Jenny Seagrove

Jennifer Ann Seagrove (born 4 July 1957) is an English actress. She trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School and first came to attention playing the lead in a television dramatisation of Barbara Taylor Bradford's A Woman of Substance (1984) and the film Local Hero (1983). She starred in the thriller Appointment with Death (1988) and William Friedkin's horror film The Guardian (1990). She later played Louisa Gould in Another Mother's Son (2017).

Jenny Seagrove
Jenny Seagrove on set of
Appointment with Death (1988)
Jennifer Ann Seagrove

(1957-07-04) 4 July 1957
OccupationActress, animal rights activist, singer
Madhav Sharma
(m. 1984; div. 1988)
Partner(s)Michael Winner (1989–1993)
Bill Kenwright (1994–present)

She is known for her role as the character of Jo Mills in the long-running BBC drama series Judge John Deed (2001–07). Her credits as a voiceover artist include a series of Waitrose television advertisements.

Early life

Seagrove was born Jennifer Ann Seagrove in Kuala Lumpur, Malaya (now Malaysia) in 1957, to British parents, Pauline and Derek Seagrove.[1] Her father ran an import-export firm, which afforded the family a privileged lifestyle.[1] When Seagrove was less than a year old, her mother suffered a stroke, and was unable to care for her. Seagrove attended St Hilary's School in Godalming, Surrey, England from the age of nine.[1]

After leaving school, Seagrove began attending acting classes and trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School, in spite of her parents' wishes for her to have a career as a professional cook.[1] Seagrove developed bulimia in her early adulthood, but recovered: "I could feel myself tearing my stomach, and I kind of pulled out of it," she said. "It was a very slow process."[1]



Seagrove's theatre work includes the title role in Jane Eyre at Chichester Festival Theatre (1986); Ilona in The Guardsman at Theatr Clwyd (1992); and Bett in King Lear in New York, again at Chichester (1992).

She played opposite Tom Conti in Present Laughter at the Globe Theatre (1993); Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker at the Comedy Theatre (1994); Dead Guilty with Hayley Mills at the Apollo Theatre (1995); Hurlyburly for the Peter Hall Company when the production transferred from the London Old Vic to the Queen's Theatre (1997); co-starred with Martin Shaw in the Parisian thriller Vertigo (Theatre Royal Windsor October 1998) and then with Anthony Andrews (also Windsor,1998).

In 2000 she appeared in Brief Encounter at the Lyric Theatre; followed by Neil Simon's The Female Odd Couple at the Apollo (2001). Again at the Lyric Theatre in 2002 she played the title role in Somerset Maugham's The Constant Wife, followed by a revival of David Hare's The Secret Rapture in 2003, and The Night of the Iguana two years later in 2005.

Coming to the West End from a UK tour, she played Leslie Crosbie in Maugham's The Letter at Wyndham's Theatre (2007), again co-starring with Anthony Andrews.[2]

In December 2007, she played Marion Brewster-Wright in the Garrick Theatre revival of Alan Ayckbourn's dark, three-act comedy Absurd Person Singular.[3]

In 2008, she and Martin Shaw starred in Murder on Air, at the Theatre Royal, Windsor.

In 2011, she once again starred alongside Martin Shaw in The Country Girl at the Apollo Theatre, playing the part of Georgie Elgin.

In early 2014, she appeared as Julia in a revival of Noël Coward's Fallen Angels. The production was produced by her partner Bill Kenwright and also starred Sara Crowe.[4]

In 2015, she and Martin Shaw starred in a radio adaptation of Brief Encounter at the Theatre Royal Windsor, playing the parts of Laura Jesson and Alec Harvey.

As of 2017, Seagrove was playing Chris MacNeil in The Exorcist until March 2018, at the Phoenix Theatre.


Seagrove starred alongside Rupert Everett in the Academy Award-winning short film A Shocking Accident (1982), directed by James Scott. Her first major film appearance was in Local Hero (1983) in which she played a mysterious environmentalist with webbed feet. Roles in a number of films including Nate and Hayes (aka, Savage Islands, 1983) opposite Tommy Lee Jones and Appointment with Death (1988) followed. One of her lead starring roles was in The Guardian (1990), directed by William Friedkin, in which she played an evil babysitter. In 2017, she played the lead role in Another Mother's Son, starring as Louisa Gould, a member of the Channel Islands resistance movement during World War II, who famously sheltered an escaped Russian slave worker in Jersey and was later gassed to death in 1945 at Ravensbrück concentration camp.


Seagrove first came to mass public attention in the 10-episode series of the BBC production Diana (1984) adapted from an R. F. Delderfield novel, in which she played the title role as the adult Diana Gaylord-Sutton (the child having been played in the first two episodes by Patsy Kensit). Seagrove starred in two American-produced television miniseries based upon the first novels of Barbara Taylor Bradford: as Emma Harte in A Woman of Substance (1984) and Paula Fairley in Hold the Dream (1986). She portrayed stage actress Lillie Langtry in Incident at Victoria Falls (1992), a UK made-for-television film. As the female lead, Melanie James in the film Magic Moments (1989), she starred with John Shea, who played the magician Troy Gardner with whom she falls in love.

Seagrove, along with Simon Cowell, presented Wildlife SOS (1997), a documentary series about the work of dedicated animal lovers who save injured and orphaned wild animals brought into their sanctuary.

Most of Seagrove's filmed work since 1990 has been for television. Between 2001 and 2007, she appeared as QC Jo Mills in the series Judge John Deed. She was the subject of This Is Your Life in 2003 when she was surprised by Michael Aspel.

With John Thaw she guest starred in the episode "The Sign of Four" (1987) of the series Sherlock Holmes. She guest starred in episodes of Lewis ("The Point of Vanishing", 2009) and Identity ("Somewhere They Can't Find Me", 2010). A few years later, she appeared in the series Endeavour (the prequel to the Inspector Morse series), in the episode "Rocket" (2013).[5]

Personal life

Seagrove is an animal rights activist and an advocate for deregulation of the herbal remedy industry in the United Kingdom, and promotes a vegetarian diet.[6]

Her partner since 1994 is the theatrical producer Bill Kenwright, chairman of Everton F.C..[7] The couple appeared together as contestants on a charity edition of ITV1's Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?, winning £1,000. They also appeared together on a celebrity edition of the BBC's Pointless which aired on 3 January 2014.[8]

Seagrove was previously married to British and Indian actor Madhav Sharma from 1984 to 1988 and then dated film director Michael Winner until 1993.[9][10]

Mane Chance Sanctuary

Mane Chance Sanctuary is a registered charity that provides care for rescued horses, based in Compton, Guildford. The charity aims to “provide sanctuary and relief from suffering for horses, while promoting humane behavior to all animals and mutually-beneficial relationships with people who need them".[11]

Mane Chance Sanctuary was established in 2011 by Seagrove, who stepped in to support a friend facing financial difficulties.[12] Seagrove was able to secure land on Monkshatch Garden Farm and has since grown the charity which today cares for over 30 horses using a unique system of equine welfare.

The charity is incorporated as a company limited by guarantee with company number 07796432.[13] It is registered with the Charities Commission with charity number 1144144.[14] The charity's trustees include the actor Sir Timothy Ackroyd Bt. and the philanthropist Simrin Choudhrie.[15] The chairman is James McCarthy.

In 2014, she performed a duet alongside singer Peter Howarth called The Main Chance, as part of a cause for the Mane Chance Sanctuary.


Year Title Role Notes
1980Dead EndShort film
1982A Shocking AccidentSallyShort film
1983Local HeroMarina
1983Nate and HayesSophie
1985In Like FlynnTerri McLaneTelevision film
1986A Dangerous Kind of Love
1988Appointment with DeathDr. Sarah King
1988A Chorus of DisapprovalFay Hubbard
1989Magic Moments Melanie JamesTelevision film
1990The GuardianCamilla
1990Bullseye!Health Club Receptionist and Girl with John Cleese
1991Deadly Game LucyTelevision film
1991Some Other SpringHelenTelevision film
1992Incident at Victoria FallsLillie LangtryTelevision film
1992Miss Beatty's ChildrenJane Beatty
1999Don't Go Breaking My HeartSuzanne
2012Run for Your WifeTaxi passenger
2012PranksJoyceShort film
2017Another Mother's SonLouisa Gould


Year Title Role Notes
1982The Woman in WhiteLaura FairlieMini-series
1982Crown CourtMargaret AndersonTelevision series; 1 episode
1982The Brack ReportAngela BrackTelevision series; 10 episodes
1983DianaDiana Gayelorde-SuttonMini-series
1984Hammer House of Mystery and SuspenseSara HelstonTelevision series; 1 episode
1985A Woman of SubstanceYoung Emma HartMini-series
1985The HitchhikerMegTelevision series; 1 episode
1985Hold the DreamPaula FairleyMini-series
1987The Sign of FourMiss Mary MorstanTelevision episode
1989The BetrothedThe Noble Lady in MonzaMini-series
2000CasualtySummerTelevision series; 1 episode
2001Peak PracticeSister FrancesTelevision series; 1 episode
2001–07Judge John DeedJo MillsTelevision series; 29 episodes
2009LewisCecile RattenburyTelevision series; 1 episode
2010IdentityMiriam BrolinTelevision series; 1 episode
2013EndeavourNora BroomTelevision series; 1 episode
2015X CompanyTelevision series; 1 episode


  1. Cooper, Jonathan; Farrell, Mary H.J. Farrell (21 May 1990). "After Years of Fighting Her Own Demons, Jenny Seagrove Strikes Terror as the Guardian's Evil Nanny". People. Archived from the original on 7 February 2016.
  2. "The Letter". The Stage. 3 May 2007. Archived from the original on 6 June 2007.
  3. "Absurd Person Singular". The Stage Reviews. Archived from the original on 19 September 2012. Retrieved 25 February 2014.
  4. Smurthwaite, Nick (24 January 2014). "The Stage / Reviews / Fallen Angels". The Stage. Archived from the original on 19 February 2014. Retrieved 2 February 2014.
  5. McCulloch, Dan (28 April 2013). "Endeavour: exclusive guide to episode three – Rocket". Radio Times. Archived from the original on 14 March 2016. Retrieved 2 January 2016.
  6. "Jenny Seagrove: a veggie of substance". Archived from the original on 7 May 2015. Retrieved 17 February 2009.
  8. Mainwaring, Rachel (14 December 2013). "Connie Fisher hosts A Night at the Musicals". Western Mail. Archived from the original on 25 December 2013. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  9. "Michael Winner". The Daily Telegraph. London. 21 January 2013. Archived from the original on 26 February 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  10. "Film director Michael Winner: Life in pictures". The Daily Telegraph. London. 21 January 2013. Archived from the original on 26 February 2014. Retrieved 3 January 2014.
  11. Mane Chance Sanctuary Website - accessed 4th November 2018
  12. The Telegraph 25/07/2018
  13. Companies House
  14. Charities Commission
  15. The Telegraph 25/07/2015
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