Emma Rigby

Emma Catherine Rigby (born 26 September 1989) is an English actress. She is best known for playing the role of Hannah Ashworth in long-running soap opera Hollyoaks, Gemma Roscoe in BBC One drama series Prisoners' Wives and as the Red Queen in the American fantasy-drama Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. She played the lead role of Angie in Movies 24's A Cinderella Christmas (2016).

Emma Rigby
Emma Rigby with a fan.jpg
Rigby in 2011
Emma Catherine Rigby

(1989-09-26) 26 September 1989 (age 31)
Years active2002–present

Early lifeEdit

Rigby was born in St Helens, Merseyside, to Carole and Steven Rigby. She has an older sister, Charlotte. Rigby attended De La Salle High School, where she gained 9 A* at GCSE.


Rigby's first acting role was Lisa Gunstone in Born and Bred. Before getting the role as Hannah Ashworth in Hollyoaks, she had a few minor roles and appeared in another popular soap, Brookside, as Elena Jones.


In 2005, at the age of 15, Rigby was cast as Hannah Ashworth in Hollyoaks.[1] She received praise and recognition for her character's anorexia storyline, in which she was nominated for various awards including the British Soap Award for Best Actress in 2008.[2]

In November 2008, Rigby announced she was leaving Hollyoaks to pursue other projects, and would remain on-screen until June 2009. However, after meetings with soap bosses, Rigby extended her contract for an additional six months and remained on-screen until February 2010. Her final episode was broadcast on 11 February 2010.


For a brief time, Rigby also worked as a model, shooting a campaign with the photographer Rory Lewis in late February 2010.[3] From 2009–2011 she starred in several short films, including the award-winning Talk.

In July 2010, Rigby made her debut in the West End thriller musical Wolfboy. She had a non-singing part, playing the role of nurse Cherry. She received positive feedback from critics.

In 2011, Rigby starred as Brandy Mulligan in online series Becoming Human.[4] The same year, she appeared in the horror film Demons Never Die, and in September she had a minor role in the first episode of the C4 comedy Fresh Meat as Rachel.

In 2012 Rigby starred in the six-part drama series Prisoners' Wives, along with Jonas Armstrong. The show's first episode aired on 31 January 2012. Rigby played Gemma Roscoe, a young pregnant girl whose life falls apart when her husband is arrested for murder.[5][6] In March 2012, she had a guest role in Pramface as Mike's blind date Carrie-Ann. In June 2012, it was announced that she had scored the female lead in The Physician alongside Ben Kingsley. The film was released in late 2013. Also in 2013, she made her US film debut with a minor role in the Ridley Scott film The Counsellor.

In 2013, Rigby appeared in episode four of Ripper Street as Lucy Eames,[7] and in episode one of The Job Lot.[8] In April 2013 Rigby was cast in a lead role as the Red Queen in the U.S. television series Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.[9][10][11] In 2014 she starred in the remake of Endless Love and also played the female lead in the British crime film Plastic which is based on a true story, about a group of English university students running a successful credit card scam.

Rigby at San Diego Comic Con in July 2013

In March 2015, Rigby worked alongside James Franco in the movie adaptation of his book Actors Anonymous. It was released in 2017.

2016 saw Rigby make a return to British television after a three-year absence with a guest appearance on Death in Paradise.[12] Also in 2016 she had a minor role in US thriller television remake of Mother, May I Sleep with Danger? which premiered on Lifetime on 18 June. In the summer of 2016, Rigby signed on for her first female lead in a US film, starring as Angie in romantic comedy A Cinderella Christmas. It was filmed during that summer and released in December of the same year.[13] She also shot American crime thriller drama American Violence, playing Olivia Rose, which was released in early 2017.

In 2017 Rigby starred as the female lead in Hollywood Dirt which released on Passionflix in September 2017.[14]

In May 2017, Rigby appeared in the first episode of the final series of Inspector George Gently as Betty Platt.

In September 2017, Rigby joined the cast of comedy film The Festival.[15] She played Smurf Girl and the film was released in 2018. Also in 2018 she guest starred in the first two episodes of Sky One's Bulletproof.

In October 2018, Rigby joined the cast of the West End production of Agatha Christie's Witness for the Prosecution. [16] Rigby played Romaine Vole in the play, and made her first appearance in the role at London's County Hall on 20 November 2018 and her final appearance on 26 May 2019.[17]

In 2019, Rigby appeared in A Guide to Second Date Sex as Tufts. In 2020, she joined the cast of BBC Three's tv film Make Me Famous.

Personal lifeEdit

Rigby was number 98 on FHM's 100 Sexiest women of 2015.[18]

Rigby became an ambassador of CAFOD after reaffirming her Catholic faith.[19]


Film roles
Year Title Role Notes
2009 A Kingdom without a King Alicia Waterstone Short
2010 Talk Eloise
2011 Analogue Love Maggie
Demons Never Die Samantha Rearden
2013 The Physician Rebecca
The Counsellor Tony's Girlfriend
2014 Endless Love Jenny
Plastic Frankie
2017 American Violence Olivia Rose
Actors Anonymous Bree
Hollywood Dirt Summer Jenkins Passionflix
2018 The Festival Smurf Girl
2019 The Protector Camille
A Guide To Second Date Sex Tufts
Television roles
Year Title Role Notes
2002–2003 Brookside Elena Jones 3 episodes
2003 Born and Bred Lisa Gunstone 1 episode
2005–2010 Hollyoaks Hannah Ashworth Regular role, 3 October 2005 – 12 February 2010
2009 Hollyoaks Later 5 episodes
2011 Becoming Human Brandy Mulligan 5 episodes
Fresh Meat Rachel 1 episode
2012 Prisoners' Wives Gemma Roscoe 6 episodes
Pramface Carrie-Ann 1 episode
2013 Ripper Street Lucy Eames 4 episode
The Job Lot Chloe Episode 1.1
2013–2014 Once Upon a Time in Wonderland Red Queen/Anastasia Main role
2016 Death in Paradise Laura Hagen Episode 5.1
Mother May I Sleep With Danger? Nightwalker Television movie
A Cinderella Christmas Angie Wells Television movie
2017 Inspector George Gently Betty Platt Episode 8.1
2018 Endeavour Carol Thursday Guest Appearance, Series 5, Episode 2: "Cartouche"
Bulletproof Sophie
2020 Make Me Famous Michelle Television film[20]


Year Title Role Notes
2010 Wolfboy Cherry Non-singing role
2018 Ladies Day Shelly
2018–2019 Witness for the Prosecution Romaine Vole

Awards and nominationsEdit

British Soap Awards 2008
Year Award Category Work Result Refs
2007 British Soap Awards Best Actress Hollyoaks Nominated
2007 National TV Awards Most Popular Actress Nominated
2008 British Soap Awards Best Actress Won [21]
Best Dramatic Performance Nominated [21]
Best Storyline (for Hannah's Anorexia) Nominated
2009 British Soap Awards Sexiest Female Nominated
2012 TV Choice Awards Best Actress Prisoners' Wives Nominated

In 2007, at the age of 17, Rigby was nominated for Best Actress in the British Soap Awards (being one year too old to qualify for Best Dramatic Performance for a Young Actor/Actress), but did not make it to the final four. She was also nominated for Most Popular Actress at the National Television Awards. A year later, she won The British Soap Award for Best Actress and was nominated for Best Dramatic Performance, but lost to Jo Joyner.[21]

Her portrayal of Hannah Ashworth's battle with anorexia attracted praise. She won best storyline for Hannah's eating disorder at the annual Hollyoaks awards. She was up against John Paul and Craig's affair, the "Who pushed Clare?" storyline, and Kris and Jess's relationship.[22] At the All About Soap Bubble Awards in April 2008, Rigby won an award for the 'I'm a Survivor' (for the bravest soul in soap) category.[23]


  1. ^ Miles, Tina (29 September 2015). "Hollyoaks 20th anniversary: Some of the soap's sexiest actresses". liverpoolecho.co.uk. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  2. ^ "Hollyoaks' Emma Rigby crowned best soap actress". St Helens Star. Retrieved 3 July 2017.
  3. ^ Emma Rigby Photoshoot Rory Lewis Photographer http://rorylewisphotography.com/blog/emma-rigby-photoshoot/
  4. ^ "TV Review: Becoming Human – For whom the school bell tolls". whatculture.com. 21 March 2011. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  5. ^ Collinson, Dawn (31 January 2012). "Ex-Hollyoaks star Emma Rigby on her new BBC1 drama Prisoners' Wives". liverpoolecho.co.uk. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  6. ^ "Emma Rigby talks about her new role in BBC's Prisoners' Wives". St Helens Star. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  7. ^ "'Ripper Street' episode four review". digitalspy.com. 20 January 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  8. ^ "Russell Tovey, Emma Rigby for ITV comedy". digitalspy.com. 23 February 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  9. ^ Andreeva, Nellie (4 April 2013). "Emma Rigby Cast In ABC's 'Once Upon A Time' Spinoff As Red Queen". deadline.com. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  10. ^ "Emma Rigby talks 'Once Upon a Time in Wonderland's' Red Queen". hypable.com. 12 November 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  11. ^ "'Once Upon a Time in Wonderland' star Emma Rigby loves 'deliciously evil' role". Winnipeg Sun. 20 November 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  12. ^ "Paul Nicholls joins Death in Paradise". digitalspy.com. 3 September 2015. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  13. ^ "A Cinderella Christmas". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 11 November 2018.
  14. ^ "Alessandra Torre's Blog - Hollywood Dirt Movie Casting! - February 24, 2017 14:11". www.goodreads.com. Retrieved 4 July 2017.
  15. ^ "Inbetweeners creators reunite for new comedy film". Radio Times. Retrieved 5 September 2017.
  16. ^ "Jasper Britton, Emma Rigby and Ewan Stewart join the cast of Witness for the Prosecution". WhatsOnStage. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  17. ^ "Photo Flash: First Look at the New Cast of Witness for the Prosecution". Broadway World. Retrieved 29 November 2018.
  18. ^ "FHM 100 sexiest women in the world 2015". Microsoft News.
  19. ^ "Emma Rigby's new role as Cafod ambassador". www.sthelensreporter.co.uk. Retrieved 1 July 2017.
  20. ^ "Meet the cast of reality TV drama Make Me Famous". Radio Times. Retrieved 10 June 2020.
  21. ^ a b c Hollyoaks triumphs, Metro.co.uk; accessed 7 March 2014.
  22. ^ The Hollyoaks Awards 2007 » Hollyoaks » Channel 4; accessed 7 March 2014.
  23. ^ all about soap awards, channel4.com; accessed 7 March 2014.

External linksEdit