Denise Welch: Wikis


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Denise Welch

Welch on a break after filming an episode of Loose Women in 2009
Born Jacqueline Denise Welch
22 May 1958 (1958-05-22) (age 51)
Ebchester, County Durham, England
Occupation Actress, Television presenter
Years active 1984–present
Spouse(s) David Easter (1985–88)
Tim Healy (1988–present)

Jacqueline Denise Healy (née Welch; born 22 May 1958) is an English actress and television presenter.


Early life

Welch was born in Ebchester, County Durham, to father Vin and mother Ann, née Ridley.[1][2] She attended Bygate School, Whitley Bay, La Sagesse, Newcastle upon Tyne, and Blackfyne Grammar School, Consett.[3] She developed a penchant for acting at the age of 14, after she was cast in a school production of Finnegan’s Rainbow. At the age of 17, she contemplated going to teacher training college when her father and drama teacher suggested she apply for the Mountview Theatre School in London. She was successful in her application, and remained at the school from 1976 to 1979, gaining her Equity Card while teaching dance at Watford Theatre.[2][3]



Welch became an actress straight after leaving school.[2] She performed on stage in London in Yakkety-Yak with the McGann brothers at the Astoria Theatre in 1983, and later joined the Live Theatre Company, Newcastle, where she featured in many productions, including There's a Girl in My Soup, and an Alan Ayckbourn quartet of plays including Bedroom Farce. She also played the role of Sandy in the popular musical Grease at the Haymarket Theatre, Leicester, in 1984.[3]

Her first TV appearance was in the Tyne Tees Television production Barriers in 1981.[3] A few years later she appeared in ITV's hit drama, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet (1986), and she followed this with roles in the children's television show Byker Grove (1990-1991); A Kind of Living (1988); the Catherine Cookson adaptation The Glass Virgin (1995); and she appeared opposite Jimmy Nail in BBC's Spender (1991-1993).[2]

In 1993, Welch became a household name when she was cast as Marsha Stubbs in ITV's drama series Soldier Soldier. Due to her success in the series, she released a single in 1995, a double-A side "You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me/Cry Me a River", which reached #23 and spent three weeks in the UK singles chart.[3]

Welch gained even wider notoriety in 1997 when she was cast as Natalie Horrocks (later Barnes) in the longrunning ITV soap opera Coronation Street.[2] The character of Natalie was introduced as the mistress of Kevin Webster, played by Michael Le Vell. A popular character, Natalie rose to landlady of the soap's public house "The Rovers Return. In 2000 the producers in Coronation Street wanted her to perform a storyline involving Natalie having a miscarraige but she refused it saying the character had already lost her husband & son. However Welch, who was expecting a baby the same year, decided to leave the serial in 2000. At the time, Welch commented, "I am looking forward to being a mum again and spending some time with my baby and am relishing the prospect of new challenges in my career." A spokesperson for Granada TV commented "The character [Natalie] will not be killed off and the door will be left open for her possible return. We wish Denise well both for the birth of her baby and for her future career."[4]

In 2002 she guest starred in ITV's Where the Heart Is and BBC's hospital drama Holby City, playing risk manager Pam McGrath who conducted an on-screen relationship with the character Mubbs Hussein (played by Ian Aspinall). She has guest-starred twice in ITV's long-running police drama The Bill (1997; 2006) and has also appeared in BBC's Doctors (2004); Down to Earth (2004-2005); Born and Bred (2002-2003); starred (second billing) in the British feature film The Jealous God (2005); and starred in Hollyoaks: In the City (2006), among others. Since 2006 she has appeared as French teacher Steph Haydock in BBC's successful drama series, Waterloo Road.

Welch originally won the role as Frances Myers in Bad Girls, but ended up declining it due to illness at the time; her future Waterloo Road co-star Eva Pope received the part. Welch decided to leave Waterloo Road and not return for series 6, but has now announced that she may return in the new year for a few one-off episodes.

Presenting and personal appearances

Welch has presented numerous television shows and also appeared in a series of SCS adverts promoting soft furnishings. She hosted her own DIY series The Real DIY show in 2000 and Soap Fever for ITV2. Since 2005 she has been a regular panelist on ITV1's topical chat show Loose Women. In 1999 she appeared as Petula Clark in ITV's celebrity singing contest Stars in Their Eyes.

In 2009, Welch took over as narrator of the revamped series of 10 Years Younger, for Channel 4. She also participated in 'Playing the Part', a documentary on BBC One on 21 May 2009, in which she went back to her old secondary school, Consett Community Sports College, and taught there for a week.[5]

Personal life

Welch was originally married to actor David Easter (most famous for playing Pete Callan in Channel 5's Family Affairs). They married in 1985 but divorced in 1988; Welch has since gone public with her belief that he committed adultery.[6] Welch met her current husband, Tim Healy, while they were working together for Newcastle's Live Theatre Company. She married him in Haringey, London, in 1988. They have two children, Matthew Timothy (born 1989, Hendon, London) and Louis Vincent (born 2001, Salford, Greater Manchester).[7][2]

She worked as a waitress with her best friend Jill Hewitson at Pontins. [8]

Welch has suffered from severe clinical depression intermittently throughout her life, which was exacerbated following the birth of her first child. She subsequently fell into alcoholism and drug abuse as a result, although she has since overcome these addictions. She has confessed that she found it difficult to cope with the pressure that came with being in Coronation Street, once commenting; "I don't know how I did that job. I was desperately ill for most of my time in the Street. It got so bad that I started drinking heavily. I thought it would be a quick-fix way of taking away the pain, but it exacerbated the depression. I could easily down a bottle of wine a day. Other days I would binge-drink until I blacked out. I was still taking anti-depressants and the alcohol would cancel these out - so when I did get an attack of depression it was much worse...There were mornings when I can't tell you how hard it was to get up for work, and then, when I was on the set, I felt I couldn't say a line properly. I would watch an episode I'd been in and would hardly remember doing it. But the public never realised."[9]

Welch has confessed that her marriage was nearly ruined because of her mental illness, as well as an affair she had during the midst of her depression. With the help of her former Coronation Street co-star Kevin 'Curly Watts' Kennedy (a recovering alcoholic), she attended Alcoholics Anonymous and successfully put a stop to her dependency on alcohol. She claims that it was the "hardest thing I have ever had to do in my life, but it is also the thing that I'm proudest of. And my mental health is now so much better than it was when I was drinking...I will always have depression - but I'm in control of it now because I've given up drinking".[9] In May 2009 she was shown on BBC One telling children when asked that she does drink again now however she is in control, she was also seen drinking on the programme.


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