Lucy Benjamin (born Lucy Jane Baker; 25 June 1970) is an English actress.
Born in Reading, Berkshire, England, she took the stage name of Benjamin after her brother. Benjamin trained at the Redroofs Theatre School in Maidenhead. Her first acting role was as a child actress in Doctor Who in 1983, playing a younger version of the character Nyssa in “Mawdryn Undead“. She remained uncredited both on-screen and in Radio Times for this part, despite having dialogue — albeit one word: “Doctor!”
In 1989, she starred in the hit children’s television programme Press Gang, where she played Julie Craig. She left after the first series for another role, but returned for the fourth and final series until 1993, when her role was expanded somewhat.
In 1989 and 1990, Benjamin appeared in two series of LWT sitcom Close to Home, playing Paul Nicholas‘ teenaged daughter Kate Shepherd. Also in 1990, Benjamin appeared in the BSB Galaxy Channel soap opera Jupiter Moon. In 1995, she appeared in the Adrian Edmondson and Rik Mayall comedy Bottom. However, she is best known for her role as Lisa Fowler in the BBC soap opera EastEnders which she played from 1998 to 2003, and was involved in several groundbreaking stories during her time there.
During her time on EastEnders, Benjamin was involved in one of the soap’s most renowned and highly anticipated storylines, known as “Who Shot Phil?” (2001). The storyline centred on the shooting of her on-screen lover Phil Mitchell, and who, out of the many potential candidates, actually performed the dastardly deed. Several suspects emerged and the audience was kept in the dark for many weeks as to the identity of the shooter. Benjamin’s character was eventually unveiled as the shooter.
She was asked back for a short period in 2003, however, to help with the forthcoming exit of Steve McFadden, who was taking a hiatus from the programme. Then again on 5 August 2010, Benjamin returned to Eastenders for one episode in a storyline that was building up to the exit of Barbara Windsor.
Since leaving EastEnders, Benjamin has appeared in the BBC television programme The Afternoon Play, and the BBC hospital drama Casualty. She has also appeared in pantomimes across London, as well as touring for 6 months in the play Framed in which she starred with Tom Craig from Coronation Street.
In April 2006, the Daily Mirror reported that Benjamin was in talks with EastEnders about reprising the role of Lisa Fowler. Benjamin, however, has confirmed in a recent interview that all rumours of her returning to EastEnders were inaccurate and that the programme was not in contact with her.
In June 2006, Benjamin appeared on The X Factor: Battle of the Stars, where she was the outright winner. She was mentored by the judge, Louis Walsh. She also appeared as Heather in Stephen Fry’s drama Kingdom. In October 2006, Benjamin appeared in an episode of the BBC medical drama Doctors.
In September 2008, she appeared in All Star Family Fortunes, winning £10,000 for her charity http://www.rosiesrainbowfund.co.uk.
She starred in The Pretender Agenda at the New Players Theatre (formerly the Players Theatre) with Lee Ryan. Benjamin starred also in the directorial debut from FX Artist Tristan Versluis the UK horror film called Not Alone.
She was a contestant in the ITV1 series I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here!
Benjamin recently was in the UK Nationwide tour of the West End hit stage show, Hairspray.
Benjamin married oil businessman Richard Taggart at Babington House, Somerset on 30 March 2006. The couple met during a flight to Dubai and became engaged three months later.
Benjamin and Taggart now live in Gidea Park, greater London. She is a fan of West Ham United F.C.. In the first episode of the The X Factor: Battle of the Stars show on 31 May 2006, Sharon Osbourne let slip that Benjamin was pregnant. Evidently shocked at the revelation, Benjamin smiled while host Kate Thornton commented: “I don’t think you wanted that announced tonight, did you?”. Osbourne always commented on the fact that she was pregnant and constantly praised her for her singing talents. Benjamin gave birth by caesarean section to a daughter at Harold Wood Hospital, east London on 22 November 2006. On 19 October 2010, she revealed that she was three-months pregnant with her second child. In April 2011, she gave birth to a second daughter.
She is a patron of the charity Rosie’s Rainbow Fund.
In May 2015, she was awarded £157,250 by Mr Justice Mann as part of a £1.2-m celebrity payout during the phone hacking scandal of the Mirror Group newspapers (Trinity Mirror), under her married name Lucy Taggart.
Television, theatre and film