The Gold touch! How working class Essex girl Charlotte Spencer went from working in a charity shop to the leading lady in BBC Brink’s-mat heist series (via a few racy period dramas)
- Charlotte Spencer, 31, is an Essex-born actress who has become a huge TV star
- READ MORE: Is The Gold star Jack Lowden set to be the next Bond?
She plays an indomitable flying squad detective in new BBC drama The Gold, which tells the story of one of the biggest heists in history.
But you are more likely to recognise the flame-haired actress Charlotte Spencer from period dramas like ITV’s Sanditon and the BBC’s The Living and The Dead and even Les Miserables.
Charlotte, 31, has been acting professionally since she was just 12, when she landed her first major role as Jane in Mary Poppins.
In that time the triple-threat actress, dancer and singer has taken on many personas – from a politician’s mistress to a teenage jockey.
The star, from Harlow, Essex, has credited her parents’ support and sacrifice for helping her get into acting.
Charlotte Spencer, 31, from Essex, is currently playing an indomitable flying squad detective in The Gold (pictured)
The triple-threat actress, dancer and singer has taken on many personas – from a politician’s mistress to a teenage jockey – over the years
The star is used to a steamy scene or two, having appeared in the period drama Sanditon (pictured with her co-star Jack Fox)
And, incredibly, she revealed on Thursday that her dad knew one of the real-life coppers involved in the Brink’s-Mat heist The Gold is all about.
‘My dad actually, when I was reading the script, said he knew one of the policemen involved in this,’ she said on The One Show.
‘He knew Murphy from years ago,’ she told hosts Ronan Keating and Alex Jones.
‘They don’t speak now, but it felt very personal, and I really wanted the part,’ she added.
Charlotte told the Scotsman in an interview in 2016 that she’d always enjoyed the limelight, and had wanted to be an actress from the tender age of three.
Her ‘working class’ parents, Peter, a builder, and Karen, who worked at a school, decided the only thing for it was to help their starlet daughter achieve her dreams.
‘I just loved to perform and I had this confidence,’ she said. ‘I don’t know where it came from. Obviously my parents would sort me out, but they didn’t want to stifle me either.’
They re-mortgaged their home when she was 12 so she could attend the Sylvia Young Theatre School in Marylebone, London, necessitating 6am starts every day.
Charlotte has been acting professionally since she was just 12, when she landed her first major role as Jane in Mary Poppins
After a small role in the BBC’s Line of Duty, she was picked to play a horse-loving teenager called Tina in E4’s Glue
‘I’m very lucky to have such supportive parents. I loved to perform and people would say maybe in future, she will lose it, but I never did. I can remember being a right little show off. I was a nightmare.’
After securing a lead role in Mary Poppins soon after she started at drama school, Charlotte also graced the West End stage in Oliver! opposite Rowan Atkinson.
Then, at 21, she landed a leading role as Christine Keeler in Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musical take on the Profumo Affair – the scandal which rocked the 1960s political world.
The raunchy role saw her portray the MPs mistress, who was reputed to also be having an affair with a Soviet spy.
Charlotte said she was ‘absolutely over the moon’ to be playing someone with ‘such an important role in our history’. She added that she was captivated by Keeler because ‘she was such a mystery’.
Her West End role should have been a major break for the star, but the show’s run was cut short after it was cancelled, leaving Charlotte jobless.
She spoke out about the struggles faced by actors in between jobs, saying that she would happily do the job for free but it is tough to stay afloat in the mean time.
‘I love the work so much, but the bits in between are quite hard. You have to keep yourself hopeful and believing that there’s another job coming,’ she told the Scotsman.
In 2021, Charlotte starred opposite popstar Camila Cabello (right) as Narissa, an ugly stepsister in Amazon’s widely-panned version of Cinderella
Charlotte’s role in Cinderella saw her employ her acting and dancing abilities – and adopt a very different look trading in her auburn tresses with a over-the-top blonde do (right)
A keen singer as well as actor, Charlotte would help her mother out with her infant school choir in between jobs, which she said she found rewarding.
The actress landed another role after the Profumo musical came to an end when, fortunately, she had been kept in mind by a director.
After a small role in the BBC’s Line of Duty, she was picked to play a horse-loving teenager called Tina in E4’s Glue.
The whodunnit series, created by Skins writer Jack Thorne, gave Charlotte a major boost in the industry and she a BAFTA nomination as a supporting actress for her role.
The actress was cast as Charlotte Appleby opposite Merlin’s Colin Morgan in supernatural horror series, The Living and The Dead
At 21, Charlotte landed a leading role as Christine Keeler in Andrew Lloyd Weber’s musical take on the Profumo Affair – the scandal which rocked the 1960s political world
Charlotte then went on to be cast as Charlotte Appleby opposite Merlin’s Colin Morgan in supernatural horror series, The Living and The Dead.
In 2019, she starred in ITV’s eight-part drama Sanditon as Esther Denham, and shared a number of steamy scenes with co-star Jack Fox.
Then, in 2021, Charlotte starred opposite popstar Camila Cabello as Narissa, an ugly stepsister in Amazon’s widely-panned version of Cinderella.
The role employed her acting and dancing abilities – and saw her adopt a very different look trading in her auburn tresses with a over-the-top blonde do.
She is also known for her work on The Duke, alongside acting royalty Jim Broadbent and Helen Mirren, and in Hollywood star-studded musical Les Misérables.
Now the actress is playing Nikki Jennings, a fictional police detective who also happens to be the daughter of a notorious criminal.
In 2019, she starred in ITV’s eight-part drama Sanditon as Esther Denham, and shared a number of steamy scenes with co-star Jack Fox
‘She’s a woman who decided to become a police officer so that she could help people,’ the actor told Stylist.
‘An honest, hard-working woman, who doesn’t let her background define her.’
It is inspired by the notorious Brink’s-Mat robbery of 1983, which saw £26million worth of gold bullion stolen by six men in a van – which changed British policing forever.
The drama follows notorious criminal Kenneth Noye, who is played by Jack Lowden, and the police taskforce, headed by Brian Boyce (played by Hugh Bonneville) who were out to get him.
Charlotte, who once said she had always wanted to feature in a period drama (before she was cast in a number of them) said she enjoys the nostalgia of the show.
‘I was drawn to this project for many reasons, but mainly because the role of Nikki Jennings was so great – she’s such a well written character.
‘I also loved the fact that the story, despite being wild, was real. And, of course, the 80s was a great decade – especially the fashion.’
The actress shies away from social media, and came off Instagram after previously being on the platform.
Looking to the future, Charlotte told Stylist she would want to represent her heritage in her dream role.
‘If I could play anyone from history it would be Boudicca, the amazing fiery-haired warrior who fought off the Romans. She was the original Essex girl!’
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