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Hynes, Jessica (1972-)

Actor, Writer

Main image of Hynes, Jessica (1972-)

Perhaps it is a mark of the latent inequality of the television comedy industry that Simon Pegg and Jessica Stevenson, the co-writers of the seminal slacker sitcom Spaced (Channel 4, 1999-2001), should have had such disparate fortunes afterwards. While Pegg, thanks to the success of his film Shaun of the Dead (UK/France, 2004), in which Stevenson had a small cameo, has become a Hollywood cult figure, her career has remained frustratingly lower-key, despite her evident talent and charisma as both actress and comedienne.

She was born in 1972 in Lewisham, and worked with the National Youth Theatre, making an early film appearance in Peter Greenaway's controversial The Baby of M√Ęcon (UK / Germany / France / Belgium / Netherlands, 1993). She then had small roles in a variety of television comedies, including Harry Enfield and Chums (BBC, 1997) and Armstrong and Miller (Channel 4, 1997-8), and, more memorably, played the permanently despondent, overweight Cheryl in The Royle Family (BBC, 1998-2000).

The subsequent success of Spaced depended to a large extent on the warm chemistry between the eccentric Daisy (Stevenson) and the affable deadbeat Tim (Pegg), which anchored its surreal flourishes within reality. Deservedly, she won two British Comedy Awards for her performance.

Since then, her most notable appearances have been a BAFTA-nominated straight role as an inspirational opera director within the prison drama Tomorrow La Scala (BBC, 2002) as an inspirational opera director, and her starring part in the sitcom According to Bex (BBC, 2005), though this was generally considered to be disappointingly conventional compared to Spaced.

Alexander Larman

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Thumbnail image of Royle Family, The (1998-2000)Royle Family, The (1998-2000)

Groundbreaking sitcom about a working-class Manchester family

Thumbnail image of Spaced (1999-2001)Spaced (1999-2001)

Innovative sitcom about disillusioned twentysomething flatmates

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