As the series begins, Daphne is a recent immigrant from England who is employed by Frasier Crane as a live-in housekeeper and physical therapist for his father, Martin Crane. Her quirky personality and claims of psychic abilities provided comic relief on the show, while her relationship with Frasier's brother Niles Crane was a major dramatic plotline during the run of the series, progressing from Niles' secret infatuation at the beginning of the show to their marriage at the beginning of season ten.
Daphne was born in Manchester, England, the only daughter in a large, working-class family of nine children - although her accent seems to indicate an upbringing in a more rural area of Lancashire such as Chorley or Blackburn. She thus spent much of her childhood playing nurse and housemaid to her brothers. She has a complex love-hate relationship with her domineering and ever-complaining mother, Gertrude Moon (played by Millicent Martin); her relationship with her father, Harry Moon (played by Brian Cox), is much warmer and closer.
As a young girl, Daphne was an actress in the fictional hit British sitcom "Mind Your Knickers" (a show about "ethnically diverse" twelve-year-olds in a private girls' boarding school). Her career ended at age 16 when she became too tall and busty to play her short, pre-teen character. During her youth, she gained considerable skill at billiards, claiming to have won many tournaments. After working at a convenience store (which she implies was robbed), Daphne then took up a career as a physical therapist, working one-on-one with various invalids and shut-ins. At an indeterminate time, she migrates across the Atlantic to live in Seattle, seeking a new life free of her domineering family. In the third season finale You Can Go Home Again, it is revealed that prior to being hired by the Cranes, she had a chance encounter with them at Café Nervosa. In the first season premiere, The Good Son, Daphne is hired by Frasier Crane to assist Frasier's father, Martin Crane, with his daily activities and exercises. Martin suffers pain and discomfort from a bullet wound he received years ago while working on the Seattle police force.
Like most characters on Frasier, Daphne has many eccentricities. She often tells rambling stories about her family, cheerfully remembering rather grim or traumatic events, to the considerable discomfort of the Crane family. She is also a firm believer in the supernatural, and is convinced she is "a bit psychic". Daphne's apparent psychic abilities are often treated with ambiguity on the show, and her various 'visions' are sometimes shown to have come true -- often in a somewhat roundabout way, sometimes very accurately. As the series progressed, Daphne's psychic abilities were down played considerably.
Role on the seriesEdit
Daphne's most significant developing relationship over the course of the series is with Frasier Crane's younger brother, Niles Crane. Unbeknownst to Daphne, Niles falls in love with her in the third episode, when they first meet; despite the increasing obviousness of Niles' infatuation, Daphne remains utterly oblivious to Niles' feelings towards her, though they become increasingly close friends. Niles says nothing to Daphne, at first because he is married, later because she is involved with numerous (frequently unsuccessful) relationships with other men. Even when she is not, Niles can never work up the courage to tell her how he feels.
Niles' feelings are ultimately, and accidentally, revealed by Frasier in Season 7, Ep. 10, Back Talk. Frasier lets the secret slip under the influence of strong muscle relaxers while Daphne is giving him a back massage. Shocked to discover Niles' true feelings towards her, Daphne finds herself falling in love with Niles in return, placing her in the position Niles had been in for many years - in love with someone unaware of her true feelings.
Heartbroken to discover that he had, on impulse, married his girlfriend Mel, Daphne intends to go ahead with her own marriage to Niles' divorce lawyer Donny, until Frasier intervenes. In a two-part episode closing Season 7 and opening Season 8, Something Borrowed, Someone Blue, Niles finally confesses his feelings to her, and although she initially rejects him, saying she should go through with her promise, Daphne eventually changes her mind, abandoning Donny at the altar.
The guilt she suffers as a result, and the difficulties in Daphne and Niles' new relationship, cause Daphne to begin overeating (a previous episode established her as eating junk food when upset, causing her family to believe she's pregnant). She gains sixty pounds (4 stone 4 pounds), but Niles is so blinded by love he doesn't notice until Daphne she falls to the floor and is too heavy to get up without the help of Frasier, Niles and Martin (who remarks "it took three Cranes to lift you"). The weight problem was written into the show to allow Leeves to continue working while pregnant. During the episode It Takes Two to Tangle in which she did not appear while at the hospital, Niles tells Roz that Daphne had lost 9 pounds, 12 ounces - the weight of Leeves' baby.At some point in Season 10, she becomes a U.S. citizen. In the first episode of Season 10, Daphne and Niles marry in a small, private ceremony in Reno, Nevada. The rest of Season 10 and early Season 11 show Daphne and Niles adjusting to their new life as a wedded couple. Daphne and Niles have their first child, David, in the final episode of the series, Goodnight, Seattle. (He is named after the show's co-creator David Angell, who died in the September 11, 2001 attacks.)
Daphne grew up in a very large, dysfunctional family. They are often the subject of her long winded tales that sometimes leave the Cranes somewhat perplexed. Although frequently mentioned, the first time one of her family members appears on the show is in the season 7 episode Dark Side of the Moon, in which Donny surprises Daphne with a visit from her brother, Simon Moon (Anthony LaPaglia), not knowing that she dislikes him (her favorite brother, Stephen Moon, never appears until the final episode, where he is played by Richard E. Grant). In Something Borrowed, Someone Blue Daphne's mother Gertrude makes her first appearance, while her father Harry Moon only makes his debut in Season 9. Roz mentions Daphne's Aunt Ida in Something Borrowed, Something Blue.
Many of Daphne's eight brothers have appeared on the show; unfortunately, few of them maintained consistency with Daphne's Northern accent. Anthony LaPaglia, an Australian actor, faked a Cockney (London) accent, while Robbie Coltrane, who is Scottish, played Daphne's brother Michael Moon with a muddled Brummy (Birmingham) accent. Most of the brothers are portrayed as lawless, alcoholic ne'er-do-wells and womanizers, except for Billy Moon, who is implied to be gay, such as in the episode Daphne's Room, in which Daphne said 'All of my brothers would peek at me in the shower, all of them! Except for Billy that is...' When Daphne talks with her mom Gertrude about resuming her sex life with Niles after his heart surgery, Gertrude tells her to "use her feminine wiles, that’s how your brother Billy landed Kevin."
Despite her brothers' obvious faults, she is the one repeatedly criticized by her mother, while her older brothers are viewed through rose-colored glasses.
The names of Daphne's brothers:
- The role was originally to be filled by Lisa Maxwell who left before production began due to a dispute with producers.
- There are well over a dozen character and story-telling errors about Daphne Moon contained in the Frasier series episodes, listed here.