Patsy Palmer

Patsy Palmer

May. 26th, 1972
Born in
Bethnal Green, London, England, UK
5' 6 1/2"

Patsy Palmer's Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
EastEnders (UK) TV Show
EastEnders (UK)
The Big Breakfast (UK) TV Show
The Big Breakfast (UK)
Casting Couch (UK) TV Show
Casting Couch (UK)
Tricky Business (UK) TV Show
Tricky Business (UK)

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


Born Julie Anne Harris on 26 May 1972, the youngest daughter of Albert and Pat Harris, Patsy Palmer was born for stardom. Palmer spent her childhood in Bethnal Green, London with all of her family close by. She was, in particular close to her maternal grandparents that were affectionately called Farvey and Nor. Despite having a close family, however, Palmer's parents separated when she was 8-years-old and her father, whom she had never felt close to, remarried and moved to America.

Palmer was bitten by the acting bug at the tender age of six when her older brother Albert auditioned for a part in the West End production of "Joseph and the Amazing Techni-Colored Dreamcoat". Accompanying him to the audition along with her mother, Patsy demanded to be allowed to audition despite being too young and, to the amazement of her family and herself, she was given a chorus role - and was the youngest member of the entire show! This prompted a young Julie Harris to audition for the free-paying Anna Scher Theatre School and, due to there already being an accomplished film and theatre actress by the name of Julie Harris (I), she was given the stage name Patsy Palmer, her mother's maiden name. Whilst there Palmer extended her talents to writing plays, resulting in her winning an award at the London Festival of Plays at the age of just 12 for writing her own play about prostitution.

Patsy began her career on television by starring as an extra in an episode of "The Bill" (1984) in 1988 at 16. That same year she had a prominent part as an acne-ridden teenager in a TV commercial for Clearasil. Further small roles in TV series' such as "Tricky Business" (1989), "Making News" (1990), Clarissa (1991) (TV), "Love Hurts" (1992) and "Drop the Dead Donkey" (1990) followed before Patsy Palmer became an iconic household name with her famous portrayal of feisty red-head Bianca Jackson in the BBC One soap opera "EastEnders" (1985), making her first appearance in November 1993 at 21. During her time on the soap opera Palmer tackled various demanding storylines, such as her turbulent romance with Ricky Butcher, played by real-life best friend Sid Owen, the discovery of her father David Wicks, premature death of her disabled daughter Natasha, for which she became the first ever soap actress to be nominated for Best Actress at the Royal Television Society Awards, death of her best friend Tiffany Mitchell and the revelation of her affair with Dan Sullivan, the fiancÚ of her mother Carol Jackson. In April 1997 she commanded the soap's biggest ever audience draw with more than 22 million people tuning in to watch Ricky and Bianca's wedding, and her turn in the show also prompted a meeting between her and Queen Elizabeth II, which Palmer declared was one of the biggest highlights of her life. After six years in the soap opera, however, Palmer bowed out in order to try new things and made her last appearance in September 1999.

Following her departure Palmer got involved in various projects, such as the detective series "McCready and Daughter" (2001), "Do or Die" (2001) and the period drama "He Knew He Was Right" (2004), as well as cameo appearances in short films Another Green World (2005) and Trapped (2008/II). Patsy also reprised her role as fiery Bianca Jackson in a special spin-off show EastEnders: Ricky & Bianca (2002) (TV), reuniting her with Sid Owen for the first time in three years, which detailed Bianca's life away from Walford, where she struggled to raise her son Liam and attend fashion college in Manchester as well as working in a seedy club in order to make ends meet. The show was extremely popular with Palmer's fans and resulted in her being invited to return to the show, but Palmer declined in order to spend time with her family. Later on in October 2007 it was announced that Patsy Palmer would be returning to "EastEnders" (1985) after 8 years away and, along with Sid Owen, her returning scenes were aired in April 2008. Palmer's second stint in the soap opera as Bianca portrayed her still as a struggling single mother, this time being thrown out of her residence for failing to pay rent and being made homeless along with her children. Palmer has also tackled the difficult storyline of sexual abuse, with her stepdaughter Whitney being groomed by Bianca's jailbird boyfriend Tony King.

Outside her career, Palmer is a mother to three children: Charley (born in February 1992, fathered by an ex-boyfriend), Fenton (born in June 2000) and Emilia (born in July 2001), both fathered by her husband taxi driver Richard Merkell. She was married to director Nick Love, who directed her in her role as a pregnant drug-addicted prostitute in Love Story (1999) (TV), but they separated after just five months of marriage. She currently lives in Brighton with her husband, whom she has been married to since August 2000, and her three children. Palmer isthe active patron of Children's Cancer Charity CLIC Sargent.

Patsy Palmer is an incredible talent and a British icon from humble beginnings and a shining example for those across Britain that, depending on what the background, there is hope for everyone that their dreams will come true. Hers did.

  • Did not return to work until six months after giving birth to her daughter Emilia in order to film _EastEnders: Ricky & Bianca (2002) (TV)_ (qv).
  • Was replaced by 'Tamzin Outhwaite' (qv) in the lead role of Sgt. Jo McDonagh in _"Red Cap" (2003)_ (qv) before production began.
  • Her famous red hair was passed down to her from her great-grandfather, whilst the rest of her family members have either brown or auburn hair.
  • Her paternal grandfather Albert Harris died before she was born. Her maternal grandmother Norah Palmer died in 1986 when she was fourteen. Her paternal grandmother May Harris died in 1987 when she was fifteen, and her maternal grandfather Harry Palmer died in 1996 when she was 24.
  • Was in attendance at the funeral of her former _"EastEnders" (1985)_ (qv) co-star 'Wendy Richard' (qv) (9 March 2009).
  • Is the youngest of three siblings. She has two older brothers called Harry (born 1964) and Albert (born 1966).
  • Toured the UK in a stage production of the musical "Tell Me On A Sunday" (2004).
  • Her brother, psychotherapist Harry Harris, is married to actress 'Lindsey Coulson' (qv) who played her mother in _"EastEnders" (1985)_ (qv). She has another brother named Albert.

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