Anna Louise Friel (born 12 July 1976) is an English actress. Born in Rochdale, she has been acting since the age of 13, appearing in a number of British television programmes. She played Beth Jordache on the Channel 4 soap Brookside which had the first lesbian kiss on British television in January 1994. She made her West End stage début in London in 2001, and has subsequently appeared on stage in several productions, including an adaptation of Breakfast at Tiffany's and as Yelena in a 2012 production of Chekhov's Uncle Vanya.
Friel made her film debut in 1998 in David Leland's Land Girls and has since made a number of films appearing with such notable co-stars as Christian Bale, Gerard Butler, Colin Farrell, Keira Knightley, Robert De Niro, and Rachel Weisz. Outside of film, she is probably best known in the USA for her work as Charlotte "Chuck" Charles in the ABC comedy series Pushing Daisies for which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award in 2008.
She is the recipient of a number of awards including National Television Award (1995), Drama Desk Award (1999), and the Royal Television Society Award (2009). She has also appeared in music videos and television and print media advertising campaigns and is the recipient of an honorary degree from the University of Bolton.
She was previously married to the actor David Thewlis, and in 2005 had a daughter by him.