Thursday, 9 June 2011

In loving memory, indeed

We watched last night a most marvellous tribute documentary (that we had recorded from the telly) to one of Britain's greatest ever actresses, the late, great Dame Thora Hird. I didn't even realise that it was her centenary year!

Miss Hird was never the greatest beauty, but she had a natural and effortless charm and such superb dramatic and comedic timing that she appeared to be constantly in demand for screen, theatre and television productions. Born on 28 May 1911 to a theatrical family living next to a theatre in Morecambe, It was obvious she would end up an actress. In her eight-decade career, she made over 100 films (starring alongside everyone from Will Hay to Marlon Brando!), played housekeepers and grannies way before she was old herself, and became one of the best-loved stars on British TV in numerous popular shows such as Dixon of Dock Green, Meet The Wife, Flesh and Blood, Jackanory, In Loving Memory and Last Of The Summer Wine.

Thora and Janette
Thora and her daughter, Hollywood actress Janette Scott

It is, of course, for her two award-winning performances in Alan Bennett's Talking Heads that she was most highly commended - and for very good reason. Even a hardened old bitch like moi will shed a tear at A Cream Cracker Under The Settee or particularly Waiting For The Telegram - she is at her most breathtakingly brilliant in both.

The two - Bennett and Dame Thora - were best of friends in real life as well as working together. Here they are together in the play Intensive Care:

And here's a little tribute to her by the great man himself:

A delightful woman, Thora Hird will forever be sadly missed here at Dolores Delargo Towers.

Thora Hird on IMDB

Thora Hird obituary in The Independent


  1. I've got the book of the scripts from 'Talking Heads'. I think the Patricia Routledge one is my favourite for its undercurrent of menace, but I think Thora Hird really showed what a great actress she could be when she worked with Alan Bennett instead of just being pigeonholed as 'comic'. I never understand why people assume that actors who only do serious stuff are the better actors. It's not the case. but I digress... HT

  2. I think the BBC4 biographical plays ("The Road To Corrie", "Hattie", etc) tend to prove that truism - Ruth Jones, Jessie Wallis, even David Walliams proved they could truly act rather than just gurn for laughs. And who could forget Pauline Quirke in "The Sculptress"? Jx

  3. I think if anything it proves that comedy is harder as there are many great actors that just can't be funny in comedies


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