Tamzin Outhwaite: post your questions for the EastEnders, Bull and Masked Dancer star

We’ll put your questions to the actor known for Mel in EastEnders and the Scarecrow in The Masked Dancer, who is now in new movie Bull

Tamzin Outhwaite has popped up in everything from Men Behaving Badly to The Bill, Da Ali G Show, Silent Witness and Inside No 9, and even played a Cyberman-battling Imperial Guard in Doctor Who.

But when the Scarecrow finally took off her mask having taken fourth place in this year’s The Masked Dancer, most viewer would have thought: “Hang on. Isn’t that … Mel off EastEnders?”

After attending Catholic school in east London and studying at the Sylvia Young Theatre School and London Studio Centre, Outhwaite got her big break when she was cast in as fiery Mel Healy in the BBC soap in 1998.

Fiery … with Martin Kemp in EastEnders.
Fiery … with Martin Kemp in EastEnders. Photograph: Nicky Johnston/PA

It’s a role she played until 2002, reasoning on her departure: “I’m not sure what’s left for Mel to do after she’s been kidnapped, married twice” – to Ian Beale (Adam Woodyatt) and Steve Owen (Martin Kemp) – “burnt down a club and slept with her best friend’s husband …”

But, lo and behold, Outhwaite returned in 2018 as Mel became entangled with the Mitchells and Brannings before, almost two years later, getting into a row with Sharon, hearing the voice of her dead son, walking into the path of an oncoming truck and – splat, doof doof, doof doof doof …

Outside EastEnders, Outhwaite has played plenty of cops: a military police sergeant in the BBC’s Red Cap, Wesley Snipes’ partner in the 2005 film 7 Seconds, a futuristic detective inspector in the BBC’s sci-fi drama Paradox and DCI Sasha Miller in the BBC’s long-running New Tricks.

Voice of the beehive … as Barbara in Ridley Road.
Voice of the beehive … as Barbara in Ridley Road. Photograph: Ben Blackall/BBC/Red Productions

She was most recently seen on TV as 60s Soho hair salon owner Barbara in the BBC’s four-part drama Ridley Road, for which she has won praise not only for her acting but also for her beehive hairdo, which has to be seen to believed.

In 2010, she was a guest coach in the BBC’s Dorothy-discovering Wizard Of Oz talent show, Over The Rainbow. On stage she’s appeared in Grease, Oliver!, French farce Boeing-Boeing, and a 2016 revival of Alan Ayckbourn’s How the Other Half Loves. Over lockdown, she was in a YouTube project about the menopause with Scottish writer-actor Julie Graham, with the aim of raising money for the Trussell Trust, the charity that organises UK food banks.

She won plaudits for her film role as a radio interviewer struggling to come to terms with her husband’s death in the award-winning 2008 movie Radio Cape Cod, and was in 2007 London-set Woody Allen movie Cassandra’s Dream as well as 2012’s Great Expectations with Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes.

Now Outhwaite appears in new cinema revenger thriller, Bull – in which a former gang enforcer (Neil Maskell) returns to his old haunts to seek revenge – that has been written and directed by the Bafta-winning Paul Andrew Williams. (That’s what she’s doing here in the film section, in case you were wondering.)

So. Go on! What are you waiting for? Now’s your chance to do come up with some searching questions for Tamzin. Where does she keep her two British Soap Awards? What’s her favourite Spandau Ballet song? Wasn’t it a bit hot in that Scarecrow head?

Please post your questions for Tamzin here by noon BST on Tuesday 26 October. We’ll have a natter on your behalf and publish her answers on 29 October, ready for the cinema release of Bull on 5 November.


Rich Pelley

The GuardianTramp

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