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Joan Dowling

Joan Dowling

Joan Dowling had a passion for acting and as an aspiring young actress she would take roles in plays, pantomimes and other works simply to be on the stage. Her first recognised role was at the tender age of 14 and she signed her first film contract at 17. She had natural talent and did not have any coaching, voice or other lessons before being ‘discovered’. She was well known for her roles in Ealing Studios productions and met her husband, Harry Fowler, on the set of the 1947 Ealing comedy Hue and Cry (1947). Sadly, Joan’s life did not have a happy ending and she committed suicide in 1954 – a mere 26 years old. Her films are often shown on Talking Pictures.


Joe McFadden

Joe Mason

Joe McFadden was born Joseph Martin McFadden in Glasgow, Scotland to Irish parents. He began acting at 12 years old when a talent scout from the detective show ‘Taggart’ visited his school, Holyrood Secondary and invited him to play the role of the son of a murder victim. He followed this with various Scottish stage, film and television roles including the leading role Prentice McHoan in ‘The Crow Road”(for which he was nominated for a BAFTA) before moving to London and joining the original London production of the Tony award winning musical Rent as the narrator, Mark Cohen. He has appeared in notable stage productions for The Royal Court, National Theatre Of Scotland and played the title role of ‘Aladdin’ at The Old Vic theatre opposite Sir Ian McKellen On television he has played many memorable roles in various hit television shows including the lead policeman, PC Joe Mason in ITV’s ‘Heartbeat’ and also the brilliant trauma surgeon Raffaelo (Raf) Di Lucca in BBC hospital drama ‘Holby City’


Jackie Rae

Jackie Rae

Jackie Rae. Wikipedia

He was born John Arthur Cohen to immigrants in WinnipegManitoba in 1921. His father Goodman Cohen was Lithuanian and his mother Nellie (Rae) Cohen was born in Glasgow, Scotland.  Jackie began performing at the age of three with his brother and sister on the vaudeville circuit in Canada, billed as the “Three Little Rae’s of Sunshine”. Rae flew Spitfires as a member of the Royal Canadian Air Force during World War II and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross. During the 1950s, he was the host of The Jackie Rae Show, a variety show on CBC Television. Rae later moved to London where he performed on television for the BBCATV and Granada Televisionwhere he compered the popular show Spot The Tune for two years (1959–60) with singer Marion Ryan, and was subsequently the host of the first series of The Golden Shot. He formed a dance band known as the Spitfire Band in 1981 which toured across Canada.  In 2002, he was named as a Member of the Order of Canada.

Songs written by Rae were hits for Eddy Arnold and Andy Williams. He collaborated with Les Reed on songs performed by Engelbert Humperdinck and Tony Bennett.

Rae was married to British actress Janette Scott from 1959 to 1965. He later married Canadian singer and actress Patrician McKinnon.

Rae died in Toronto in 2006, aged 84

His brother Saul Forbes Rae was a Canadian diplomat and ambassador. His nephew, Bob Rae, is a longtime politician and a former premier of the Province of Ontario.


Osa Massen

Isa Massen

Osa Massen. Wikipedia.

Osa Massen (born Aase Madsen Iversen, 13 January 1914  – 2 January 2006) was a Danish actress who went on to become a successful movie actress in Hollywood. She became a naturalized citizen of the United States in 1941.

Born in Copenhagen, Denmark, she began her career as a newspaper photographer, before becoming an actress. She first came to the United States in 1937. She was recorded as Aase Madsen-Iversen, Danish actress, aged 23, on the manifest of the S/S Normandie, which sailed from Southampton, England, on December 18, 1937, and arrived at the Port of New York on December 23, 1937. Massen notably appeared as Melvyn Douglas‘ unfaithful wife dealing with blackmailer Joan Crawford in A Woman’s Face (1941).

Massen’s first film was Kidnapped (1935). She also appeared as a mysterious woman with something to hide in Deadline at Dawn. Later in her career, she appeared in guest roles on many television programs. She also starred with Lloyd Bridges in the science fiction film Rocketship X-M (1950), the first space adventure of the post-World War II era. She made three guest appearances on Perry Mason: in 1958, she played Lisa Bannister in “The Case of the Desperate Daughter”, where she was reunited with her “Master Race” daughter Gigi Perreau; and in 1959, she played Sarah Werner in “The Case of the Shattered Dream”. Her last television role was in 1962 when she played Lisa Pedersen in “The Case of the Tarnished Trademark”.

She was married three times, including once to Allan Hersholt, the son of Jean Hersholt, on December 15, 1938.

Massen died on January 2, 2006, 11 days before her 92nd birthday, following unspecified surgery in Hollywood, California. She had previously been living just outside Copenhagen until just before her final relocation (to California)m. Her cremains are buried at Westwood Memorial Park in Los Angeles, Californiamwith a plaque that lists her name as Osa Massen Vogel.


Delena Kidd

Delena Kidd

The daughter of a doctor and an actress named Violet Ormonde, Delena was educated at Cheltenham Ladies College and studied acting at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. As a student, she obtained a Gold Medal and a Sybil Thorndike Prize for her acting. Upon graduation, she acted in rep. in Ipswich, Eastbourne, Wolverhampton, Birmingham and Oxford as well as at the New Theatre and the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith. She was married to the actor Gary Raymond, with whom she had a son, Matthew Raymond, and two daughters, Sophie Raymond and Emily Raymond.


Diana Quick

Diana Quick

IMDB entry:

Diana Quick

Eclectic British stage actress Diana Quick was trained at Oxford University and has included both the classics and musical theatre in her repertoire over the years, ranging from “Troilus and Cressida” to “The Threepenny Opera”. Though not a potent name in America, she has occasionally graced films and TV. Specializing in aristocratic roles, she stood out among a highly formidable cast in the classic epic mini-series Brideshead Revisited (1981) and received both Emmy and BAFTA nominations for her efforts. She had a long-standing relationship with actor Bill Nighy, and they have one daughter.

– IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh /


Sophie Okendo

Sophie Okendo

Daphne Campbell

Daphne Campbell

Daphne Campbell. Wikipedia.

Campbell was born in Orange, New South Wales, the eldest child of orchardist Vic Campbell, and worked with a cosmetics firm in Orange before enlisting with AAMWS at age 18.

She was a corporal stationed in Cairns with AAMWS when “discovered” by director Harry Watt for the role of Mary Parsons in the all-Australian cast for the British Ealing Studios film The Overlanders. She had been persuaded to audition by a friend when in Sydney, and was chosen for her simple good looks and easy manner. She was also an expert horsewoman. While on the set, Campbell met Stephen “Sam” Calder DFC, who had been an RAAF Typhoon pilot during the war, and had recently been taken on as a commercial pilot by Connellan Airways. They married in August 1945 and had a home in Alice Springs. Sam would later have a career in politics as MHR for the Northern Territory 1966–1980.

In August 1947 Campbell was approached by an organising committee from the Alice Springs sub-branch of the Returned Servicemen’s League to represent the Northern Territory in the Miss South Australia Quest, preparatory to the Miss Australia Quest. The purpose behind the Quest was fund-raising for the RSL and for the Kindergarten Union, and Campbell was enthusiastic about these causes. An interstate protest was made against her candidature was made on the grounds of her being a married woman, but denied on the grounds of her nomination having been accepted before the rule had been instituted. A fair number of special fund-raising activities were held in the Territory in support of her campaign, including a rodeo and an Australian Rules football match,  and Campbell worked as hard as anyone but support was lacking from people who could best afford it, and a spoiling campaign developed on the grounds that she wasn’t a “true Territorian”, with the result that her funds raised barely exceeded £800 when expectations had been for considerably more. Campbell was adjudged Miss South Australia 1947.  Her eligibility for inclusion in the Miss Australia judging, on the basis of her marital status, was also questioned.

Campbell never made another film or entered another charity quest.

The Calders had two daughters, Erika (born September 1946) and Diana (born 5 January 1949).


Eleanor Bron

Eleanor Bron.

Eleanor Bron. Wikipedia.

Bron was born in 1938 in StanmoreMiddlesex, into a Jewish family. Before her birth, her father Sydney had legally changed his name from Bronstein to Bron, in an effort to enhance his newly founded commercial enterprise, Bron’s Orchestral Service.

She attended the North London Collegiate School and then Newnham College, Cambridge. She later characterised her time at Newnham as “three years of unparalleled pampering and privilege”.

Bron was the partner of the architect Cedric Price for many years until his death in 2003;  Her elder brother was the record producer Gerry Bron.

An interview with Bron in 2015 revealed that she had voted for Jeremy Corbyn in the Labour leadership election.

Bron began her career in the Cambridge Footlights revue of 1959, entitled The Last Laugh, in which Peter Cook also appeared. The addition of a female performer to the Footlights was a departure; until that time it had been all-male, with female characters portrayed in drag.

Her film appearances include the role of Ahme in the Beatles‘ film Help! (1965); her name inspired Paul McCartney when he composed “Eleanor Rigby“.  Other roles included the doctor who grounds Michael Caine‘s character in Alfie (1966), the unattainable Margaret Spencer in Peter Cook and Dudley Moore‘s film Bedazzled (1967), Hermione Roddice in Ken Russell‘s Women in Love (1969) and Sisters McFee and MacArthur in The National Health (1973).

She also appeared in the films Two for the Road (1967) alongside Albert Finney and Audrey Hepburn, and A Touch of Love (1969) with Sandy Dennis and Ian McKellen. She later appeared in the film adaptation of Black Beauty (1994) and A Little Princess (1995).

Bron’s earliest work for television included appearances on David Frost‘s Not So Much a Programme, More a Way of Life,  My Father Knew Lloyd George and BBC-3, where she performed in sketches with John Fortune; they had already worked together at Peter Cook’s Establishment Club. Later, her work included such programmes as Where Was Spring?(1969, also alongside Fortune) and After That, This (1975) – the one with the “egg” timer in the opening credits.

She collaborated with novelist and playwright Michael Frayn on the BBC programmes Beyond a Joke (1972)  and Making Faces (1975).

She appeared in “Equal Opportunities“, a 1982 episode of the BBC series Yes Minister, playing a senior civil servant in Jim Hacker‘s Department. Hacker plans to promote her—ostensibly to strike a blow for women’s rights—only to be sorely disappointed.

In 1979 Bron appeared as Maggie Hartley, a stage actress accused of murder, in an episode of the popular British legal series Rumpole of the Bailey, entitled “Rumpole and the Show Folk”, which starred Leo McKern in the title role. She also appeared as Mary in The Day Christ Died (1980), and played Mrs Barrymore in the 1983 TV movie of The Hound of the Baskervilles which starred Ian Richardson as Sherlock Holmes.

Bron appeared in a brief scene in the BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who serial City of Death (1979), alongside John Cleese. The pair are art critics in Denise Rene‘s art gallery in Paris who are admiring the TARDIS (which they think to be a piece of art), when the Doctor (Tom Baker), Romana (Lalla Ward) and Duggan (Tom Chadbon) rush into it and it dematerialises. Bron’s character, believing this to be part of the work, states that it is “Exquisite, absolutely exquisite!”[  Later she had a more substantial guest role in another Doctor Who television serial, Revelation of the Daleks (1985). Bron also appeared in the Doctor Who radio drama Loups-Garoux (2001), in which she played the wealthy heiress Ileana de Santos.

Bron played an art critic again in 1990, appearing in the BBC sketch comedy show French and Saunders in a parody of an Andy Warhol documentary. Later she made frequent appearances in Jennifer Saunders‘ television series Absolutely Fabulous. Bron played, via flashback, the recurring character of Patsy’s mother, a woman who “scattered bastard babies across Europe like a garden sprinkler”. After giving birth, she would always say “Now take it away! And bring me another lover.”  She had a supporting role in the 1994 BBC ghost story The Blue Boy, and also appeared in the BBC’s biographical TV movie Saint-Ex in 1996.

In 1973 she appeared in the West End musical The Card. Throughout the 1980s she appeared in Amnesty International‘s The Secret Policeman’s Ball live benefit shows, working alongside Peter Cook and Rowan Atkinson, starting with the stage show that preceded those, Pleasure at Her Majesty’s in 1976. In 2005 she appeared at the Liverpool Empire Theatrein the musical play Twopence to Cross the Mersey. She appeared in the role of an abbess in Howard Brenton‘s play In Extremis, staged at Shakespeare’s Globe in 2007. She also appeared in the dramatised version of Pedro Almodóvar‘s film All About My Mother, which opened at the Old Vic theatre in the late summer of 2007.

Bron also gave the premiere performance of The Yellow Cake Revue (1980),[16] a series of pieces for voice and piano written by Peter Maxwell Davies in protest against uranium mining in the Orkney Islands.

In 1985 Bron was selected, for her authoritative tone, to become “the voice of BT” and can still be heard on various British telephone error messages such as “The number you have dialed has not been recognized, please check and try again”.

In 1998, she appeared as Frau Luther in episode 2 “Stuckart” of the BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Fatherland, a novel by Robert Harris, along with Anton LesserAngeline BallStratford JohnsMichael ByrneWilliam Scott Masson and Michael Culver

In 2001 and 2002, she appeared in the BBC radio comedy sketch show The Right Time, along with Graeme GardenPaula WilcoxClive Swift and Neil Innes. Another notable radio appearance was in The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in the 2002 episode “The Madness of Colonel Warburton”. In 2001 she played the great-grandmother in the seven-part ITV series Gypsy Girl, based on books by Elizabeth Arnold.

In 2006 she narrated the BBC Radio 4 adaptation of the Craig Brown book 1966 and All That. Her other voice work includes a recorded tour of Sir John Soane’s Museum in London, England.

In April 2010 Bron, along with Ian McKellen and Brian Cox, appeared in a series of TV advertisements to support Age UK, the charity recently formed from the merger of Age Concern and Help the Aged. All three actors gave their time free of charge.

In June 2010 Bron guest-starred in Foyle’s War in the episode “The Russian House“.

She appeared in the long-running British TV series Midsomer Murders as Lady Isobel DeQuetteville in the episode “The Dark Rider”, first aired on ITV1 on 1 February 2012.

On 25 December 2013 Bron appeared on BBC One in an adaptation of the M.R. James ghost story The Tractate Middoth.

On 25 July 2014 she joined the cast of radio soap The Archers, playing the part of Carol Tregorran.

In November-December 2019 Bron read Salley Vickers’s Grandmothers[23] in 10 parts on BBC Radio 4.


Jeremy Childs

Jeremy Childs

Jeremy Childs. Wikipedia.

Coles John Jeremy Child was born on 20 September 1944 in Woking, Surrey. He was educated at Wellesley House School, a Preparatory school in the coastal town of Broadstairs in Kent and at Eton College and Aiglon College, followed by training as an actor at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School.

After appearing in repertory theatre, Child was cast in a significant role in the 1967 film Privilege. Since then he has played over 90 different roles in films and television, including a small role in the cult film Quadrophenia; as Piers Leigh in the miniseries Edward & Mrs. Simpson; as one of the main villains in Bird of Prey; as Tory politician Charles Gurney Seymourin the television adaptation of Jeffrey Archer‘s First Among Equals, and a cameo in A Fish Called Wanda. From 1977 to 1978, he appeared in the second series of Backs to the Land.

Most recently, Child appeared in the 2004 film Wimbledon and television drama Judge John Deed. He has also appeared in Doctors for one episode, and most recently appeared as David Walsh in EastEnders. Child has played the British Foreign Secretary three times in his career.

In 1993, Child appeared in a party political broadcast for the Labour Party which also starred Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry