Born: December 8, 1973
Famous for: Playing feisty character Sam Mitchell in hit BBC soap EastEnders
After leaving Bristol University with a law degree, Bromley-born Kim Louise Medcalf found herself selling soap powder before deciding to enrol on an eight-month speech and drama course. She got her first acting job in August 2001, appearing in the musical One Touch of Venus, but she leapt to fame the following year when, after attending an audition for a mystery role, she won the part of Sam Mitchell in EastEnders, taking over from Danniella Westbrook. Having showcased her vocal talents on the soap's Christmas Party, she was a contestant on Comic Relief Does Fame Academy in February 2005, coming second behind DJ Edith Bowman. Then in September 2005, the same month she filmed her final scenes for EastEnders, she expanded her musical experience by taking part in the BBC Family Prom in Hyde Park. Before the year was out Kim also appeared in stage versions of Margaret Atwood's novel The Penelopiad and South Pacific, going on in 2006 to deliver an acclaimed performance alongside actress Dame Judi Dench in a four-month run of Noel Coward's play Hay Fever. She followed this up in April 2007 by playing Sally Bowles in Cabaret, which also earned her strong reviews, and a short spell in The Vagina Monologues. Autumn 2008 sees the talented actress returning to the small screen alongside Paul Nicholls and Suranne Jones in medical drama Harley Street.