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Dervla Kirwan (born 24 October 1971) is an Irish actress famous for roles in television shows such as Ballykissangel and Goodnight Sweetheart.
Dervla was born in Churchtown, Dublin, Republic of Ireland. Her father was an insurance broker and her mother was a French and Latin teacher.
She won London critical acclaim in 1988 for her 'firm but fragile' performance as the factory girl Linda in A Handful of Stars, the Bush Theatre premiere of the first play in Billy Roche's Wexford Trilogy. In 1992, again at the Bush, she starred in a revival of the complete trilogy.
She got her television break in the 1991 BBC Scotland production of A Time To Dance, adapted by Melvyn Bragg from his own novel, playing Bernadette Kennedy. In the same year she also appeared in the play Water Music at the Cockpit Theatre written by award-winning playwright Lyndon Morgans (singer-songwriter with the Welsh folk noir band Songdog). In a busy 1992 she also starred in Hush by April de Angelis at the Royal Court Theatre, while January 1994 found her playing in Peter Hall's seasonal production of Georges Feydeau's farce An Absolute Turkey at the Globe Theatre
Dervla briefly appeared in Casualty, and in the first three series of Goodnight Sweetheart alongside Nicholas Lyndhurst before leaving where her role as 'Phoebe Sparrow' was recast to Elizabeth Carling. In 1996 she sang with Dustin the Turkey on his cover of Fairytale of New York for his album Faith of Our Feathers. In 1999 she appeared in a made for TV movie The Greatest Store in the World.
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Dervla starred in School for Seduction, a 2004 film. She also starred in BBC 1 crime drama series 55 Degrees North which aired in 2004. She returned for a second series in 2005. The series was shown in the U.S. under the title The Night Detective. In 2005 she also appeared on the Lyttelton stage at the National Theatre in the role of Alice in Brian Friel's Aristocrats.
In 2007, she worked in BBC drama True Dare Kiss and on stage in Harold Pinter's Betrayal at the Donmar Warehouse.
She is now the voice of Marks & Spencer on their food advertisements on British television.
Once engaged to Ballykissangel co-star Stephen Tompkinson, Kirwan is married to actor Rupert Penry-Jones, with whom she has two children: Florence and Peter.
She and Penry-Jones both appeared in Casanova in 2005, although they did not share any scenes. They had worked on stage together in 2001 in a West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds, production of J B Priestley's Dangerous Corner, when he played Richard Caplan to her Olwen Peel; in November the production then transferred to the Garrick Theatre for a successful four-month West End season.