Ruth Gemmell

Ruth Gemmell
Born ( 1967-01-02) 2 January 1967
Darlington, County Durham, England
Occupation Actress
Years active 1991–present
Known for Appearing on Utopia
Starring in Home Fires
Spouse(s) Ray Stevenson (1997–2005)

Ruth Gemmell (born 2 January 1967) is an English actress, Gemmel is best known for her role in the long running series Penny Dreadful as Octavia Putney. Gemmel is also known for her work on the television show Utopia as Jen Dugdale.

Gemmell has also appeared long running television show Silent Witness as mainly Detective Constable Kerry Cox, Gemmell appeared first in 1996 in eight episodes, following this stint as Cox Gemmell appeared in two other characters firstly as Beth Ashdown in 2006 and then finally in 2014 as Ellie Brooke. In the first series Gemmell appeared as Kerry Cox in "Buried Lies", "Long Days Short Nights", "Darkness Visible" and "Sins of The Fathers", as Ellie Brooke Gemmell appeared in "Undertone" and as Beth Ashdown in "Terminus".

Gemmell has also appeared in several shows a guest star, most notably Gemmell has featured in Casualty as Monica Darling during 2014. Gemmell has also appeared in long running series Midsomer Murders as Diana Carnarvon during 2015 in the episode "A Vintage Murder", the series was the third highest rating of the series.

Gemmell is also known as a leading character in the successful ITV Series Home Fires as the Reverend's wife Sarah Collingbourne, Gemmell is a main character in the show and has appeared in all episodes so far in the show. In the show Gemmell's character is the sister of the Women's Institute President Frances Barden and supports her through the show. However when her husband is captured Sarah must face troubles and must rise to the challenge. The first series gained a rating average of 6.2 Million;[1] this led to it being commissioned for a second series. The premiere episode gained a rating of 5.2 Million Views with a 23.7% share.[2]

Early life

Ruth Gemmell was born in County Durham, England, and attended an all-girls' school in Darlington called Polam Hall School.[3] She has three brothers.[3] Her parents divorced when she was a child and she moved with her mother to Darlington from Barnard Castle. Later she moved to London, to live with her father and to pursue her acting dream. She states; "I moved to London because I assumed you had to go to drama school there...I didn't know any better. Having not lived with my dad before I thought it was an ideal opportunity, which is crazy now!"[4]

She trained at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art in London.


Gemmell has played a variety of roles mainly in theatres plus TV dramas. She played the leading female role in the 1997 film Fever Pitch starring opposite Colin Firth[5] and had another leading role in the comedy/drama January 2nd (2006).

In 2004 she starred in Tracy Beaker's Movie of Me as the mother of the title character, who abandoned her when she was a baby, leading her to spend life in a children's home.

From January 2009 she became a recurring character in EastEnders as Debra Dean, the mother of a teenage girl who, identically to her role in Tracy Beaker's Movie of Me, abandoned her daughter when she was an infant.

In August 2009, she starred as Rebecca Sands in two episodes of The Bill.[6]

Gemmell has appeared three times in the BBC's police drama Waking the Dead, playing two different characters. Her first appearance was in 2002 in the episode Special Relationships as DI Jess Worral, a former lover of DSI Boyd. She next appeared in the episode Sins of seventh season in 2008 as Linda Cummings, an exceptionally intelligent serial killer. Gemmell reprised the role of Cummings in Endgame, the fourth episode of the eighth season of the show. The storyline had Cummings manipulating Boyd and revealed that Cummings' accomplice was responsible for the drugs overdose that killed Boyd's son Luke. The role reprisal of Cummings is a first in the show's history.

Gemmell's ex-husband Ray Stevenson has also appeared in the show as consultant child abductor in the episode Fugue State.

Gemmell starred in Episode 8 of Jimmy McGovern's BBC drama Moving On playing the role of Joanne, in November 2010.[7]

In November 2011, Gemmell played Lady Shonagon in the adaptation for BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour of "The Pillow Book", by Robert Forrest. She appeared as Jen, the wife of an adulterous civil servant, in Channel 4 drama Utopia, in early 2013.

Television work

Film work

Theatre work

She performed in Macbeth and King Lear for the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2004/2005.

Radio work

Date Title Role Director Station
11 August 200815 August 2008 The Pillow Book[9] Shonagon Lu Kemp BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour Drama
8 June 200912 June 2009 The Pillow Book (series 2)[10] Shonagon Lu Kemp BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour Drama
30 October 2010 The Vanishing[11] Lieneke Kirsty Williams BBC Radio 4 Saturday Play
26 May 201130 May 2011 The Spy Who Came in From the Cold[12] Liz Gold written by John le Carré dramatised by Robert Forrest BBC Radio 4
15 November 201019 November 2010 The Pillow Book (series 3)[13] Shonagon Lu Kemp BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour Drama
31 October 20114 November 2011 The Pillow Book (series 4)[14] Shonagon Lu Kemp BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour Drama

Personal life

Gemmell was married in Westminster, London, in 1997 to actor Ray Stevenson, whom she met in 1995 during the filming of TV drama Band of Gold. The couple divorced in 2005.


External links

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