WCW: Essie Davis


Sure, she’s Phryne Fisher to everyone now, but Essie Davis has shown up in a fair number of historical costume movie and TV roles previous to those murder-mysteries we’re all so fond of (plus some fantasy and sci-fi flicks). Let’s peruse, shall we?


Evelyn Bookman in The Ripper (1997)

Essie Davis, The Ripper (1997)

This GIF is all I can find about the Jack the Ripper TV movie. It looks like her in Victorian garb, so I’m calling it good. Don’t @ me.


Mary Costello in Kings in Grass Castles (1998)

Essie Davis, Kings in Grass Castles (1998)

Popular miniseries about an Irish family that immigrates to Australia in the 19th century.


Catharina in Girl With a Pearl Earring (2003)

Girl With a Pearl Earring (2003)

Playing the put-upon wife of Vermeer. At least she gets great clothes!


Mrs. Lovett in Sweeney Todd (2006)

Essie Davis, Sweeney Todd (2006)

A TV version of the delightfully gruesome musical.


Cath Carney in Australia (2008)

Essie Davis, Australia (2008)

I was too annoyed by Nicole Kidman & Hugh Jackman to notice Essie Davis in this movie. Sorry!


Alma Stanley in South Solitary (2010)

Essie Davis, South Solitary (2010)

Something with sheep on a remote island.


Dolly Pickles in Cloudstreet (2011)

Essie Davis, Cloudstreet (2011)

Miniseries about a family from the 1940s-1960s.


Caitlin Thomas in A Poet in New York (2014)

Essie Davis, Poet in New York (2014)

Playing the wife of poet Dylan Thomas, near his death in the 1950s.


Phryne Fisher in Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (2012-2015)

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries costumes

You know her, you love her!


Dowager Queen Elizabeth in The White Princess (2017)

Essie Davis, The White Princess (2017)

At least she has one of the less stupid outfits in this show.


Martha Franklin in The Last Post (2017)

Essie Davis, The Last Post (2017)

A 1960s miniseries about a British army unit fighting a Yemeni insurgency.


Ellen Kelly in True History of the Kelly Gang (coming in 2019)

Essie Davis, True History of the Kelly Gang (2019)

About a family of Australian outlaws.


Phryne Fisher in Miss Fisher & the Crypt of Tears (coming in 2020)

Essie Davis, Miss Fisher and the Crypt of Tears (2020)

Taking on the big screen!



Have you seen any of Essie Davis’ historical costume movie or TV roles other than Miss Fisher?

11 Responses

  1. mmcquown

    White Princess and Girl With the Pearl; didn’t know who she was at the time, or I might have watched her more closely. Ned Kelly was a notorious outlaw who wore homemade armour and had a lot of songs written about him. Rolf Harris did one, at least. If you llike funny, slightly bawdy songs from Down Under, he’s your man. Best known for “Tie Me Kangaroo Down.” Anybody seen “Frankie Drake” yet? Some of the clothes and hair are bang-on, but Frankie herself is a bit dubious.

    • Keith Fraser

      Unfortunately, Rolf Harris turned out to be a sex offender in recent years.

  2. Roxana

    If that’s one of the LEAST stupid outfits in the White Princess just imagine the others. And, why, Queen Elizabeth, are you bareheaded with your hair hanging???

  3. Barbara

    Trystan, you have made my day. I had NO IDEA there was a Phryne Fisher movie coming! I am a little sad that it seems unlikely that I’ll be able to see it on the big screen (“limited North American theatrical release” probably does not mean Austin). This just looks so good though! I can’t wait! I’m bouncing with joy over here!

    • Susan Pola Staples

      Probably doesn’t mean Baton Rouge either. But Austin might, after all UT has a good drama department. And you’re only about 90 minutes or less from San Antonio. Maybe they will.

      But my favourite frock she did not including Phryne is Girl With Pearl.

  4. Brandy Loutherback

    Was anyone else annoyed with all the women backstabbing each other in “The White Princess”? It’s not feminist or cute! I had the same problem in “Maleficent Mistress of Evil”
    which came out a few weeks ago! But I digress!

    • Charity

      Women back-stabbing each other is a common theme in Philippa Gregory’s novels. It tells you what kind of a woman SHE is. :P

  5. SarahV

    Several point:

    1) She really is luminously beautiful. Like one of the best looking women on the planet.

    2) HOLY SHIT! A Phryne Fisher movie!

    3) is there possibly a better name than ‘Dolly Pickles’?
    3a) look at what a fucking sex bomb she is in that red dress!

  6. phlegmfatale

    Although it’s somewhat afield of historical costume drama, I highly recommend any Essie Davis fan check her out in the episode “Human Is” from the series “Electric Dreams.” Although it’s Sci-Fi genre, that episode hinges on emotion and a complex relationship between Davis’ character and her husband who is superbly played by Brian Cranston. There’s some highly-charged sex scenes, so don’t go there if you’re fragile. I could handle it. The performances are so powerful that I’ve watched that episode several times. I think the series can be seen on Netflix.

    I also adored her character in Game of Thrones.