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Inside Death In Paradise newbie Anna May Samson’s life off screen – from romance with co-star to trolling hell

A COUPLE of years ago, Anna May Samson was a fan favourite on Home and Away – and now she will play the role of the first-ever female lead detective in the Death in Paradise spin-off series Return to Paradise.

The actress, best known for portraying Mia Anderson in the Aussie soap, will make her first appearance on a mainstream British television show very soon.

Personal life and TV career

The 34-year-old actress is not widely known here despite being born in the UK. However, she gained fame in Australia for portraying Mia in Home and Away.

Anna’s journey began in Britain, before she was taken to Nigeria with her family when she was a child, until finally settling down in Sydney, Australia, to live out her teenage years.

While in Sydney, Anna landed her first major acting stint after studying at a prestigious Melbourne acting college.

The budding actress started off with various guest roles, including making an impression in the horror classic remake of Stephen King’s Children Of The Corn.

Anna has also featured in hit shows like Leftovers, Offspring, Dead Lucky, The Doctor Blake Mysteries, Hunters, and Jack Irish. 

In 2018, she won Best Actress at the Oz Flicks Awards.

Romance with co-star

In 2021, Anna announced that she’d be joining the cast of Home and Away as Mia, but her character faced immense heartache when her on-screen husband Ari, portrayed by Rob Kipa-Williams, lost his life to a terminal illness.

At the time, Ari’s brother Tane, played by Ethan Browne, presented her with a one-way ticket to New Zealand to help her start afresh.

Her exit from the show was snappy, as her character couldn’t stand staying in the picturesque coastal town after losing the love of her life.

During her time on Home and Away, the actress found romance off-screen with former co-star and fellow Australian actor Lee Jones, who appeared as Ambulance Officer Luke in a 2021 episode.

It wasn’t his first time on the hit soap, as he also played the role of Ned Re in a 2009 episode.

During their trip to Los Angeles, Anna and Lee posted cute snaps together on Instagram, where they could be seen enjoying the spectacular beaches and sunshine.

The pair also worked together on the 2017 mini-series Wake in Fright, in which they played Mick and Joe Jeffries.

However, since April 2021, the couple haven’t posted each other on social media so their current relationship status is uncertain.

Firing back at Trolls

Anna hasn’t had it easy off-screen, as she faced severe criticism from social media trolls shortly after it was announced that she would be the first leading lady for Return to Paradise. 

The young actress responded to the trolling and encouraged the trolls to ‘find something better to do’ while criticising the ‘culture of online bullying’ that spoiled her big moment. 

Expressing her frustration the actress hit back: “People still feel they have the right to shame, comment on and harass women about their appearance.

“This is not new. It’s part of a culture of cowardice. Cruelly commenting on our weight loss or gain, our faces, our choices, our voices. ‘I’d suggest to these social media bullies to find something better to do with their time’.”

Anna then took to Instagram, where she boasts nearly 20,000 followers to warn the online bullies: “You are guilty of contribution to a very problematic and dangerous culture.”

Her fans quickly came to her defence in the comments section, hailing her as “insanely talented”.

New role on Return to Paradise

Now, the star is set to have another huge TV break as she plays DI MacKenzie Clark in the upcoming Death in Paradise spin-off, which promises to bring “a distinctively Australian flair.”

Her new role will see her play an Aussie ex-pat who has made a name for herself within London’s Metropolitan Police despite her disdain for her homeland.

However, after being accused by the Met of tampering with evidence, she finds herself forced to return to Dolphin Cove in Australia.

The Return to Paradise plot will closely mirror her complex relationship with Australia during her time on Home and Away.

The upcoming storyline will allow fans to potentially see traces of her previous character, Mia, in her new role.

Massive Austarilan home

Having lived in Australia for decades, Anna has created her own piece of paradise in New South Wales.

In photos on her Instagram account, the book-loving actress shared a post featuring an enviable library in her home, with huge bookcases overflowing with novels and stories.

The tables in her snaps are also seen filled with books and plays.

However, once her time on the stage or screen is over, Anna likes to spend time in nature and share trips to the coastline with friends.

The UK-born actress has created a warm and loving home that takes full advantage of Australia’s sunny climate. 

Anna also often shares pictures of flowers in her brightly lit house.

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