Pauline Collins

Pauline Collins

Pauline Collins in November 2012
Born (1940-09-03) 3 September 1940
Exmouth, Devon, England, UK
Occupation Actress
Years active 1963present
Spouse(s) John Alderton (m. 1969)
Children 4

Pauline Collins, OBE (born 3 September 1940) is an English actress of the stage, television, and film.

She first came to prominence portraying Sarah Moffat in Upstairs, Downstairs and its spin-off Thomas & Sarah during the 1970s. She later drew acclaim for playing the title role in the play Shirley Valentine for which she received Laurence Olivier, Tony, and Drama Desk awards. She reprised the role in a 1989 film adaptation, winning a BAFTA and garnering Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations. In 1992, she released her autobiography, titled Letter to Louise.[1]

Early life and career

Collins was born in Exmouth, Devon, the daughter of Mary Honora (née Callanan), a schoolteacher, and William Henry Collins, a school headmaster.[2] She is of Irish extraction, and was brought up as a Roman Catholic near Liverpool.[3]Her great-uncle was Irish poet Jeremiah Joseph Callanan.[4]

Collins was educated at Sacred Heart High School.[5] and studied at the Central School of Speech and Drama in London. Before turning to acting, she worked as a teacher until 1962. She made her stage debut at Windsor in A Gazelle in Park Lane in 1962 and her West End debut in Passion Flower Hotel in 1965, (during this run, very hurriedly, her first film Secrets of a Windmill Girl -1966). More stage roles followed.

Collins played Samantha Briggs in the 1967 Doctor Who serial The Faceless Ones and was offered the chance to continue in the series as a new companion for the Doctor, but declined the invitation.

Other early TV credits include the UK's first medical soap Emergency - Ward 10 (1960), and the pilot episode and first series of The Liver Birds, both in 1969.

Collins first became well known for her role as the maid Sarah in the 1970s ITV drama series Upstairs, Downstairs. The character appeared regularly throughout the first two series, the second of which also starred her actor husband, John Alderton, with whom she later starred in a spin-off, Thomas & Sarah (1979), and the sitcom No, Honestly written by Terence Brady and Charlotte Bingham, as well as in a series of short story adaptations called Wodehouse Playhouse (1975–78). She co-narrated the animated British children's TV series Little Miss with husband John Alderton in 1983.

In connection with her Upstairs, Downstairs role, Collins recorded a 1973 single for Decca: What Are We Going to Do with Uncle Arthur? (performed by her character several times during the series) b/w With Every Passing Day (a vocal version of the show's theme).[6]

Shirley Valentine and recent years

In 1988, Collins starred in the one-woman play Shirley Valentine in London, reprising the role on Broadway in 1989 and in the 1989 film version. The film won a number of awards and nominations.

After Shirley Valentine, Collins again starred alongside her husband in the popular ITV drama series Forever Green created and written by Terence Brady and Charlotte Bingham in which the fictitious couple escape the city with their children to start a new life in the country. It ran from 1989 to 1992 over 18 episodes.

Collins' film credits include City of Joy (1992, co-starring Patrick Swayze), My Mother's Courage (1995 in Germany as Mutters Courage, released in the USA in 1997), Paradise Road (1997, with Glenn Close and Cate Blanchett), and Mrs Caldicot's Cabbage War (2002), another appearance with Alderton. In 1999 and 2000, Collins starred as Harriet Smith in the BBC television drama Ambassador, where she played the lead role of the British ambassador to Ireland. Other television credits include The Saint, The Wednesday Play, Armchair Theatre, Play for Today, Tales of the Unexpected, Country Matters and The Black Tower.

In 2002, she guest starred in Man and Boy, the dramatisation of Tony Parsons' best-seller. In 2005 she appeared as Miss Flite in the BBC production of Charles Dickens' Bleak House.

In 2006, she became only the third actor to have been in both the original and new series of Doctor Who, appearing in the episode "Tooth and Claw" as Queen Victoria.

Later in 2006, she appeared in Extinct, a programme where eight celebrities campaigned on behalf of an animal to save it from extinction. Collins campaigned to save the Bengal tiger and won the public vote.

In December 2007, she appeared as the fairy godmother in the pantomime Cinderella at the Old Vic in London.

In 2011, she was cast as part of Sky 1's new comedy-drama Mount Pleasant. She played the role of Sue, Lisa's mum, in the first two series running into 2012. She didn't return to the third series in 2013, and her character was killed off in the fourth series in 2014.

Collins was appointed OBE in 2001.

Personal life

Collins married actor John Alderton in 1969 and lives in Hampstead, London, with her husband and their three children, Nicholas, Kate and Richard. She also has an older daughter with actor Tony Rohr, Louise, whom she gave up for adoption. They were reunited when Louise was 22 years old.

TV and filmography

Year Title Role Director Notes
1963 Emergency – Ward 10 Nurse Elliott Phil Brown TV Series (1 Episode)
1966 Secrets of a Windmill Girl Pat Lord Arnold L. Miller
The Marriage Lines Jean Robin Nash TV Series (1 Episode : "Big Business")
Pardon the Expression Miss Wainwright / Val Michael Cox TV Series (3 Episodes)
The Corridor People Syrie's maid David Boisseau TV Series (1 Episode : "Victim as Black")
Theatre 625 Clara James Ferman TV Series (1 Episode : "Amerika")
The Saint Marie-Therese Gordon Flemyng TV Series (1 Episode : "The Better Mousetrap")
Blackmail Freida Straker TV Series (1 Episode : "Please Do Not Disturb")
The Three Musketeers Kitty Peter Hammond TV (1 Episode : "Branded")
The Making of Jericho TV film
1967 Doctor Who Samantha Briggs Gerry Mill The Faceless Ones (6 Episodes)
Softly, Softly Marilyn Bill Hays TV Series (1 Episode : "Somebody Important")
1968 B and B Chantal TV Series (1 Episode : "Pilot: B and B")
Armchair Theatre Betty / Mary Murtagh Guy Verney
Marc Miller
TV Series (2 Episodes)
1969 The Old Campaigner Winnie Haldane TV Series (1 Episode : "French Farce")
Comedy Playhouse Dawn / Marjorie TV Series (2 Episodes)
The Liver Birds Dawn TV Series (5 Episodes)
The Wednesday Play Angelina / Joan Percival Marc Miller (X2)
John Mackenzie
TV Series (2 Episodes)
Parkin's Patch Doreen Ashworth Raymond Menmuir TV Series (1 Episode : "A Pair of Good Shoes")
1970 The Mating Machine Elizabeth Howard Ross TV Series (1 Episode : "Who Sleeps on the Right?")
1972 Thirty-Minute Theatre The Girl Gilchrist Calder TV Series (1 Episode : "King's Cross Lunch Hour")
Country Matters Ruby TV Mini-Series (1 Episode : "Crippled Bloom")
1971-1973 Upstairs, Downstairs Sarah Moffat Various directors TV Series (13 Episodes)
Nominated - British Academy Television Award for Best Actress
1973 Armchair 30 Carol Piers Haggard TV Series (1 Episode : "Carol's Story")
1974 No, Honestly Clara Burrell-Danby David Askey TV Series (13 Episodes)
1975 BBC Play of the Month Lady Teazle Stuart Burge TV Series (1 Episode : "The School for Scandal")
1975-1976 Wodehouse Playhouse Various characters Various directors TV Series (13 Episodes)
1979 Thomas & Sarah Sarah Moffat Various directors TV Series (13 Episodes)
Play for Today Eileen Stephen Frears TV Series (1 Episode : "Long Distance Information")
1980 Tales of the Unexpected Pat Lewis Graham Evans TV Series (1 Episode : "A Girl Can't Always Have Everything")
1983 Little Misses and the Mr. Men Narrator Trevor Bond
Terry Ward
TV Series
1984 Knockback Sylvia Piers Haggard (X2) TV Movie
Nominated - CableACE Awards for Best Actress in a Theatrical or Dramatic Special
1985 Tropical Moon Over Dorking Myra Robert Chetwyn TV Movie
The Black Tower Maggie Hewson Ronald Wilson TV Mini-Series (5 Episodes)
1988 Tales of the Unexpected Eve Peregrine Barry Davis TV Series (1 Episode : "The Colonel's Lady")
1989-1992 Forever Green Harriet Boult David Giles
Sarah Hellings
Christopher King
TV Series (18 Episodes)
1989 Shirley Valentine Shirley Valentine-Bradshaw Lewis Gilbert BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Evening Standard British Film Awards - Best Actress
Golden Apple Award - Female Discovery of the Year
Nominated - Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1992 City of Joy Joan Bethel Roland Joffé
1995 My Mother's Courage Elsa Tabori Michael Verhoeven
1996 Flowers of the Forest Aileen Matthews Michael Whyte TV Movie
1997 Paradise Road Daisy 'Margaret' Drummond Bruce Beresford
1998-1999 The Ambassador Harriet Smith Various directors TV Series (13 Episodes)
2000 Little Grey Rabbit Jean Flynn TV Series
One Life Stand Karaoke Crowd May Miles Thomas
2002 Mrs Caldicot's Cabbage War Thelma Caldicot Ian Sharp
Man and Boy Betty Silver Simon Curtis TV Movie
2003 Sparkling Cyanide Dr. Catherine Kendall Tristram Powell TV Movie
2005 Bleak House Maud Havisham Flite Justin Chadwick
Susanna White
TV Series (10 Episodes)
2006 Doctor Who Queen Victoria Euros Lyn TV Series (1 Episode : "Tooth and Claw")
What We Did on Our Holiday Lil Taylor Jeremy Webb TV Movie
2009 From Time to Time Mrs. Tweedie Julian Fellowes
2010 Agatha Christie's Marple Thyrza Grey Andy Hay TV Series (1 Episode : "The Pale Horse")
Merlin Alice Alice Troughton TV Series (1 Episode : "Love in the Time of Dragons")
You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger Cristal Woody Allen
2011 Albert Nobbs Margaret 'Madge' Baker Rodrigo García
2011-2012 Mount Pleasant Sue Dewi Humphreys
Ian Barnes
Dermot Boyd
TV Series (14 Episodes)
2012 Quartet Cissy Robson Dustin Hoffman
2015 Dough Joanna John Goldschmidt
The Time of Their Lives Priscilla Roger Goldby Post-Production
2015-2016 Dickensian Mrs Gamp Tony Jordan
Tony Jordan
TV Series (20 Episodes)
2017 The Time of Their Lives Priscilla Roger Goldby
2017 Byrd and the Bees Beatrice Finola Hughes Pre-Production

Awards and nominations


  1. Collins, Letter to Louise accessed 1-12-2016
  3. Pauline, Collins. (28 March 1999). "Pauline Collins - My secret for a good marriage? Give", Interviewed by Sharon Feinstein, Sunday Mirror. Retrieved on 13 May 2010. "But I was very worried about taking it on because I'm not Jewish. I'm a Liverpool Irish Catholic and this role was such a responsibility because it involved a huge and emotive part of the history of the Jewish race."
  4. Pauline Collins biography accessed 7-21-2015
  5. Retrieved 9 January 2013
  7. "Tony Award winners in 1989". Retrieved 5 June 2016.
This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 11/7/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.