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Parminder Nagra

ER Star Receives University of Leicester Honour

Honour for Parminder Nagra

The internationally famed actress who plays Neela in ER and who starred as Jess Bhamra in the hit film Bend it Like Beckham is to receive an Honorary Degree from the University of Leicester.

Parminder Nagra, who will receive the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters on Wednesday 11th July at 3pm at the De Montfort Hall, Leicester, comes from Belgrave in Leicester.

Her association with the theatre world began when she worked as an usher at Leicester’s Haymarket Theatre at the age of 16, but it was not long before she was appearing on stage at the Theatre.

Her first role was in a musical, Nimai, with the Leicester-based British Asian theatre company, Hathi Productions, soon after she had taken her A-levels. When the leading actress was taken ill, Parminder stepped into her part.

She moved to London where, three years later in 1994, she played the Princess in the pantomime Sleeping Beauty at the Theatre Royal in Stratford East, followed by a string of radio, television and stage parts which included Casualty and Holby City.

In 2002 she was cast as the football crazy schoolgirl in Bend it Like Beckham, instantly becoming an international celebrity. The film became the highest-grossing British comedy in US cinema history.

Among the awards she received for her portrayal of the role was FIFA’s ‘International Football Personality of the Year’ – the first time this has ever been awarded to a woman.

Bend it Like Beckham was followed by more film and TV roles and in 2003 Parminder Nagra began to play the part of Neela Rasgotra in ER. She has now acted in more than 90 episodes and is one of the series’ central characters.

As a child growing up in Leicester Parminder attended Northfield House Primary School, then Soar Valley College, where she played viola in the orchestra and acted in drama productions.

Note to editors: Parminder Nagra will receive the Honorary Degree of Doctor of Letters from the University of Leicester at a ceremony at the De Montfort Hall, Leicester, on Wednesday 11th July at 3pm.

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