Known best to television audiences for her recurring role as Jane on the ITV series Sharpe, Cruttenden later portrayed Anna on the BBC One sitcom Not Going Out. Her film credits include roles in The Theory of Everything (as scientist Stephen Hawking's mother, Isobel Hawking) and Charlotte Gray (as Daisy).
In the mid-1980s, she starred in a short-lived English television series titled Mog.
She was born into a family of artists and entertainers: her mother, Julia Cruttenden, was a popular stage makeup artist; her grandmother, Cynthia Coatts, was an acting and dance teacher; and her brother, Hal Cruttenden, had a successful career as a comedian.
Her first marriage -- to stage and screen actor Sean Bean -- lasted from 1997 until 2000 and produced a daughter named Evie. With her second husband, Jonathan Frase, she had a son named Merle.
She appeared with Helen McCrory in the 2000 BBC and PBS Masterpiece Theatre miniseries version of Anna Karenina.