Inside Hollyoaks Glynis Barber’s life – rival soap roles to co-star romances
2nd May 2022

Hollyoaks viewers have already seen that The Undertaker is not to be messed with.

Friday 29th April's episode saw village bad by Ethan (Matthew Bailey) shocked by the arrival of a woman named Norma, aka The Undertaker (Glynis Barber).

Events spiralled out of control, with the glamorous gangster threatening the lives of Ethan and his associates Ste (Kieron Richardson) and Sienna (Anna Passey).

However, Norma then shot and killed her lover Asher (Joe Mallalieu), before revealing to the shocked trio that, wanting out of the criminal business, Asher had secretly become a police informant in exchange for his freedom.

As The Undertaker opens for business, Daily Star Online takes a look at actress Glynis Barber's life…

Early life

Born Glynis van der Riet in Durban, South Africa, she moved to Johannesburg aged 5 with her mother after her parents divorced.

Glynis was a shy child but wanted to be an actress ever since seeing Hayley Mills in The Parent Trap when she was aged 5.

Sadly, when Glynis was 17 her mother died. The following year she moved to London to study drama and stayed after graduating.

Early career

Stage work, including for the Royal Shakespeare Company, was followed by TV roles in cult sci-fi hit Blake's 7 and the light-hearted series Jane, based on the popular wartime comic strip.

Her big break came in 1984 when she was cast as the cop, Makepeace, in a major British and American co-production of the series 'Dempsey & Makepeace'.

The cops 'n' robbers show was a worldwide hit, being shown in over thirty countries and running for three series.

Her co-star was American actor Michael Brandon, and he and Glynis became a couple off-screen.

In 1989, Glynis and Michael got married & went to live in Los Angeles. Their son Alex was born there in 1992.

UK return

The family eventually returned to the UK and Glynis has roles in short-lived ITV soap Night and Day before appearing in Emmerdale from 2006 to 2007.

Her character DCI Grace Barraclough investigated the murder of Tom King and had an affair with his son Carl before being hit by a lorry and dying.

Walford calling

As Ronnie and Roxy Mitchell's estranged mother Glenda, Glynis packed a lot into a short stint on EastEnders.

She was only on the Square from 2010 to 2011 (and with brief guest stints in 2016/17) but managed to pack a lot in, arriving just after the murder of her husband Archie.

Glenda slept with Phil Mitchell and Ian Beale, clashed with Peggy Mitchell and famously insulted most of The Vic's regulars.

Glynis was nominated for Villain of the Year at the 2011 British Soap Awards for the role of Glenda.


Glynis promotes a range of beauty products, wellness treatments and stress management techniques on her website, Ageless By Glynis Barber.

She states that: "My top secret is health. I believe that health is the key to beautiful ageing and happy life."

"I started taking good care of myself, from the inside as well as the outside, many years ago. And I believe that it’s paid off.

Hollyoaks continues weeknights at 6.30pm on Channel 4 and 7pm on E4

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