In an interview at the start of her career, Melissa Johns said she wanted to make “actors with a disability on television a perfectly normal thing”. Born in the sleepy Herefordshire town of Ledbury without her right hand and lower arm, Melissa’s successful television and theatre work has already gone some way towards making that a reality. She attended East 15 Acting School, where she was one of the first actors with a disability to win a Laurence Olivier Bursary, given to the best emerging actors.
She is now best known for her role as Hannah Taylor alongside Alison Steadman, Peter Davidson and Adrian Lester in Mike Bartlett’s compelling 2020 BBC One drama Life, as well as playing Imogen Pascoe in Coronation Street. She has recently wrapped on the latest series of Grantchester for ITV as new series regular, Miss Scott. When asked about filming for the show, she said that she “loved every minute of it”.
It was her portrayal of Sadie Moore in thriller The Interceptor (BBC) in 2015 and then Imogen Pascoe in long-running soap Coronation Street (ITV) from 2017 that really thrust her into the limelight. Since then, she has landed roles in I Hate Suzie (Sky) and Idris Elba’s In The Long Run (Sky), as well as playing Beth Fennel in series 2 of Flack (Amazon).
She had her first TV commission last year with What Would You Do Frida, a short for the BBC which she co-wrote and performed in, and is currently working on her one-woman show Snatched with The Lowry Theatre and Arts Council England.
Melissa featured in the Shaw Trust’s Power List, 100 Most Influential Disabled People in the UK, she was shortlisted for the Positive Role Model award at the National Diversity Awards and has been named JCI’s Ten Outstanding Young Pearson’s of the World.
Melissa is the co-founder of TripleC and DANC (Disabled Actors Networking Community) with Coronation Street actor Cherylee Houston. She is also an ambassador for Models of Diversity and Invisiyouth charity.
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