Felicity Jones – From The Archers to Rogue One: A Star Wars Story

From The Archers to the Academy Awards, Cemetary Junction to Chalet Girl, we look back at the career of the Rogue One star

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If there’s one British actress making waves in a galaxy far, far away right now it’s Felicity Jones.

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The Birmingham-born 31 year old received an Oscar nod – plus Golden Globe, Screen Actor’s Guild and Bafta nominations – for her turn as Jane Wilde Hawking opposite Eddie Redmayne’s Stephen in biopic The Theory of Everything.

And then she was cast as the first major female lead in Star Wars anthology film, Rogue One.

The force may be strong with this one but it’s been a long road to the Hollywood hills for the Brummie from Bourneville…

Why does her face look vaguely familiar?

To an entire generation Jones is probably best known as a right teenage, err, witch. Remember that kids TV show The Worst Witch? Jones was the original Ethel Hallow, a mischievous little madame who made it her business to keep Mildred Hubble in toil and trouble.

She only stayed for one series though, eventually reprising the role in spin-off Wierdsister College years later.

And now that they’re rebooting the series, she’s hoping they’ll call her back for a cameo.

Haven’t I heard her voice somewhere before too?

Do Felicity’s dulcet tones ring a bell? That’s probably thanks to the role that set her on the path to performing glory. It all began on BBC Radio 4’s The Archers, for which she provided the voice of Emma Carter during her teens.

Here, she recalls how the role made her popular with her friends’ parents (there’s also some stuff on that Oscar-nominated film she’s in, too…)

Where on earth has she been for the past decade then?

To put it simply, doing a LOT of TV and theatre. That’s probably why many people will know her as “that girl from that thing”.

In 2003 she joined ex-EastEnder and Doc Martin star Joe Absolom for BBC’s pre-Downton offering Servants before going on to walk the period drama line for quite some time.

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Roles in Northanger Abbey, the Brideshead Revisited remake, the BBC’s five-part adaptation of The Diary of Anne Frank and short-lived Channel 4 drama Cape Wrath kept her busy throughout the noughties. She even turned up in Doctor Who – yet another period role, in an episode about Agatha Christie. 

That still doesn’t explain how she ended up in Hollywood…

We weren’t kidding when we said her big screen star was a while in the ascendance.

Jones joined the cast of Ricky Gervais’ Cemetary Junction in 2010 but it was her role in the 2011 Sundance Film Festival Grand Jury Prize winner Like Crazy that finally gave her a bit of a well deserved break.

From there she went on to star opposite Helen Mirren in that gender-reversed version of The Tempest (is there ANYTHING Ms Mirren can’t do?) and make a few more indie flicks before getting in on the mainstream comic book action as Felicia Hardy in the slightly less than Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Didn’t she make a rom-com with that guy from Gossip Girl too?

Yes, she spent months learning to snowboard for the delightfully cheesy Chalet Girl. Ed Westwick, Bill Bailey, Bill Nighy, Brooke Shields and Tamsin Egerton co-starred.

Then there was Albatross – a bit of a coming of age drama – with Downton Abbey alumnus Jessica Brown Findlay too. 

And next up for her is A Monster Calls, the big screen adaptation of the book co-created by Doctor Who spin-off Class creator Patrick Ness.

In Rogue One, is she the Star Wars leading lady we’ve been looking for?

We’ve leave it to you to make your mind up about that one, shall we?

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Rogue One: A Star Wars Story opens in UK cinemas on December 16th