Hetty Baynes-Russell is an established British actress and has had a long and successful career in television, film, radio and theatre. She was first on the stage at 3 as a ballet dancer and went on to secure a place to the Royal Ballet School at 10, by 12 was dancing with the Royal Ballet company at Covent Garden, with Fonteyn and Nureyev in various ballets.
She became a professional actress at 16 and highlights of her stage career include starring in John Osborne’s Inadmissable Evidence at The Royal Court Theatre, starring with Edward Fox in The Philanthrophist at Wyndhams Theatre, as Lady Fidget in The Country Wife, The Buglar Boy at the Traverse Theatre in the Edinburgh Festival.
Other regional theatre includes Cathy in Suddenly Last Summer ( Tennessee Williams), Jackie in Hay Fever, Natasha in Three Sisters (Anton Chekhov)and Dorimene in Le Bourgeois Gentilhomme. She was acclaimed for her comic performances as Ida alongside Maureen Lipman and Lionel Jeffries in Theatre of Comedies’ See How They Run and Shirley in Revelations by Steven Lowe at the Hampstead Theatre.
Best Actress nominations include Rita in Ibsen’s Little Eyolf, as Maddy in Women Laughing by Michael Wall at the Royal Exchange Manchester. Her most recent theatre performance was directed by Marilyn Imrie as Annie Wood in Doctor’s of Philosophy by Muriel Spark at The Edinburgh Festival 2018.
Her extensive television and film career includes starring with Alan Bates and Jeremy Irons in the Paramount film Nijinski directed by Herbert Ross. Television includes Vera alongside Sir John Gielgud in Agatha Christie’s Secret of the Seven Dials for LWT, as Camilla with Pauline Collins and Michael Gambon in The Tropical Moon over Dorking, as Stephen Fry’s wife Sophie Davenport in Simon Gray’s Old Flames, Harry’s Kingdom( BBC film), Maggie in Cor Blimey, Bergerac, Christmas Present, Dickens of London, Drummonds, Nicholas Nickleby, Sense and Sensibility, and Dombey and Son. Crime thrillers include Jackie Jordan in Jonathan Creek and Amanda in Touch of Frost. Many situation comedies including the daughter Jane in Carla Lane’s The Last Song, The Piglet Files, My Family. Performances with her husband Ken Russell directing include Hilda in Lady Chatterley’s Lover, Annie in The Secret Life of Sir Arnold Bax, Long Jane Silver in Treasure Island for Channel 4, Mindbender (feature film) and Alice in Alice in Russialand, TV film. Her more recent television work includes Footballer’s Wives, Father Brown and The Dumping Ground. Also as Verda Rowley, Romola Garai’s mother, in BBC series The Hour and Mo in Casual Vacancy by J K Rowley, alongside Sir Michael Gambon. She plays Mrs Gratowski in upcoming feature film Cordelia soon to be released.
Hetty has had an extensive radio career including as Marilyn Monroe in Anyone Can See I Love You by Marilyn Bowering and directed by Marilyn Imrie, for which she was nominated for best actress for The Sony and Prix Italia awards. Also many many single drama’s and drama series including most recently Rumpole of The Bailey also directed by Marilyn Imrie.
In 1992 she married the legendary film director, the late Ken Russell with whom she had a son Rex, now 27. Ken and Hetty were brought together working on his South Bank Show film about Sir Arnold Bax, mentioned above. Their shared passions for music, dance, choreography, and film developed into a whirlwind love affair shortly after filming ceased They were married 6 months after their first date on Valentine’s day at the same venue The Chewton Glen Hotel in a glorious and romantic wedding fit for a Ken Russell film, with Hetty dancing down a wooded glade to I Love You Porgy from Porgy and Bess. Hetty co-wrote with Ken on several projects including The Insatiable Mrs Kirsch and Treasure Island.
Adjacent to her acting career Hetty studied Philosophy BA in the late 80’s at Birkbeck College London University, where she returned and completed her MA in Creative Writing in 2015. She also studied fine art at Central St Martins in 2000. She had a successful exhibition of her paintings at The Strand Gallery November 2012 ‘Betsy and Blapsy- Life and Times’. She has a current Art Show currently at the Avalon gallery in Marazion, Cornwall. Now Hetty is working on a comedy-drama television series that she has written and is producing called Hooked. She is compiling an anthology of poetry with drawings ‘Winter Night Blue Rain’, and another TV series this time a drama ‘Don’t Call Me Darling’. Hetty has formed her own production company, Palomino Production.