With award-winning premieres and returning series of well-known favourites, BBC Entertainment showcases seductive new contemporary drama and thrilling crime series, along with classic and cutting-edge comedy.
BBC Entertainment is also the home of firm favourites such as The Graham Norton Show, Doctor Who and Sherlock.
Born in rural Herefordshire in 1982, Jessica set her sights on dramatic stardom at the tender age of 13 after watching her farmer father perform amateur dramatics in her birth village of Eardisley.
After reading drama and cultural studies at the University of the West of England, Jessica spent a year teaching in English in Thailand. On her return to England, she mastered her thespian craft at London’s Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).
She broke her professional stride as a theatre actress, making her stage debut playing a young goth in the 2008 production of Simon Stephens’ acclaimed play, Harper Regan, at London’s National Theatre. Her other stage highlights include winning a Manchester Evening News Best Supporting Actress Award for her 2009 portrayal of Lily Cahill in Simon Stephens’ Punk Rock, and her lead role in the Young Vic’s 2012 production of the Jacobean tragedy The Changeling.
Jessica made her first mark on British television in 2009, playing Anne Porter in the hit legal drama series Garrow’s Law. Since rocketing to national recognition as Jenny Lee in Call the Midwife in 2012, Jessica has also gained praise for her portrayals of Jayne Boleyn in Wolf Hall, Jules Sutter in Fortitude and Tuppence Beresford in Partners in Crime.
Jessica’s film credits include playing Isabel of Gloucester in the 2010 Robin Hood, and Nanny in the 2012 Daniel Radcliffe blockbuster Woman in Black.
Benedict was born in 1976 to actor parents, Timothy Carlton and Wanda Ventham. It wasn’t long before he followed in their footsteps, and after studying drama at the University of Manchester, he continued his classical acting training at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art.
Benedict has built up an impressive acting résumé across film, television, theatre and radio.
Since 2001, Benedict has had major roles in numerous classic plays at the Regent’s Park Open Air, Royal Court and Royal National Theatres. Among his many standout roles is his 2011 performance in Danny Boyle’s stage production of Frankenstein, in which he played both Victor Frankenstein and his creature on alternate nights, sharing the role with Jonny Lee Miller.
His screen breakthrough came in 2004 when he portrayed Stephen Hawking in the television movie Hawking, for which he received a BAFTA Best Actor nomination. In 2010 he became a household name as Sherlock, earning him another BAFTA nomination. He then followed this up with acclaimed film roles in 12 Years a Slave (2013), The Fifth Estate (2013) and as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game (2014).
His acting success has earned him numerous accolades and a wax figure in Madame Tussauds. In 2014, Time magazine named him as one of “The 100 Most Influential People in the World”.
Before he became better known as Mr Norton, Graham Walker was born in the village of Clondalkin, near Dublin in Ireland on 4th April, 1963. His father Billy was a sales representative for Guinness, so the Walker family were on the move for much of Graham’s younger years. At the age of 12, he was sent to school in Bandon in County Cork, where he excelled in debating and drama. He was keen to escape school at the earliest opportunity and, at the age of 16, headed off for a job in a pottery – although when this didn’t work out, he ended up peeling apples for a meagre wage in order to make ends meet.
After winning a place at University College, Cork, Graham settled into studying for a degree in English and French. But he found college life lonely, and struggling to come to terms with his sexuality, he dropped out and headed for a commune in San Francisco. After an adventure-filled sojourn in the US, Graham then travelled to London where he secured a place at the Central School of Speech and Drama.
Although he started out by training to become an actor, it soon became very obvious that his talents lay in making people laugh instead of impressing them with his Hamlet. In 1992, Graham Norton (as he had now become after a name change to satisfy the British acting trade union Equity) took his one-man show to the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. Making a splash as a drag act, his appearance as tea towel-bedecked Mother Theresa got him noticed and he was nominated for a Perrier Award. His foray into the Fringe provided a springboard into the world of radio and he made a number of appearances on BBC Radio 4’s Loose Ends. He also went on to play the camp, jolly Father Noel Furlong in the classic priest-based sitcom Father Ted.
But he really hit the jackpot when Five (then Channel 5) launched in the UK in 1997. When the channel’s regular chat show host, Scottish comedian Jack Docherty went on holiday, Norton stepped into his shoes and won an award for his trouble, stealing the best newcomer gong at the British Comedy Awards that year.
He then went on to guest star in the comic quiz Bring Me the Head of Light Entertainment and the game show Carnal Knowledge, but topped all of that in 1998 when he joined Channel 4 to present his own cheeky, innuendo-laden show, So Graham Norton. He followed this up with another smash hit in the shape of V Graham Norton, which ran for five nights a week, every week for a considerable period of time.
His success on Channel 4 led to the BBC signing him up to host shows including the Saturday night reality TV offering Strictly Dance Fever, Graham Norton’s Bigger Picture and his own eponymous chat show, The Graham Norton Show. In 2008, it was announced that Norton would also step into Sir Terry Wogan’s shoes as the regular UK presenter of the Eurovision Song Contest.
At the BBC, he added to his reality show host CV by fronting How Do You Solve A Problem Like Maria?, Any Dream Will Do, I’d Do Anything, and Over the Rainbow alongside West End musical legend Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber. In 2009, Graham hit London’s West End himself, starring in the cult musical La Cage Aux Folles.
Kris was born in Bath, Somerset, before moving with his family to Hong Kong and Canada. He then returned to the UK to continue his schooling and take up theatre studies.
Kris made his television debut at an early age with an appearance on The Bill. His breakthrough role was playing Nick Harper in the popular sitcom My Family (2000).
After departing My Family in 2003, Kris then went on to star on the big screen as Colin Frissell in the critically-acclaimed film Love Actually. He has also appeared in feature length films for television, including Catwalk Dogs (2007) and Heist (2008).
Other television credits include police drama series Murder City (2004-2006), Funland (2005) and Sold (2007). More recently, Kris has appeared in Traffic Light (2011), Citizen Khan (2012) and Lightfields (2013).
Born in Devon in 1972 to a Royal Navy captain father and aristocratic mother, Miranda was raised in Hampshire and attended the prestigious independent girls’ boarding school, Downe House, in Berkshire.
After reading politics at Bristol Polytechnic, showbiz ambitions lead her to study acting at London’s Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA). In the following years, Miranda focused on performing stand-up comedy and sketch shows at the Edinburgh Festival and on the London circuit, supporting herself with administrative temping work, including being a PA for the charity Comic Relief.
She first came to public recognition playing clumsy cleaner Barbara alongside Lee Mack in the hit TV sitcom Not Going Out, and went on to earn a Comedy Award nomination for her portrayal of Chloe Alice Teal in the sci-fi comedy Hyperdrive. She has also made memorable guest appearances in the TV comedy shows Nighty Night, Smack the Pony, Absolutely Fabulous, Vicar of Dibley and Lead Balloon.
In 2009, she struck comedy gold as the writer and star of her self-titled sitcom, Miranda – a series that has garnered an enviable four BAFTA nominations, three RTS Awards and three Comedy Awards.
Since 2012, Miranda has gained kudos as a straight actress, starring as a nurse in the hit drama series, Call the Midwife.