Jenny Agutter

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Jenny Agutter
BornJennifer Ann Agutter
(1952-12-20) 20 December 1952 (age 61)
Taunton, United Kingdom
Years active1964–present
Spouse(s)Johan Tham (1990–present)
Official website
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Jenny Agutter
BornJennifer Ann Agutter
(1952-12-20) 20 December 1952 (age 61)
Taunton, United Kingdom
Years active1964–present
Spouse(s)Johan Tham (1990–present)
Official website

Jennifer Ann "Jenny" Agutter, OBE (born 20 December 1952) is an English film and television actress. She began her career as a child actress in the mid-1960s, starring in the BBC television series The Railway Children and the film adaptation of the same book, before taking adult roles and moving to Hollywood.

She played Jessica 6 in Logan's Run, Jill Mason in Equus, Alex Price in An American Werewolf in London and Joanne Simpson in Child's Play 2. Since the 1990s she has worked in sound recording, and she is a patron of the Cystic Fibrosis Trust. After a break from acting she has appeared in several television series since 2000, including the British series Spooks.[1][2] Since 2012, she has starred in the popular BBC drama Call the Midwife.

Early life[edit]

Agutter was born in Taunton, Somerset, England.[3] She is the daughter of Catherine (née Lynam) and Derek Brodie Agutter, a former British Army officer and entertainment organiser.[4] As a child, she lived in Dhekelia (Cyprus) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaya). She was discovered at Elmhurst Ballet School when a casting agent looked for a young English-speaking girl for a film. She did not get the part, but he recommended her to the producers of East of Sudan (1964).


Television and film[edit]

Agutter came to television audiences as Kirsty in the twice-weekly BBC series The Newcomers. The character Kirsty was the daughter of the new managing director of Eden Brothers, the fictional firm that was at the centre of the series. Agutter could appear only during school holidays. At this stage of her career she was listed in credits as Jennifer.

Later she played Roberta in a BBC adaptation of The Railway Children (1968) and played the same part in Lionel Jeffries's 1970 film of the book. She followed this with a more serious role in the thriller I Start Counting (1969). She also won an Emmy as supporting actress for her television role as Fritha in a British television film of The Snow Goose (1971).

Agutter moved into adult roles, beginning with Walkabout (1971), playing a teenage schoolgirl lost with her younger brother in the Australian outback. She auditioned for the role in 1967 but funding problems delayed filming until 1969. The delay meant Agutter was 16 at the time of filming, which allowed the director to include nude scenes.[5] Among them was a five-minute skinny-dipping scene, which was cut from the original US release.[6] She said at the 2005 Bradford Film Festival at the National Media Museum that she was shocked by the film's explicitness but remains on good terms with director Nicolas Roeg.[7]

Agutter moved to Hollywood at 21 and appeared in a number of films over the next decade, including The Eagle Has Landed (1976), Logan's Run (1976), Equus (1977, for which she won a BAFTA as Best Supporting Actress), Sweet William (1980) and An American Werewolf in London (1981).

Since 1990, Agutter has brought up her son and her work has been largely in sound recordings. She has also worked in support of charities, in particular the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, of which she is a patron (she is also a carrier of the genetic mutation).[8] She was a guest in series 6 of Red Dwarf, and appeared in the TV series TECX, The All New Alexei Sayle Show, and And the Beat Goes On. In 1995, she played the scandalous Idina Hatton in the BBC miniseries the Buccaneers inspired by Edith Wharton's unfinished 1938 book. In 2000, she made her third appearance in The Railway Children, produced by Carlton TV, this time playing the mother.[9][10] In 2002, Agutter featured in the BBC television series Spooks and in 2007, she starred in the first episode of the new series of David Jason's ITV television series Diamond Geezer. In 2007, she also guest-starred in the Doctor Who audio drama The Bride of Peladon. She appears as Sister Julienne in the 2012 television series Call the Midwife. Also in 2012, Agutter appeared as a member of the World Security Council in the hit film Avengers Assemble, and reprised her role in 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier.

Agutter has stated that the innocence of the characters she played in early films, combined with the costumes and nudity in later adult roles such as Logan's Run (1976), Equus (1977) and An American Werewolf in London (1981), are "perfect fantasy fodder".[11][12]


Agutter has appeared in numerous theatre productions since her stage debut in 1970, including stints at the National Theatre in 1972-73, the title role in a derivation of Hedda Gabler at the Roundhouse in 1980, and with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1982-83. In 1987-88, Agutter played the role of Pat Green in the Broadway production of the Hugh Whitemore play Breaking the Code, about computer pioneer Alan Turing.[13] She is also a patron of the Shakespeare Schools Festival, a charity that enables school children across the UK to perform Shakespeare in professional theatres.[14]


She has appeared as a guest star character ("Fiona Templeton") in the Radio 4 comedy Ed Reardon's Week[15] and played an outlawed scientist in The Minister of Chance.[16]


Agutter appears on the 1990 Prefab Sprout song "Wild Horses", speaking the words "I want to have you".

Personal life[edit]

At an arts festival in Bath, Somerset, Agutter met Johan Tham, a Swedish hotelier who was a director of Cliveden Hotel in Buckinghamshire. They married on 4 August 1990.[17] Their son Jonathan was born on 25 December 1990. They live in London. Agutter has a keen interest in Cornwall and once owned a second home in the county at The Lizard.

She was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours for charitable services.[18]

In August 2014, Agutter was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian opposing Scottish independence in the run-up to September's referendum on that issue.[19]

Selected filmography[edit]

1964East of SudanAsua
1966Man Could Get Killed, AA Man Could Get KilledLinda Frazier
1968Gates to ParadiseMaud
1968Star!Pamela Roper
1968Railway Children, TheThe Railway ChildrenRoberta "Bobbie" WaterburyBBC series
1969I Start CountingWynne
1970Railway Children, TheThe Railway ChildrenRoberta "Bobbie" Waterbury
1970Great Inimitable Mr. Dickens, TheThe Great Inimitable Mr. DickensTV film
1971Snow Goose, TheThe Snow GooseFrithEmmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Film
1972ShelleyMary ShelleyBBC series
1972A War of ChildrenMaureen TomeltyAmerican (CBS) TV film set in Northern Ireland during The Troubles
1976Logan's RunJessica 6
1976Eagle Has Landed, TheThe Eagle Has LandedMolly Prior
1977EquusJill MasonBAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
1977The Man in the Iron MaskLouise de la VallièreTV film
1977Six Million Dollar Man, TheThe Six Million Dollar ManDr. Leah Russell("Deadly Countdown" episode, Parts 1 & 2)
1978China 9, Liberty 37Catherine Sebanek
1979Riddle of the Sands, TheThe Riddle of the SandsClara
1980Sweet WilliamAnn Walton
1981Survivor, TheThe SurvivorHobbsNominated—Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
1981American Werewolf in London, AnAn American Werewolf in LondonNurse Alex PriceNominated—Saturn Award for Best Actress
1984Secret PlacesMiss Lowrie
1985Love's Labour's LostRosalineTelevision
1985Magnum, P.I.Krista Villeroch"Little Games" Season 5, Episode #96 TV Series
1987Dark TowerCarolyn Page
1989King of the WindHannah Coke
1990Child's Play 2Joanne Simpson
1990DarkmanBurn Doctoruncredited cameo
1992Freddie as F.R.O.7Daffers
1993Red Dwarf ("Psirens" episode)Professor MametTelevision
1995The BuccaneersIdina HattonTelevision
2000Railway Children, TheThe Railway ChildrenMotherITV
2001Parole Officer, TheThe Parole OfficerVictor's Wife
2002At DawningEscaping woman
2002SpooksTessa PhillipsTelevision
2004Number One Longing, Number Two RegretKenosha
2004Alan Clark Diaries, TheThe Alan Clark DiariesJane ClarkBBC TV series
2004The Inspector Lynley Mysteries (Series 3, episode 3)Jemma SandersonBBC TV Series
2005New Tricks (Series 2, episode 1)Yvonne BarrieBBC TV Series
2006Agatha Christie's PoirotAdela MarchmontSeason 10, Episode 4 - Taken at the Flood
2007Diamond GeezerVanessaITV series
2007Irina PalmJane
2008Invisibles, TheThe InvisiblesBarbara RileyBBC TV series
2009Monday MondayJenny MountfieldITV1 TV series
2009Glorious 39Maud Keyes
2010Midsomer MurdersIsobel Chetthamepisode No. 72, 'The Creeper', ITV1 TV series
2010Burke and HareLucy
2011Outside BetShirley Baxter
2012–presentCall the MidwifeSister JulienneBBC TV series
2012The AvengersCouncilwoman Hawley
2014Captain America: The Winter SoldierCouncilwoman Hawley



  1. ^ "Jenny Agutter". BBC. Retrieved 17 January 2011. 
  2. ^ "Jenny Agutter". Spooks personnel. BBC. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  3. ^ "Jenny Agutter". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  4. ^ "Jenny Agutter Film Reference biography". Retrieved 19 June 2010. 
  5. ^ Nowra, L. (2003). Walkabout. Sydney: Currency Press & Canberra: ScreenSound Australia, National Screen and Sound Archive, pp. 17–18; ISBN 978-0-86819-700-5.
  6. ^ "Creative Spirits". Retrieved 19 June 2010. 
  7. ^ Jenny Agutter: A Charmed Career, 2006. Directed by Tony Earnshaw. National Museum of Photography, Film & Television.
  8. ^ Patrons [Cystic Fibrosis Trust]
  9. ^ "Agutter, Jenny (1952-)". British Film Institute. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  10. ^ Lockyer, Daphne (May 2008). "The eyes have it". SAGA magazine: 66. Retrieved 29 December 2013. 
  11. ^ McLean, G., 2002. My life in front of the lens. The Guardian, [internet] 22 February. Available at and archived at Accessed 21 August 2009.
  12. ^ Crace, J., 1997. Interview: Almost forever young. The Independent, [internet] 8 December. Available at and archived at Accessed 21 August 2009.
  13. ^ Jenny Agutter website. Retried 5 August 2013.
  14. ^ "Jenny Agutter | Shakespeare Schools Festival". Retrieved 12 July 2013. 
  15. ^ "BBC Radio 4 Extra - Ed Reardon's Week, Series 8, Have a Great Weekend". BBC. 2012. Retrieved 3 October 2014. 
  16. ^ Mahoney, Elisabeth (16 March 2011). "Radio head: The Minister of Chance". The Guardian. Retrieved 3 October 2014. "This sci-fi podcast is a gripping futuristic thriller – let's hope they get to make the final episodes." 
  17. ^ "Jenny Agutter". NNDB. Retrieved 4 July 2011. 
  18. ^ The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 60173. p. 8. 16 June 2012.
  19. ^ "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories | Politics". 2014-08-07. Retrieved 2014-08-26. 

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