Stella Gonet was born in Greenock, Scotland on May 8th 1963. The Gonet name derives from Poland, where her father was a member of the forces during World War Two. She trained at the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and has been a respected stage and screen actress since the early 1980's, performing on television, film and in the theatre.
Gonet is perhaps best known for being the authoritative Beatrice Eliott in the 1990s BBC series House of Eliott
. However, she has played numerous diverse television roles from a maltreated wife to a psychotic stalker. Early in her career, she appeared as Dr. Clare Wainwright in a couple of episodes of the BBC hospital drama Casualty
. Later, in Lucy's Gannon's 1996 drama Trip Trap
, she was the abused wife Kate Armstrong. Her character was caught in an increasingly estranged marriage and was the victim of domestic violence. In 2002, she played Nadia Collins, the volatile and vengeful character in The Secret
opposite the actress Haydn Gwynne. She also played the ill-fated Fiona Urville in the 1996 BBC adaptation of Ian Bank's novel The Crow Road
Although these appearances enabled her to demonstrate her acting talents, none of her television roles have yet matched the success, or popularity, of her performance in House of Elliott
More recently, Gonet has put in some notable guest star roles in television dramas, particularly murder mysteries. She has appeared as a potential love interest for Michael Kitchen's character in Foyle's War
as Barbara in the episode "They Fought in the Fields". She also played the duplicitous Lady Sarah Keach in an Inspector Lynley Mysteries
episode, "In the Guise of Death". Other notable appearances have been in the Scottish based detective series Taggart
and ITV's Midsomer Murders
. It is through these guest star appearances that she is still seen quite regularly on the small screen. Gonet was also in the feature film Nicholas Nickelby
as Nicholas' mother in 2002.
In the early 1990s, acclaimed British comediennes French and Saunders created a parody sketch on The House of Eliott
under the irreverent title, The House of Idiot
. Gonet made a brief appearance as the 'real' Beatrice Eliott alongside her co-stars from the show, Louise Lombard
and Kathy Murphy. Her ability to 'do' comedy also emerged when she played Anthea in the Drop the Dead Donkey
episode "Sex 'n' Death".
Gonet has had great success on the stage and has said in interviews that it is a medium she particularly enjoys doing. She has performed numerous times for the RSC. Two of her most outstanding performances were in A Midsummer Night's Dream
as Titania, Queen of the Fairies, and Measure for Measure
as emotionally tortured Isabella; both roles were critically acclaimed. In a production at the National Theatre, she has also played Roxanne to Robert Lyndsay's Cyrano de Bergerac
With her distinctive Scottish lilt, Gonet has also appeared in numerous radio plays and audio books. She has performed the complex role Viola in Twelfth Night
, been Lady Ann in Kenneth Branagh's Richard the Third
and narrated The End of Summer
by Rosamunde Pilcher. Gonet has also made audio versions of the first two House of Eliott
novels, one by the show's original creator, Jean Marsh, the other by Elizabeth Clealry. In each one, she plays at least eight characters using a wide variety of accents.
She is married to actor Nicholas Farrell, and they have a daughter.