Georgina Cates in Clay Pigeons (1998) My interest in Cates was reawakened this week thanks to Drama, a cable channel, repeating 2.4 Children on weekdays. Cates, or Clare Woodgate as she was known back then at the tender age of 16, played the role of Jenny Porter; the daughter in the family sitcom for the initial two series from 1991 to '92.
After leaving the sitcom, Clare Woodgate auditioned for the lead role of naive Liverpudlian girl Stella in the 1995 Mike Newell film An Awfully Big Adventure but was unsuccessful. Determined, Woodgate returned home, and reinvented herself from the 20 year old TV actress Clare Woodgate from Colchester, Essex to a 17 year old newcomer to acting, Georgina Cates from Liverpool. She reapplied for the role in her new guise and was successfully cast, duping the production including her co-stars Hugh Grant and Alan Rickman.
It was a move that was alleged to have annoyed Rickman, as the pretence meant she had to pretend to be a teenager and not the experienced 20 year old with a string of TV credits already to her name. Her role involved a difficult and controversial love story between her and Rickman's character (I won't give it away if you haven't seen it, but I would recommend watching it, it's very good) and Newell is on record as stating Rickman, believing her lie "treated her very tactfully, presuming she was sexually inexperienced and could get upset by the scene"
Following her success in An Awfully Big Adventure Georgina Cates, as she know preferred to be known, moved to America starring in primarily independent features. I have to say the majority of which I remain unfamiliar with. She married actor Skeet Ulrich in 1997 and the pair had twins. I recall her performance in the hit and miss spoof Stiff Upper Lips (a kind of skit on Jane Austen and period dramas in the Naked Gun/Airplane vein of humour) from 1998 but it seems family commitments ended her career before the end of the century.
In 2005 she divorced Ulrich, citing irreconcilable differences and returned to the acting profession two years later, bagging the Best Actress Award from the Brooklyn Arts Council Film and Video Festival for the 2007 indie feature Sinner
From here it seems she's largely working in TV Stateside, guest appearances and roles in TV movies whilst no doubt bringing up her two children. I don't want to sound indelicate or ungentlemanly towards someone whose talents I admire but I regret to say time hasn't been as kind as it ought to have been to the 38 year old Cates, with some tell tale limp pumping and a much gaunter appearance in recent twitter photos - as you can also see in this film premiere photo above. But I wholeheartedly wish her well and thank her for her performances. I hope to see her in something else soon.