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Debra Stephenson (born 4 June, 1972 in Kingston upon Hullmarker) is an Englishmarker actress and singer.

Career

At the age of fourteen Stephenson appeared on BBC TV's Opportunity Knocks, winning her way through to the All-Winners' Final broadcast live from the London Palladiummarker. Debra also appeared on Blue Petermarker doing an impression of Esther Rantzen. She then appeared on TV screens in 1998 in Kay Mellor's comedy drama about women's football, Playing the Field. Stephenson also appeared in the last two episodes of ITV1s adaptation of Catherine Cooksons A Dinner of Herbs in which she played the adult Kate Roystan who falls in love with the son of the woman who murdered her grandfather.

Bad Girls

Debra then appeared in a more prominent role in 1999, playing Shell Dockley in the ITV prison drama Bad Girls. Her performance of the psychotic Dockley earned her two consecutive nominations for Best Actress at the National Television Awards in 1999 and 2000. After three years of playing one of the show's most popular characters, she left in 2001, returning for one last time in 2003.

Comedy

As well as stand-up comedy at venues including Londonmarker's Comedy Storemarker, Stephenson has played several roles as a comic actress on radio and television. These include playing the part of Hosanna in the BBC Radio 4 comedy At Home with the Snails (2002), and sketch show TV to Go in 2000 with Hugh Dennis and Pauline McLynn. She featured in the 1998 Chucklevision episode 'Stop that Stamp' as the Grand Duchess Olga. Stephenson was also a big part of The Friday Night Project being an interviewer to the public and going undercover with disguises such as 'Debbo'.

Coronation Street

Since 2004, Stephenson starred in the top rated Britishmarker soap opera Coronation Streetmarker playing Frankie Baldwin, the wife of Bradley Walsh's character, Danny. She received nominations for "Best Newcomer" at various TV and soap awards shows. On 14 May 2006, producers announced that Stephenson would be leaving the soap at the end of that year.

Comic Relief does Fame Academy

In 2005 she took part in Comic Relief does Fame Academy, a singing competition involving celebrities to raise money for charity, and finished fifth. Among her performances was the rendition of "Cry Me A River" which was called "blemishless" and Dionne Warwick's "Anyone Who Had A Heart". Her participation on the show led to a record deal and she has subsequently released her debut album "In The Sunshine". The album includes cover versions of the songs she sang on the show, which range from Kylie to Lemar, as well as a cover of Madonna's "Music", which she sang on the "Madonna Mania" TV show.

GMTV: The Richard Arnold Show

Stephenson was a reporter for GMTV on Fridays throughout Summer 2007 as part of The Richard Arnold Show.

The Prisoner: X

Debra appeared on channel virgin 1's The Prisoner:X in December 2008. She was locked up for three days in a high security prison in America where she spent a night in segregation and was treated as though she was an actual prisoner paying time in that prison.

Upcoming events

Stephenson is currently playing the part of Aladdin in the pantomime Aladdin at the Regent Theatre in Ipswichmarker. The pantomime was shown on 13 December 2008 and performed again in January 2009. Because of this role, Stephenson appeared on the Celebrity Ding Dong Christmas special in which the theme was pantomimes and it was goodies against baddies. The goodies (Stephenson's team) won.

The Impressions Show with Culshaw and Stephenson, led by Jon Culshaw and Debra Stephenson, began recording in August 2009. Co-starring as lead regulars are Thomas Nelstrop and newcomer impressionist Jess Robinson. 8 episodes were commissioned by the BBC. The first episode aired on Saturday 31st October 2009.

Personal life

She attended South Hunsley Schoolmarker in Melton, East Riding of Yorkshire, from the age of 11, and during these years she appeared in a number of national TV talent shows doing impressions. In 1996 Stephenson graduated in Drama, from Manchester Metropolitan Universitymarker's School of Theatre. She married builder James Duffield in June 1999. They have two children, Max, born on 26 November 2002, and Zoe Louise, born on 23 January 2007. In 2006, before her Coronation Street departure, Stephenson hit the headlines when it was stated that she and onscreen husband Danny were having an affair in real life. Both denied this, though they admitted they had grown very close.

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