Hopkins and the daughter he never sees play

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The Independent Online

Although Abigail Hopkins has been entertaining growing audiences with "avant-garde jazz" for the past three years, her father has not been to a single gig.

In other circumstances, last night's concert by Ms Hopkins at The Garage in Islington, north London might have been the opportunity for a family celebration because Sir Anthony is in town for the premiere of The Fastest Indian. But the two have been estranged for five years.

Ms Hopkins grew up in Putney, south-west London, with her mother, Petronella Barker, an actress who was married to Hopkins in 1967, but the couple divorced when Abigail was four.

Ms Hopkins, 36, who was an actress for years before turning to music, said she picked up her musical ability from her father, who is known in the family for his skills as a pianist.

"The only other person who is musical in my family apart from me is my father. He was going to be a concert pianist and he is brilliant on the piano, but then he became an actor.

"My mother read a lot of Shakespeare plays to me when I was young and took me to the theatre. I was brought up in a very literary environment and I love poetry, so perhaps that is why I enjoy writing song lyrics," she said.

In 2002, the rift between father and daughter hit the headlines after Ms Hopkins claimed she was driven to drink and drugs and contemplated suicide as a result of their strained relationship.

She became addicted to marijuana as well as amphetamines and dropped out of university, after an "intermittent relationship" with her father.

In an interview more than three years ago, she said: "I bottled up so much emotion in my childhood it caused my mind to go. I came very close to killing myself."

Although she has been estranged from Hopkins for the past five years, she has not ruled out a reunion with her father. Yesterday, she said she hoped he would come to see her perform a concert in the future.

"I live in London and he does not. I consider music to be all-inclusive and anyone is welcome to one of my shows and I'm sure at sure at one point, he will see me perform," she said.

After training as an actress at the Lee Strasberg Institute in New York, she found work in a number of films, including those starring her father, as well as producing the Sam Shepard play, A Fool for Love, in London. "My father very kindly had a connection to get me into the films, Remains of the Day, and Shadowlands, in which I had cameo roles," she said.

Three years ago, she launched a record label, Possessed, to produce two albums, Smile Road, in 2003, and Blue Satin Alley, which was first released last year.

While her father has yet to see her perform as a singer, he has been to London to see her perform in a number of theatre productions in the past.