|Born:||July 15, 1975|
Jill Halfpenny (born 15 July, 1975) is an English actress.
Halfpenny is possibly best known for her role as Kate in the British TV drama EastEnders, from 2002-5. She has appeared on television regularly since the early 1990s in serials such as Byker Grove, Coronation Street, EastEnders and Waterloo Road.
A native of Leam Lane, Gateshead, she attended St Edmund Campion there. She is a former student of the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art (1994-1996) and she also went to drama school First Act Theatre in Gosforth, Newcastle upon Tyne and to the Reavley Theatre School in Felling, Gateshead. She has one child, a boy, Harvey-Rhys Conway born 3 May 2008.
Halfpenny had a part in The Round Tower as Rosie Cotton. She began her acting career in the BBC television children's drama series Byker Grove, set in the Benwell area of Newcastle upon Tyne. Her other work has included appearances in Dalziel and Pascoe and Coronation Street for television and theatre with the acclaimed Hull Truck Theatre Company.
She took the major role of Kate Mitchell in the BBC One soap opera EastEnders between 2002 and 2004. The character was introduced as a police officer sent to spy on Phil Mitchell, but after her cover was blown she quit the police force, married Phil and opened a nail salon.
Around that time she raised her profile further by posing in a pink and black brassiere with matching panties for FHM; in 2004 she was voted 84th in FHM's "Sexiest Woman in the World" poll.
In 2004 Halfpenny participated in the BBC One pro-celebrity ballroom dancing competition Strictly Come Dancing, dancing with professional Darren Bennett. The couple won the competition after receiving the full 40 marks from the judges in the final. On December 14 2004, Halfpenny and Darren Bennett made an appearance on stage at the Royal Variety Performance which took place at the London Coliseum. In a special one-off Christmas programme which pitted the Strictly Come Dancing champions (and other top performing couples) from series one and two against each other, Jill and Darren were crowned as Champion of Champions.
In December 2004, it was announced that she would take the role of Roxie Hart in the West End musical, Chicago, starting in January 2005.
In 2005, Halfpenny appeared in The Bodies, a new play adapted from an Emile Zola novel by Peter Flannery at the Live Theatre, Newcastle, opposite her real-life husband, actor Craig Conway. In 2005 and 2006, Halfpenny appeared in hit pantomimes at the Theatre Royal, Newcastle.
Halfpenny was the guest presenter for and performed in the first show of the BBC four-part series The Sound of Musicals in January 2006 and played Roxy Ball in Shameless in an episode broadcast on 31 January 2006. In 2006, Halfpenny made a guest appearance in an episode of The Catherine Tate Show.
From spring 2006, Halfpenny appeared in the BBC One series Waterloo Road as teacher Izzie Redpath but was killed off at the end of the second series . Halfpenny has most recently been heard as the voice of a high-profile commercial campaign for Aunt Bessie's Yorkshire Puddings and the narrator of Freaky Eaters for BBC Three and Fat Man's Warning for Channel 4. Jill was also the narrator for a short film advertising how the national lottery helps the North East, created by students at the Lord Lawson of Beamish School as part of a competition. The film they created won the competition.
Halfpenny was invited to University of Sunderland where she presented the awards evening for Seaham School of Technology in November 2007.
From the beginning of February 2008, a pregnant Halfpenny played Spike Milligan's long-suffering manager, Norma Farnes, alongside Michael Barrymore in Surviving Spike at the Theatre Royal in Windsor.
It was announced in mid - October that Halfpenny will be taking part in the 2009 live Strictly Come Dancing tour with her professional partner Darren Bennett.
On Christmas Day 2008 she appeared in a Christmas special of Strictly Come Dancing and won (with Kelly Brook in second place).
- Street-Howe, Zoe (2008-02-08). Jill Halfpenny is pregnant!. The Sun. Retrieved on 2008-05-25.