Inside EastEnders’ Gillian Wright’s life off screen including near death experience

Having appeared on EastEnders for a whopping 18 years, actress Gillian Wright has become one of Albert Square’s most familiar faces.

61 year old Gillian, who plays Jean Slater on the BBC One soap, has won awards for her on screen performances.

As part of her long-running role, the star has featured in several high profile storylines which have seen her character endure ovarian cancer and mental illness.

And while her stint on TV is full of drama, Gillian’s life off screen is equally dramatic.

Here’s everything you need to know about Gillian away from the spotlight…

Long-standing acting career

Gillian has pursued her acting career since she was a youngster and she graduated from Leeds in 1982 where she received a creative arts degree.

Gillian Wright has starred as Jean Slater on BBC One’s EastEnders for over two decades

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Prior to making a name for herself on screen, she worked as a teacher.

Away from EastEnders, she is also the co-founder of Pilot Theater in York which was founded in 1981.

The international touring theater company is aimed at creating high quality theater for younger audiences who may not have encountered theater before.

Pilot Theater’s website reads: “Across all our projects we seek to create a cultural space where young adults can encounter, express, and interrogate big ideas that are relevant to our lives right now.”

Gillian has co-founded a theater and has starred in numerous productions across the country

Gillian’s theater credits include Romeo and Juliet, Jane Eyre and How the Other Half Loves.

High profile TV appearances

She may be known to many thanks to her time on the square, but EastEnders isn’t Gillian’s only success on TV.

In fact, her first TV role was back in 1994 when she starred in the hit children’s program Chucklevision.

Gillian Wright
Gillian first appeared on EastEnders in 2004 as a one off performance

Since then she has appeared in shows including Casualty, Doctors, Coronation Street and Holby City.

But after joining the BBC One soap in 2004, the TV star has won numerous awards.

In 2006, she won a Mental Health Media Awards and in 2012 he won Best Actress at the Inside Soap Awards.

She also picked up Best Female Dramatic Performance at the 2019 British Soap Awards.

Gillian Wright
The actress has won numerous awards for her role as Jean

Near-death experience

Back in 2015, the beloved actress suffered from a near-death experience when she was diagnosed with acute pancreatitis.

As the organ rapidly inflamed, Gillian revealed that the pain was so excruciating that she’d thought about her own death.

Speaking to the Mirror, she said: “It was touch and go.

“It’s no exaggeration to say I had a real brush with death.

“The pain was unbearable. If somebody had given me the choice of living with that pain a day longer or swallowing a pill to end it all, I’d have taken the tablet. “

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