Famous for her shoutings and ravings at “Rickeeee”, Patsy Palmer has changed her style from Ginger Chav to one of the most desired women actresses in British Television. As these photo shots show, the change has been not before time. Enjoy.
Date of Birth
26 May 1972, Bethnal Green, London, England, UK
Julie Anne Harris
5′ 6½” (1.69 m)
Born Julie Anne Harris, the youngest child 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, 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/I), “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 fiancé 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), Emilia (born in July 2001) and Bertie (born in December 2010), the latter three 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 four children. Palmer is the 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.
Richard Merkell (1 August 2000 – present) 3 children
Nick Love (August 1998 – May 2000) (divorced)
Her red hair and freckles
Her famous “EastEnders” (1985) catchphrase “Rickaaaayyyy!”
Gave birth to her son Fenton on 13 June 2000 via Caesarean section. He was delivered prematurely as Palmer was suffering from Vassa Praevia.
Best known as fiery Bianca Jackson from “EastEnders” (1985).
Gave birth to her daughter Emilia on 7 July 2001, via Caesarean section.
Her brother, psychotherapist Harry Harris, is married to actress Lindsey Coulson who played her mother in “EastEnders” (1985). She has another brother named Albert.
Her stage name, Patsy Palmer, is actually her real-life mother’s name.
Won an award at the London Festival of Plays for a play she had written about prostitution in 1984 at the age of 12.
Made her West End stage debut in the production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” in 1978 at the age of 6.
Attended the Anna Scher Stage School, where other future “EastEnders” (1985) actors such as Gillian Taylforth, Susan Tully, Sid Owen, James Alexandrou, Natalie Cassidy, Brooke Kinsella and Joe Swash attended.
Her parents separated when she was 8-years-old.
Is the youngest of three siblings. She has two older brothers called Harry (born 1964) and Albert (born 1966).
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.
Is best friends with her “EastEnders” (1985) co-star Sid Owen.
Was named “Julie Anne” in honour of her mother’s friend Julie and her mother’s middle name Ann.
Left school with four GCSEs: English, English Literature, Drama and Art.
Attended Haggerston School for Girls in Hackney (1983-1988).
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.
Her life-long friend Nicole was bridesmaid at her wedding to Nick Love, whilst her “EastEnders” (1985) co-stars Sid Owen, Martine McCutcheon and Richard Driscoll were also in attendance.
Gave birth to her son Charley Palmer Rothwell in February 1992 at Homerton Hospital, fathered by her ex-boyfriend Alfie Rothwell, a boxer.
Had her appendix removed (1996).
Is a close friend of “EastEnders” (1985) co-star Barbara Windsor, referring to her as her “second mother”.
Her favourite actress is Julie Walters.
Named her daughter Emilia in honour of her father-in-law Emilio, who died just months before his granddaughter’s birth.
Was in attendance at the funeral of her former “EastEnders” (1985) co-star Wendy Richard (9 March 2009).
Named her son Fenton in honour of her close paternal cousin Fenton.
Has an intense fear of flying.
Was replaced by Tamzin Outhwaite in the lead role of Sgt. Jo McDonagh in “Red Cap” (2003) before production began.
as pregnant with her son Charley during the filming of “Clarissa” (1991/I).
Her son Charley played her character’s baby in a 1993 episode of “The Bill” (1984).
Returned to work 3 months after giving birth to her son Fenton in order to begin filming “Do or Die” (2001).
Released her autobiography, All Of Me (April 2007).
Launched tanning products from her new business Palmer-Cutler (Autumn 2003).
Appeared in the third series of “Strictly Come Dancing” (2004) with Anton du Beke as her dance partner. She finished fifth out of twelve contestants (2005).
Was in attendance at the wedding of her “EastEnders” (1985) co-star Samantha Womack to Mark Womack (17 May 2009).
Was in attendance at the wedding of her “EastEnders” (1985) co-star Scott Maslen to Estelle Rubio (6 September 2008).
Returned to work 6 months after giving birth to her daughter Emilia in order to begin filming EastEnders: Ricky & Bianca (2002) (TV).
Is one of 16 “EastEnders” (1985) actors to compete in “Strictly Come Dancing” (2004). The others, in chronological order, are Christopher Parker (Spencer Moon), Jill Halfpenny (Kate Mitchell), Louisa Lytton (Ruby Allen), Letitia Dean (Sharon Rickman), Matt Di Angelo (Deano Wicks), Phil Daniels (Kevin Wicks), Gillian Taylforth (Kathy Mitchell), Jessie Wallace (Kat Moon), Zoe Lucker (Vanessa Gold), Ricky Groves (Garry Hobbs), Natalie Cassidy (Sonia Fowler), Jimi Mistry (Fred Fonseca), Scott Maslen (Jack Branning), Kara Tointon (Dawn Swann) and Anita Dobson (Angie Watts).
Her “EastEnders” (1985) character Bianca Jackson became the 9th woman on the soap opera to give birth. Bianca had a son Liam (played by Nathaniel Gleed and then James Forde), born on 25 December 1998.
Her father was born in Limerick, Ireland.
Returned to work 15 months after giving birth to her son Charley in order to film an episode of “The Bill” (1984).
Announced that she is pregnant with her 4th child (1 August 2010).
Is the godmother of her former “EastEnders” (1985) co-star Natalie Cassidy’s daughter Eliza Beatrice Cotrell.
Gave birth to her son Bertie, with husband Richie Merkell, 7 weeks prematurely via Caesarean section in a Brighton hospital, weighing in at 4lbs 11oz (8 December 2010).
Was 7 months pregnant with her son Bertie when she took maternity leave from filming “EastEnders” (1985).
Returned to work 10 months after giving birth to her son Bertie to resume filming “EastEnders” (1985).
Revealed that she had suffered a miscarriage at 9 weeks pregnant in October 2011 (4 December 2011).