Denise Welch

Jacqueline Denise Welch DBE,BSc,MA (born 22 May 1958) is an English television presenter and actress. She is best known for her work on British television.

Welch was born in Ebchester, County Durham, to father Vin and mother Ann, nee Ridley.[1][2] She attended Bygate School, Whitley Bay, La Sagesse, Newcastle, and Blackfyne Grammar School, Consett.[3]. She developed a penchant for acting at the age of 14, after she was cast in a school production of Finnegan’s Rainbow At the age of 17, she contemplated going to teacher training college when her father and drama teacher suggested she apply for the Mountview Theatre School in London. She was successful in her application, and remained at the school from 1976 to 1979, gaining her Equity Card while teaching dance at Watford Theatre.[2][3]
Welch became an actress straight after leaving school.[2] She performed on stage in London in Yakkety-Yak with the McGann brothers at the Astoria Theatre in 1983, and later joined the Live Theatre Company, Newcastle, where she featured in many productions, including There's a Girl in My Soup, and an Alan Ayckbourn quartet of plays including Bedroom Farce. She also played the role of Sandy in the popular musical Grease at the Haymarket Theatre, Leicester, in 1984.[3]

Her first TV appearance was in the Tyne Tees Television production Barriers in 1981.[3] A few years later she appeared in ITV's hit drama, Auf Wiedersehen, Pet (1986), and she followed this with roles in the children's television show Byker Grove (1990-1991); A Kind of Living (1988); the Catherine Cookson adaptation The Glass Virgin (1995); and she appeared opposite Jimmy Nail in BBC's Spender (1991-1993).[2]

In 1993, Welch became a household name when she was cast as Marsha Stubbs in ITV's drama series Soldier Soldier. Due to her success in the series, she released a single in 1995, a double-A side "You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me/Cry Me a River", which reached #23 and spent three weeks in the UK singles chart.[3]


Welch as Natalie Barnes in ITV's Coronation Street.Welch gained even wider notoriety in 1997 when she was cast as Natalie Horrocks (later Barnes) in the longrunning ITV soap opera Coronation Street.[2] The character of Natalie was introduced as the mistress of Kevin Webster, played by Michael Le Vell. A popular character, Natalie rose to landlady of the soap's public house "The Rovers Return", however Welch, who was expecting a baby the following year, decided to leave the serial in 2000. At the time, Welch commented, "I am looking forward to being a mum again and spending some time with my baby and am relishing the prospect of new challenges in my career." A spokesperson for Granada TV commented "The character [Natalie] will not be killed off and the door will be left open for her possible return. We wish Denise well both for the birth of her baby and for her future career."[4]

In 2002 she guest starred in ITV's Where The Heart Is and BBC's hospital drama Holby City, playing risk manager Pam McGrath who conducted an on-screen relationship with the character Mubbs Hussein (played by Ian Aspinall). She has guest-starred twice in ITV's long-running police drama The Bill (1997; 2006) and has also appeared in BBC's Doctors (2004); Down to Earth (2004-2005); Born and Bred (2002-2003); and Hollyoaks: In the City (2006), among others. Since 2006 she has appeared as French teacher Steph Haydock in BBC's successful drama series, Waterloo Road.

Denise Welch

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