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Holliday Grainger: 6 of her career-defining roles, from Great Expectations to The Capture

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Hollie Richardson
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Holliday Grainger TV roles

Holliday Grainger is having a big moment right now in BBC show The Capture. But the actor has impressed us in everything from period dramas to fairytale retellings. Here are six of her best roles… 

Holliday Grainger is currently confusing the whole nation in her new BBC surveillance thriller, The Capture. She plays the ambitious and curious DI Rachel Carey, who’s trying to solve a kidnapping case in a world of false news and fake evidence. If you haven’t even watched the first episode yet, you should probably catch up (no pressure), because we’re already on epsiode three.

The show’s success has got the internet asking: who is Holliday Grainger? And what TV shows and films has Grainger been in before? 

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We’re predicting big things for the Manchester-born actor, especially after her refreshingly raw performance in this year’s indie hit film Animals. So we decided to take a look back at all the shows and films that she’s absolutely nailed her roles in. 

  • Great Expectations, 2012

    Holliday Grainger in Great Expectations.
    Holliday Grainger in Great Expectations.

    Like many before her, Grainger’s breakthrough role was thanks to an adaptation of a Charles Dickens’ book. Starring alongside Helena Bonham Carter and Ralph Fiennes, she played Estella in Great Expectations, which she has described as being her perfect role. 

    “In the novel you never see it from Estella’s point of view, throughout it’s like you’re watching her. And so it’s only really at the end that you figure out exactly why she’s become who she is,” she told the Irish Independent

    “It’s such a complex history of emotional damage really, and that kind of fascinates me. It’s such a deep level of hurt and anger and how she’s managed to restrain that and still maintain that kind of composure, I’ve always found her fascinating.”

  • Cinderella, 2012

    Holliday Grainger in Cinderella.
    Holliday Grainger in Cinderella.

    Grainger’s next big film role came in 2015’s Cinderella as one of the step sisters, Anastasia, alongside actors Cate Blanchett and Lily James

    “I’ve had a lot of fun in my posh period bitchy corsets,” she told What’s On TV, talking about the role. “I enjoy playing the slightly haughty, flirty bitches. It’s an outlet for something I don’t like to be in real life.”

  • Strike, 2017

    Holliday Grainger in Strike.
    Holliday Grainger in Strike.

    Strike is the BBC crime drama series based on the detective novels written by J. K. Rowling under the pseudonym Robert Galbraith (The Cuckoo’s Calling, The Silkworm and Career of Evil). Grainger plays clever and competent Robin Ellacott, who is half of the series’ investigative double-act with Tom Burke’s Cormoran Strike. Filming for a fourth series, Lethal White, has been confirmed. 

  • Patrick Melrose, 2018

    Holliday Grainger in Patrick Melrose.
    Holliday Grainger in Patrick Melrose.

    Grainger’s fabulous character in HBO series Patrick Melrose, Bridget Watson Scott, is a mood. The show is based on a series of semi-autobiographical novels by Edward St Aubyn. Bridget is the hippy-turned-socialite who ends up (unhappily) marrying into money. Patrick (Benedict Cumberbatch) encounters her at various stages in their lives throughout the series. 

    She also knows how to rock a red dress. 

  • Animals, 2019

    Animals film sex scene with Holliday Grainger
    Holliday Grainger in Animals.

    Grainger starred in the film adaptation of Emma Jane Unsworth’s book, Animals, about two party-loving friends who are approaching 30. Writer Laura (Grainger) meets a straight-laced pianist who quickly lures her into a calmer way of life, which causes tension with her best friend Tyler (Alia Shawkat ). Many women in their 30s have related to the nuanced highs and lows of the story. And, perhaps surprisingly, the excruciating oral sex scene is something that a lot of us can relate to

  • The Capture, 2019

    Best Autumn TV: The Capture
    Holliday Grainger in The Capture.

    Grainger is clearly a dab hand at crime dramas, as she has returned to our screens as DI Rachel Carey in new series The Capture. The series, which runs for six tense episodes, is set in our “post-truth era” of fake news and explores the incredible capabilities of the intelligence services. Rachel is ambitious, proud and assertive with her new power. But will she ever solve the mind-boggling case she’s been handed?

Although no other films or shows have been confirmed yet (apart from Lethal White), we’re sure that Grainger will grace our screens again very soon. 

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Image: Getty, BBC, HBO, Disney

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