Lucy Benjamin

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Lucy Benjamin
Lucy Benjamin at the BAFTA's.jpg
Lucy Jane Baker

(1970-06-25) 25 June 1970 (age 50)
Reading, Berkshire, England
Other namesLucy Taggart
Years active1982–present
Notable work
EastEnders (1998–2003, 2010, 2017, 2019–2020)
Spouse(s)Richard Taggart (m. 2006)

Lucy Benjamin (born Lucy Jane Baker, 25 June 1970) is an English actress. She has played Lisa Fowler in the BBC soap opera EastEnders from 1998–2003 as a regular cast member, before returning for two brief stints in 2010 and 2017, and returning in 2019 as for a longer stint before departing again in 2020.



Born in Reading, Berkshire, England, she took the stage name of Benjamin after her brother. Benjamin trained at the Redroofs Theatre School in Maidenhead. Her first acting role was as a child actress in Doctor Who in 1983, playing a younger version of the character Nyssa in Mawdryn Undead . She had one line/word of dialogue — "Doctor!" — but remained uncredited both on-screen and in Radio Times. As she is naturally blonde haired, she wore a brunette wig to match older Nyssa actress Sarah Sutton.

In 1989, she starred in the children's television programme Press Gang , where she played Julie Craig. She left after the first series for another role, but returned for the fourth and final series until 1993, when her role was expanded.

In 1989 and 1990, Benjamin appeared in two series of LWT sitcom Close to Home , playing Paul Nicholas' teenage daughter Kate Shepherd. Also in 1990, Benjamin appeared in the British Satellite Broadcasting (BSB) Galaxy Channel soap opera Jupiter Moon . In 1995, she appeared in the Adrian Edmondson and Rik Mayall comedy Bottom .

From 1998 to 2003, she played Lisa Fowler in the BBC soap opera EastEnders . During her time on the programme, Benjamin was involved in one of the soap's most viewed storylines, known as "Who Shot Phil?" (2001). The storyline centered on the shooting of her on-screen lover Phil Mitchell, and who, out of the many potential candidates, was responsible. Several suspects emerged and the audience was kept in the dark for many weeks as to the identity of the shooter, which was eventually revealed to be Benjamin's character.

She was asked back for a short period in 2003, to help with the forthcoming exit of Steve McFadden, who was taking a hiatus from the programme. Then again on 5 August 2010, Benjamin returned to EastEnders for one episode in a storyline that was building up to the exit of Barbara Windsor. Benjamin reprised her role for a short stint in July 2017, part of on-screen daughter Louise Mitchell's (Tilly Keeper) bullying storyline. [1]

Since leaving EastEnders, Benjamin has appeared in the BBC television programme The Afternoon Play, and the BBC hospital drama Casualty . She has also appeared in pantomimes across London, as well as touring for 6 months in the play Framed in which she starred with Tom Craig from Coronation Street .

In April 2006, the Daily Mirror reported that Benjamin was in talks with EastEnders about reprising the role of Lisa Fowler. Benjamin stated in an interview that all rumours of her returning to EastEnders were inaccurate and that the programme was not in contact with her. [2]

In June 2006, Benjamin appeared on The X Factor: Battle of the Stars , where she was the outright winner. She was mentored by judge Louis Walsh. She also appeared as Heather in Stephen Fry's drama Kingdom . In October 2006, Benjamin appeared in an episode of the BBC medical drama Doctors .

In September 2008, she appeared in All Star Family Fortunes, winning £10,000 for her charity Rosie's Rainbow Fund

She starred in The Pretender Agenda at the New Players Theatre with Lee Ryan. Benjamin starred also in the UK horror film Not Alone . [3]

She was a contestant in the ITV1 series I'm a Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here!

In 2013, Benjamin starred as Velma Von Tussle, in the UK Nationwide tour of the West End hit stage show, Hairspray . [4]

Between April and July 2017, Benjamin had a recurring role as Denise Ellisson in Casualty.

On 27 May 2019, it was announced that Benjamin would be returning to EastEnders on a permanent basis. [5] She returned on 2 September 2019. Lisa departed in January 2020.

Personal life

Benjamin married oil businessman Richard Taggart at Babington House, Somerset on 30 March 2006. [6] The couple met during a flight to Dubai and became engaged three months later. Benjamin and Taggart now live in Gidea Park, Greater London. [7]

In the first episode of The X Factor: Battle of the Stars show on 31 May 2006, Sharon Osbourne let slip that Benjamin was pregnant. Benjamin smiled while host Kate Thornton commented: "I don't think you wanted that announced tonight, did you?". [8] Benjamin gave birth by caesarean section to a daughter at Harold Wood Hospital in London on 22 November 2006. [9] On 19 October 2010, she revealed that she was three-months pregnant with her second child. [10] In April 2011, she gave birth to a second daughter.

She is a patron of the charity Rosie's Rainbow Fund.

In May 2015, she was awarded £157,250 by Mr Justice Mann as part of a £1.2 million celebrity payout during the phone hacking scandal of the Mirror Group newspapers ( Trinity Mirror ), under her married name Lucy Taggart. [11]

Television, theatre and film

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  2. Green, Kris (3 April 2006). "Lucy Benjamin NOT returning to Walford". Digital Spy . Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  3. Slasher, Masked (1 October 2009). "Not Alone Wraps Production". Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  4. Laws, Roz (3 May 2013). "Former EastEnder Lucy Benjamin stars in Hairspray". Coventry Telegraph . Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  5. Methven, Nicola (26 May 2019). "Lucy Benjamin 'excited' as she prepares for EastEnders return as Lisa Fowler". Daily Mirror . Retrieved 26 May 2019.
  6. "East Ender Lucyweds". Daily Mirror. UK. 31 March 2006. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  7. X Factor: Lucy Benjamin
  8. "Showbiz – News – Ex-'Enders actress Lucy Benjamin pregnant". Digital Spy. 30 May 2006. Archived from the original on 7 December 2006. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  9. "A Special Delivery For Lucy". Daily Mirror. UK. 23 November 2006. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  10. "NEW PICTURES Pregnant Celebrities | Gallery Specials". Now Magazine. 22 June 2010. Retrieved 16 January 2012.
  11. "Phone hacking: Celebrities win damages from Mirror Group". BBC . 21 May 2015. Retrieved 4 September 2020.
  12. Busk-Cowley, Mark (2014). I'm A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here!: The Inside Story. Bantam Press. pp. 140, 219. ISBN   978-0593073483.