Matilda Ziegler's first screen role remains her most notable. In her early twenties, during 1987–89, she played EastEnders' scheming Donna Ludlow who contended with prostitution, an attempted gang rape, a heroin addiction and finally suicide (dying of a heroin overdose). The final death scenes of Ziegler's character, who had choked to death on her own vomit, have been hailed as one of the most powerful anti-drug images ever screened on the programme.
Other television credits include Harbour Lights (1999), acting alongside Nick Berry, who also played her love interest, Simon Wicks, in EastEnders; Where the Heart Is (2000); Holby City (2003); Casualty; An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (1998) and the ITV police drama, The Bill (2003), among others.
Ziegler is more recently known for playing another long-suffering character, Ruth, married to car-salesman Toni, in the BBC sitcom Swiss Toni (2003–04). She also appeared in the BAFTA Television Award-winning drama, Sex Traffic (2004). In 2005 she played Christine Marshall in the fourth series of The Inspector Lynley Mysteries and in 2007 guest-starred in the BBC Birmingham/BBC One medical drama Doctors. She played the part of Pearl Pratt in the BBC adaptations of Lark Rise to Candleford in 2008-9.
She also appeared in one episode of Outnumbered
Stage and radio career
Matilda Ziegler has appeared in many stage productions, including Twelfth Night for the Royal Shakespeare Company (2001); the theatrical version of Mr. Bean; Women Laughing at the Royal Court Theatre; Volpone, Inadmissible Evidence and Machinal, all at the National Theatre; Featuring Loretta and The Memory Of Water—both at the Hampstead Theatre. She also starred as Sheila Birling in Stephen Daldry's award-winning production of An Inspector Calls at the Aldwych Theatre and for the production's Australian tour.
Her radio work has included playing Dr Ruth Anderson in the second and third series of the BBC Radio 4 comedy show, Rigor Mortis (2004–06). She took over from Tracy-Ann Oberman, who played the role in the show's first series.
Matilda Ziegler is married to the Coventry-born actor, Louis Hilyer. The couple first met while appearing in the London production of another Stephen Daldry-directed play The Great Pretenders. Since then they have worked together on a number of projects, including the Daldry-directed Inspector Calls, and TV's Harbour Lights. They have two daughters, Evie and Faye, and a son, Herbie.