Gillian Wright

Gillian Wright (born 5 May 1960)[1] is an English actress, known for portraying the role of Jean Slater on the BBC soap opera EastEnders.[2] She was a teacher and theatre director before occupying acting roles.

Gillian Wright
Gillian Wright.JPG
Gillian Wright

(1960-05-05) 5 May 1960 (age 60)
Bermondsey, England
Years active1993–present
TelevisionChucklevision (1994–1996)
Sir Gadabout: The Worst Knight in the Land (2002–2003)
EastEnders (2004–)


Wright was originally signed for one episode on EastEnders in December 2004, but bosses brought her back into the series a year later for four more episodes. After guest starring in two episodes of rival soap opera Coronation Street, she then returned to EastEnders on a recurring basis until her character moved into Albert Square in November 2007. In 2006, she collected a Mental Health Media Award for her portrayal of Jean Slater, a person living with bipolar disorder.

Her departure from the series was announced in 2010, along with her on-screen daughter Stacey Slater, played by Lacey Turner,[3] but it was later confirmed that she would return in spring 2011.[4] In 2012, she won the 'Best Actress' award at the Inside Soap Awards.[5] She departed EastEnders again in 2013 and returned for a short stint in August 2014. She also guest starred in one episode of hospital drama, Holby City in early 2015. After making numerous guest appearances from 2015 to 2016, the character of Jean was reintroduced in 2018 by former executive consultant John Yorke.[6]


Wright is also an established theatre actress, and is a visiting director and workshop leader at drama schools, universities and with young people with special needs. She is a co-founder of Pilot Theatre, at York's Theatre Royal.[7]

In December 2011, she played the Fairy Godmother in the pantomime Dick Whittington and His Cat at the Aylesbury Waterside Theatre, starring alongside Jonathan Wilkes.

In September 2013, she appeared in the world premiere of five visceral new short plays, under the collective title Religion and Anarchy, at the Jermyn Street Theatre. From December 2013 to January 2014, she appeared as the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella at the Gordon Craig Theatre in Stevenage.[8]


Year Title Role Notes
1994–1996 ChuckleVision Mrs Stone Voiceover role
1998 Casualty Amber Stevens 1 episode
2003, 2015 Holby City Candice Holloway, Lydia Rathbone 2 episodes
2002–2003 Sir Gadabout: The Worst Knight in the Land Nanny Main role
2003 The Bill Sharon Little 3 episodes
2003 Calendar Girls Eddie’s woman Film
2003 Doctors Carol 1 episode
2004 Heartbeat Barbara Simner 1 episode
2004–present EastEnders Jean Slater Series regular, 707 episodes
2005 Coronation Street Yvonne 2 episodes
2006 Silent Witness Dr. Angeline Parry 1 episode
2006 Dalziel and Pascoe Pat Richardson 2 episodes
2007 Spooks Karen Dugan 1 episode


  1. ^ "Gillian Wright - Celebrity News". Digital Spy. Retrieved 1 May 2010.
  2. ^ Harp, Justin (12 March 2019). "EastEnders' Gillian Wright earns huge praise for Jean Slater's breakdown scenes". Digital Spy. Retrieved 15 January 2020.
  3. ^ Green, Kris (29 April 2010). "Stacey and Jean to leave 'EastEnders'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 28 April 2010.
  4. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (25 November 2010). "Jean Slater to stay on 'EastEnders'". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved 25 November 2010.
  5. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 31 July 2013. Retrieved 25 September 2012.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  6. ^ Patterson, Stephen (19 December 2018). "From big returns to huge issues, how boss John Yorke has saved EastEnders". Metro. Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  7. ^ "Let's talk about Walford and lots more besides as Gillian Wright comes to Berkhamsted to chat about her career". Retrieved 3 April 2019.
  8. ^ Dunne, Martin (23 November 2013). "Panto round-up: EastEnders star comes to town". The Comet. Archant Community Media. Retrieved 3 December 2013.

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