From Tudors to Queen of Sparta - Fiona's career is a real page-turner

FAME: TV show leads to book cover, two movies and shot at big time

By Fiona Dillon

It was her role in The Tudors that led actress Fiona Ryan to be picked for the cover of a new book.

Her face is gracing the covers of a novel called The Queen of Sparta, which is being sold internationally.

Fiona is originally from Kilcoon, Co Meath, and moved to London when she was 19 after graduating from the Gaiety School of Acting, and getting herself an agent.

"I thought that there might be more stuff over here, in terms of film and TV.

"As it turned out, I moved to London and then I got a job in The Tudors which was filming back in Ireland," she said.

Fiona was in the first season of The Tudors and appeared in five episodes.

"The author of the book saw me in that, and asked for me to be on the book cover, because he admired The Tudors," Fiona explained.

The novel, by author TS Chaudhry, is set in ancient Greece and has been getting really good reviews in the States, she said.

Mr Chaudhry works for the UN and is also a keen historian.

"He has been writing as a hobby, and wanted to do something like that," said Fiona.

Fiona has nothing but praise for Tudors star Jonathan Rhys Meyers, who played the lead role of Henry VIII in the series.

"He was excellent. It was pretty much my first role out of drama college.

"He was so humble. He was really helpful, when we did our scenes with him, he was always very calm and he always made sure we were getting enough time.

"When the Director would say 'are we ready', he would turn over to us and ask us were we actually ready. He would always look out for the people who needed help on set, so he was really sweet actually.

"Myself and my sister Rebecca were playing twins and we were running after musician Thomas Tallis," she said.

Since then, her career has been going from strength to strength.

She has been very busy with commercials and television work in the UK.

"I have got a good few TV series, appearing in a comedy called Off the Hook for BBC3. I was in Endeavour for ITV, and The Bill.

"I completed two feature films last year. I am branching into the film world as well which I love. One was distributed by Chelsea Films called Airborne.

"The other one got nominated for the best British feature in the Edinburgh Film Festival, and it was called Life Just Is."

She played a leading role in the movie, and former EastEnders star Paul Nicholls was one of the main male roles in it.


Fiona revealed that she is currently obtaining a visa to go Stateside to pursue more acting work over there.

She said that she would like to go to LA after this year.

"I am going to keep my head down and get a good few roles under my belt and then make the move.

"I am mainly going to stay in London, but once the work is over there, I will definitely go for it," she said.

"So it is all very exciting. I really enjoy acting in that sense, that every day is new.

"I am hoping to do a bit of theatre in London too. I have a few things in the mix."