Pauline Collins

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Pauline Collins
Pauline Collins in November 2012.jpg
Pauline Collins in November 2012
Born(1940-09-03) 3 September 1940 (age 74)
Exmouth, Devon, England, UK
Years active1963–present
Spouse(s)John Alderton (1969–present)
ChildrenLouise Rohr
Nicholas Alderton
Richard Alderton
Kate Alderton
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Pauline Collins
Pauline Collins in November 2012.jpg
Pauline Collins in November 2012
Born(1940-09-03) 3 September 1940 (age 74)
Exmouth, Devon, England, UK
Years active1963–present
Spouse(s)John Alderton (1969–present)
ChildrenLouise Rohr
Nicholas Alderton
Richard Alderton
Kate Alderton

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.

Early life and career[edit]

Collins was born in Exmouth, Devon, the daughter of Mary Honora (née Callanan), a schoolteacher, and William Henry Collins, a school headmaster.[1] She is of Irish extraction, and was brought up as a Roman Catholic near Liverpool.[2] Collins was educated at Sacred Heart High School.[3] 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).[4]

Shirley Valentine and recent years[edit]

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, which are outlined below.

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 awarded the OBE in 2001.

Personal life[edit]

She 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, and Collins wrote a book, Letter to Louise, about her experiences.


1963Emergency – Ward 10Nurse ElliottPhil BrownTV Series (1 Episode)
1966Secrets of a Windmill GirlPat LordArnold L. Miller
The Marriage LinesJeanRobin NashTV Series (1 Episode : "Big Business")
Pardon the ExpressionMiss Wainwright / ValMichael CoxTV Series (3 Episodes)
The Corridor PeopleSyrie's maidDavid BoisseauTV Series (1 Episode : "Victim as Black")
Theatre 625ClaraJames FermanTV Series (1 Episode : "Amerika")
The SaintMarie-ThereseGordon FlemyngTV Series (1 Episode : "The Better Mousetrap")
BlackmailFreida StrakerTV Series (1 Episode : "Please Do Not Disturb")
The Three MusketeersKittyPeter HammondTV Mini-Series (1 Episode : "Branded")
The Making of JerichoTV Movie
1967Doctor WhoSamantha BriggsGerry MillThe Faceless Ones (5 Episodes)
Softly, SoftlyMarilynBill HaysTV Series (1 Episode : "Somebody Important")
1968B and BChantalTV Series (1 Episode : "Pilot: B and B")
Armchair TheatreBetty / Mary MurtaghGuy Verney
Marc Miller
TV Series (2 Episodes)
1969The Old CampaignerWinnie HaldaneTV Series (1 Episode : "French Farce")
Comedy PlayhouseDawn / MarjorieTV Series (2 Episodes)
The Liver BirdsDawnTV Series (5 Episodes)
The Wednesday PlayAngelina / Joan PercivalMarc Miller (X2)
John Mackenzie
TV Series (2 Episodes)
Parkin's PatchDoreen AshworthRaymond MenmuirTV Series (1 Episode : "A Pair of Good Shoes")
1970The Mating MachineElizabethHoward RossTV Series (1 Episode : "Who Sleeps on the Right?")
1972Thirty-Minute TheatreThe GirlGilchrist CalderTV Series (1 Episode : "King's Cross Lunch Hour")
Country MattersRubyTV Mini-Series (1 Episode : "Crippled Bloom")
1971-1973Upstairs, DownstairsSarah MoffatVarious directorsTV Series (13 Episodes)
Nominated - British Academy Television Award for Best Actress
1973Armchair 30CarolPiers HaggardTV Series (1 Episode : "Carol's Story")
1974No, HonestlyClara Burrell-DanbyDavid AskeyTV Series (13 Episodes)
1975BBC Play of the MonthLady TeazleStuart BurgeTV Series (1 Episode : "The School for Scandal")
1975-1976Wodehouse PlayhouseVarious charactersVarious directorsTV Series (13 Episodes)
1979Thomas & SarahSarah MoffatVarious directorsTV Series (13 Episodes)
Play for TodayEileenStephen FrearsTV Series (1 Episode : "Long Distance Information")
1980Tales of the UnexpectedPat LewisGraham EvansTV Series (1 Episode : "A Girl Can't Always Have Everything")
1983Little Misses and the Mr. MenNarratorTrevor Bond
Terry Ward
TV Series
1984KnockbackSylviaPiers Haggard (X2)TV Movie
Nominated - CableACE Awards for Best Actress in a Theatrical or Dramatic Special
1985Tropical Moon Over DorkingMyraRobert ChetwynTV Movie
The Black TowerMaggie HewsonRonald WilsonTV Mini-Series (5 Episodes)
1988Tales of the UnexpectedEve PeregrineBarry DavisTV Series (1 Episode : "The Colonel's Lady")
1989-1992Forever GreenHarriet BoultDavid Giles
Sarah Hellings
Christopher King
TV Series (18 Episodes)
1989Shirley ValentineShirley Valentine-BradshawLewis GilbertBAFTA 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
1992City of JoyJoan BethelRoland Joffé
1995My Mother's CourageElsa TaboriMichael Verhoeven
1996Flowers of the ForestAileen MatthewsMichael WhyteTV Movie
1997Paradise RoadDaisy 'Margaret' DrummondBruce Beresford
1998-1999The AmbassadorHarriet SmithVarious directorsTV Series (13 Episodes)
2000Little Grey RabbitJean FlynnTV Series
One Life StandKaraoke CrowdMay Miles Thomas
2002Mrs Caldicot's Cabbage WarThelma CaldicotIan Sharp
Man and BoyBetty SilverSimon CurtisTV Movie
2003Sparkling CyanideDr. Catherine KendallTristram PowellTV Movie
2005Bleak HouseMaud Havisham FliteJustin Chadwick
Susanna White
TV Series (10 Episodes)
2006Doctor WhoQueen VictoriaEuros LynTV Series (1 Episode : "Tooth and Claw")
What We Did on Our HolidayLil TaylorJeremy WebbTV Movie
2009From Time to TimeMrs. TweedieJulian Fellowes
2010Agatha Christie's MarpleThyrza GreyAndy HayTV Series (1 Episode : "The Pale Horse")
MerlinAliceAlice TroughtonTV Series (1 Episode : "Love in the Time of Dragons")
You Will Meet a Tall Dark StrangerCristalWoody Allen
2011Albert NobbsMargaret 'Madge' BakerRodrigo García
2011-2012Mount PleasantSueDewi Humphreys
Ian Barnes
Dermot Boyd
TV Series (14 Episodes)
2012QuartetCissy RobsonDustin Hoffman
2015DoughJoannaJohn GoldschmidtPost-Production
The Time of Their LivesPriscillaRoger GoldbyPre-Production

Awards and nominations[edit]


  1. ^
  2. ^ 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."
  3. ^ Retrieved 9 January 2013
  4. ^

External links[edit]