Holliday Grainger

Holliday Grainger Biography

Holliday Clark Grainger (also credited as Hollie Grainger; born 27 March 1988) is an English screen and stage actress. Some of her prominent roles include Lucrezia Borgia in the Showtime series The Borgias and Estella in Mike Newell's adaptation Great Expectations. In May 2010, Grainger was named one of the 55 faces of the future in Nylon magazine's Young Hollywood Issue.

Early life

Grainger was born in Didsbury. She is of partial Italian descent through a grandfather. Growing up in Manchester, Grainger's first taste of acting came aged 6 when she was scouted for a BBC TV series. From then on, she appeared in multiple TV shows and independent films as a child actor.

She attended Parrs Wood High School from 1999 to 2006, then she started in 2007 a degree in English Literature at the University of Leeds. However, with her passion for acting, she eventually opted for an Open University where she recently gained a First Class Honours Degree.


Grainger's first acting role was at six years old in the BBC comedy drama series All Quiet on the Preston Front. A stream of roles followed in series such as Casualty, Doctors, Dalziel and Pascoe. Among her television roles at young age, Grainger is perhaps most recognisable for playing Megan Boothe in Where the Heart Is, Stacey Appleyard in Waterloo Road and Sophia in Merlin.

In 2011 Grainger became popular with the Showtime television series The Borgias, where she plays Lucrezia Borgia alongside Jeremy Irons in the role of Pope Alexander VI. The series, created by Oscar-winning Neil Jordan and shot in Hungary, ran for three seasons.

In addition to television she also performed on stage and on the big-screen. After her role as Emily in The Scouting Book for Boys she appears in a pair of 2011 feature productions " Jane Eyre, playing one of the Rivers sisters opposite Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender, and Bel Ami alongside Robert Pattinson and Uma Thurman. In 2012, she appeared in the film Anna Karenina, playing a minor role, Baroness Shilton.

In June 2011, Grainger landed a lead big screen role as Estella in Mike Newell's film adaptation of Great Expectations, opposite Jeremy Irvine and Helena Bonham Carter. The movie, screened at Toronto International Film Festival 2012, had its European premiere as the closing night film of the BFI London Film Festival. She recently finished filming the third series of The Borgias, starred in Disassociation, a play by Luke Bailey, at the Lowry, is due to start filming the British vampire film Hello Darkness this autumn, and has been cast as Bonnie Parker in a new mini-series about Bonnie & Clyde. She has recently been in talks to play the female lead in the film version of the play Posh, alongside Max Irons, and will also be part of the cast of Kenneth Brannagh's new cinematic retelling of Cinderella as Cinderella's step-sister, Anastasia Tremaine.

Personal life

Grainger resides in Manchester with her mother Gian, a graphic designer. She went to piano, gymnastics lessons, Taekwondo and was a pupil at the Madeley School of Dancing in Manchester.


Year Title Role Notes Broadcaster
1994 All Quiet on the Preston Front Kirsty BBC1
1996 Roger and the Rottentrolls Princess Kate ITV
1997 The Missing Postman Harriet BBC1
2000 Casualty Katie Stoppard One episode: "Seize the Night" (No.14.26); 26 February 2000 BBC One
2001 Doctors Nita Harmer One episode: "Writing to Charlie" (No.3.55); 23 May 2001 BBC One
Dalziel and Pascoe Nichola Crowley One episode: "Walls of Silence" (No.6.1); 29 October 2001 BBC One
2002 Sparkhouse Older Lisa Bolton September 2002 BBC One
2003 The Illustrated Mum Star 5 December 2003 (adapted from the Jacqueline Wilson novel) Channel 4
The Royal Carole Green One episode: "Coffin Fit" (No.1.3); 2 February 2003 ITV
2005 No Angels Simone One episode (No.2.5); 12 April 2005 Channel 4
New Street Law Katie Lewis One episode (No.1.1); 4 May 2006 ITV
Where the Heart Is Megan Boothe 18 episodes: 6 July 2003 " 28 August 2005 ITV
Doctors Holly Leavis One episode: "Indestructible" (No.7.87); 9 November 2005 BBC One
2007 Johnny and the Bomb Rose Bushell 15 January 2006 (adapted from the Terry Pratchett novel) ITV1
The Bad Mother's Handbook Charlotte Cooper 19 February 2007 (adapted by Kate Long from her own novel) ITV1
Waterloo Road Stacey Appleyard Four episodes (No.2.5, 2.6, 2.8, 2.10); 11 February " 12 April 2007 BBC One
2008 Dis/Connected Jenny 31 March 2008 BBC Three
M.I. High Leah Retsam One episode: "It's a Kind of Magic" (No.2.1); 7 January 2008 BBC One
The Royal Today Abigail One episode (No.1.3); 9 January 2008 ITV1
Fairy Tales Leeza Gruff One episode: "Billy Goat"; 31 January 2008 BBC One
Waking the Dead Nicola Two episodes: "Duty and Honour" (parts 1 & 2); 28"29 April 2008 BBC One
Merlin Sophia One episode: "The Gates of Avalon" (No.1.7); 1 November 2008 BBC One
2009 Demons Ruby All six episodes: 3 January " 7 February 2009 ITV1
Robin Hood Meg One episode: "A Dangerous Deal" (No.3.9); 30 May 2009 BBC One
Blue Murder Jess Burgess One episode: "Having it All" (No.5.1); 7 September 2009 ITV1
Above Suspicion Sharon Bilkin Three episodes: "The Red Dahlia" (No.2.1); 4 January 2010 ITV1
2010 Stanley Park "Dirty" Debbie Pilot BBC Three
2010 Five Daughters Alice Two episodes: 26"27 April 2010 BBC One
2010 Any Human Heart Tess Two episodes: 21"28 April 2010 Channel 4
2011"2013 The Borgias Lucrezia Borgia Showtime
Year Title Role Notes
2000 Daddy Fox Young Maggie Richardson Director: John McCormack
2008 Awaydays Molly Director: Pat Holden
2010 The Scouting Book For Boys Emily Director: Tom Harper
2011 Jane Eyre Diana Director: Cary Fukunaga
2012 Great Expectations Estella Director: Mike Newell
2012 Bel Ami Suzanne Directors: Declan Donnellan, Nick Ormerod
2012 Anna Karenina The Baroness Director: Joe Wright
Year Title Role Notes
2009 Dimetos Lydia Donmar Warehouse, London; 19 March " 9 May 2009
(author: Athol Fugard; director: Douglas Hodge)

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