualty Sadie Holm Episode: "32.11"
2020 Housebound Abigail Episode: "1.10"
2021 Face It Abbey TV Mini Series

Film edit

Year Title Role
1982 P'tang, Yang, Kipperbang Ann Lawton[13]
1998 Hideous Kinky Charlotte
2001 Charlotte Gray Daisy
Sword of Honour [14] Kerstie Kilbannock
2014 The Theory of Everything Isobel Hawking
2015 The Batsman and the Ballerina Jane
2016 Denial Janine Stone
2018 Await Further Instructions Beth
2020 That Girl, Peugeot Sandra
2021 Munich – The Edge of War Anne Chamberlain

Radio edit

Year Title Role
2017 Alone Ellie

Theatre edit

References edit

  1. ^ a b "Tribute to Coulson Great Grandmother who founded Rosslyn School of Dance and Drama - Croydon Advertiser (2013)".
  2. ^ "Greasepaint Makeup School - What Happened Next (2017)".
  3. ^ "In Tribute - The Questors Theatre Archive".
  4. ^ "Abigail Blooms - The Sunday Mirror (1996)".
  5. ^ "They Pay Me to Kiss Sean Bean - The Mirror (London) (1996)".
  6. ^ "Recalling P'tang, Yang, Kipperbang Kiss - The Sunday Mirror (1996)".
  7. ^ "Abigail Blooms - The Sunday Mirror (1996)".
  8. ^ "Abigail Blooms - The Sunday Mirror (1996)".
  9. ^ "Sharpe work as Sean marries - Mailon Sunday".
  10. ^ Billen, Andrew. "Sean Bean: Another baby? Yes. That would be nice". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 21 November 2022.
  11. ^ "Merle Fraser". www.myheritage.com. Retrieved 21 November 2022.
  12. ^ "Conflict of the heart". Richmond and Twickenham Times. 31 May 2013. p. 35.
  13. ^ "Abigail Cruttenden". Curtis Brown. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  14. ^ Tv movie
  15. ^ "The Seagull". Theatre Royal Bath. 8 June 2013. Archived from the original on 16 April 2015. Retrieved 17 January 2022.
  16. ^ "Her Naked Skin". Wiltshire Creative. 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2022.

External links edit