Jessica Turner

Photography © Charlie Carter

Roger Davidson


When Jessica says she comes from an acting family it's no careless cliché. Her mother met her father, and later Jessica met her husband, while both couples were training at The Central School of Speech and Drama. Even before training, Jessica had been soaking up lessons in acting by watching her father Michael and the other members of Olivier's National Theatre Company at the Old Vic in those glorious seasons of classic and modern plays. Imagine her pride when some years later, playing Vivie alongside Joan Plowright's Mrs Warren at the new National Theatre, at least two old boys from Central were in the audience on the opening night, her father and (by then) Lord Olivier. Over the years at the National, Jessica has worked with three of its subsequent Artistic Directors: Peter Hall, Richard Eyre and Trevor Nunn. Beyond the South Bank, her career has taken her both East and West, from Hong Kong to Nova Scotia; all round the UK; and across most 'platforms' - stage, village hall, amphitheatre, film, video, TV and radio. Jessica has played Desdemona on a tour of Othello (when she was pregnant), and DI Jane Tennison's pregnant sister (when she wasn't). An eagle-eyed audience member wrote to the theatre about the former - but so far, ITV have received no complaints about the fake bump in the original episode of Prime Suspect. Since 2015 Jessica has been a regular member of the BBC Radio Drama Company and most recently played Aunt Juley in the current BBC Radio adaptation of The Forsytes.

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