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Fitzgerald, Tara (1967-)


Main image of Fitzgerald, Tara (1967-)

Classically beautiful and highly versatile, Tara Fitzgerald's career over the past twenty years has been an interesting and often surprising one, typified by a receptive attitude towards literary scripts, unusual subjects and onscreen nudity. She was born on the 17th September 1967, and, after a peripatetic childhood travelling round Europe with her parents, eventually trained at the Drama Centre. She made a striking debut in Peter Chelsom's Hear My Song (Ireland/UK, 1991), perfectly attuned to the romanticism and mysticism inherent in its subject, but went on to show that this was no fluke with her knowing blend of sensuousness and geniality in the Mary Wesley adaptation The Camomile Lawn (Channel 4, 1992).

Like Helena Bonham Carter before her, Fitzgerald's distinctive looks made her an ideal choice for period drama from an early stage in her career. Her appearances in Anglo-Saxon Attitudes (Thames, 1992), The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (BBC, 1996) and The Woman In White (BBC, 1997) all reinforced the image of her as belonging to a bygone age. However, her rich, poignant performance as a vicar's wife discovering her sexual freedom in Sirens (Australia/UK, d. John Duigan, 1994) showed her sensual side, as well as exquisite comic timing, which she also used in her reunion with Hugh Grant in The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill But Came Down A Mountain (d. Christopher Monger, 1995). She was also charming, if ultimately peripheral, as the mining executive-turned-brass band member in Brassed Off (UK/USA, d. Mark Herman, 1996), seductive and American in The Student Prince (BBC, 1997) and gleefully sent her own image up in the knowingly overblown bodice-ripper Frenchman's Creek (Carlton, 1998).

Recently, her career has been slightly patchier, as her romantic young heroines have slowly given way to mothers, as in Five Children And It (UK/USA, d. John Stephenson, 2004). Her previously impeccable quality control slipped enough to allow her to be part of Rancid Aluminium (d. Edward Thomas, 2000), complete with pantomime Russian accent. Nevertheless, there have still been many delightful roles and performances, not least as the uninhibited, glamorous stepmother Topaz in I Capture The Castle (d. Tim Fywell, 2003) and a sexy, extremely poignant Monica Jones (opposite Hugh Bonneville as Philip Larkin) in Love Again (BBC, 2003), showing that her youthful promise has been fulfilled in her mature roles.

Alexander Larman

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Thumbnail image of Brassed Off (1996)Brassed Off (1996)

Mournful drama about the fortunes of a colliery brass band

Thumbnail image of Camomile Lawn, The (1992)Camomile Lawn, The (1992)

Controversial WWII drama series adapted from Mary Wesley's novel

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