Josephine Tewson

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Josephine Tewson
Born (1931-02-26) 26 February 1931 (age 83)
Hampstead, London, England, UK
Occupation Actress
Years active 1963–present
Spouse(s) Leonard Rossiter (1958–1961; divorced)
Henry Newman (1972–1980; his death)

Josephine Ann Tewson (born 26 February 1931) is an English stage and television actress. She is best known for her roles in British television sitcoms, such as Elizabeth in Keeping Up Appearances (1990–95) and Miss Davenport in Last of the Summer Wine (2003–10).

Early life and career[edit]

Tewson was born in Hampstead, London.[1] Her father, William, was a professional musician and played the double bass in the BBC Symphony Orchestra;[2] her mother, Kate (née Morley, born 1908), was a nurse.[3][4] After grammar school, Tewson studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.[5] She was briefly married to actor Leonard Rossiter; they divorced in 1961.

A regular comedy performer in sketches featuring Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker on David Frost on Sunday and Hark at Barker (1970), she later appeared in Mostly Monkhouse, a BBC Radio Comedy programme with David Jason supporting Bob Monkhouse. She also appeared a few times in Z-Cars (1963–69) and The Charlie Drake Show (1968). Tewson played Edna Hawkins (usually referred to as Mrs H by Shelley) in the first six series of the British sitcom Shelley (1979–82). Later, she played Jane Travers in Ronnie Barker's sitcom Clarence (1988), which he also wrote, and was his last starring television role before his retirement.

A widespread rumour is that Tewson was a cousin of the actor John Inman, best known for his role in Are You Being Served?, though she has dispelled the rumour in interviews.[6] She was featured with Inman in Odd Man Out (1977), an unsuccessful sitcom, where they played half-brother/half-sister roles.

Later career[edit]

Tewson appeared semi-regularly as Miss Davenport in Last of the Summer Wine (2003–10), a series written by Roy Clarke who also wrote Keeping Up Appearances. She has also appeared in two episodes of the documentary series Comedy Connections, talking about her work in Keeping Up Appearances (2004) and opposite The Two Ronnies (2005). In 2009, she played the role of Iris in the radio drama Leaves in Autumn written by Susan Casanove, produced by the Wireless Theatre Company.

Other television appearances were in an episode of Heartbeat ("Closing The Book", 2002) and as the competition judge, Samantha Johnstone, in an episode in the mystery drama Midsomer Murders ("Judgement Day", 2002). Most recently, she was featured in two episodes of Doctors as kleptomaniac, Audrey Wilson, ("Now You See It...", 2009) and as Marjorie Page, a woman in the early stages of Alzheimer's disease ("The Bespectacled Bounder," 2012). Tewson played a nanny in a 30-second commercial for Nabisco Fruit Newtons, first aired in 1997 in the United States. She also played a school teacher in a Sugar Puffs "I Want My Honey" advert during the late 1980s/early 1990s.

In 2012, Tewson launched her one woman show Still Keeping Up Appearances? and is on tour across the UK. She is the granddaughter of Haydn Morley who captained Sheffield Wednesday in the 1890 F.A cup final

Filmography[edit]

Television and film[edit]

Year Title Role
1963–64 No Hiding Place Various
1963 First Night Mrs Tullet
1963–68 Z-Cars Various
1966 Sergeant Cork Martha St. Clair
1967 Mrs. Thursday Dulci
1968 The Charlie Drake Show Various
1968 Frost on Sunday Various
1969 The Champions Hotel Switchboard Operator (uncredited)
1969–79 The Dick Emery Show Various
1969 Hark at Barker Mildred Bates
1970 ITV Saturday Night Theatre "Suffer Little Children" Gladys
1971 Six Dates with Barker Travers
1971 Copper's End WPS Penny Pringle
1971–81 The Two Ronnies Various
1972 His Lordship Entertains Mildred Bates
1973 Comedy Playhouse "Elementary My Dear Watson" Lady Cynthia
1973 Whoops Baghdad! Fatima
1973 It's Tarbuck Various
1973 Son of the Bride Miss McDowdie
1973 Casanova '73 Mrs Kershaw
1973 Tell Tarby Various
1974 Thriller Yvonne
1975 Tarbuck and All That! Various
1975 Wodehouse Playhouse Mabel Potts
1975 Dawson's Weekly Cleoberry
1976 Happy Ever After Mrs Robins
1976 Lucky Feller Shirley
1977 No Appointment Necessary Penelope Marshall
1977 Odd Man Out Dorothy
1978 The Hound of the Baskervilles Nun
1979–84 Shelley Edna Hawkins
1979 Rings on Their Fingers Mrs Harris
1980 Bernie Actress
1983 For 4 Tonight Actress
1985 Terry and June Mrs Robins
1987 Rude Health Mrs Thorpe
1988 Clarence Jane Travers
1989 Wilt Miss Leuchars
1990–95 Keeping Up Appearances Elizabeth Warden
1994 Coronation Street Peggy Phillips
1999 Sunburn Louise Montague
2000 Heroes of Comedy: Ronnie Barker Herself
2000 Midsomer Murders Samantha Johnstone
2002 Heartbeat Mrs Morris
2003–10 Last of the Summer Wine Miss (Lucinda) Davenport
2004–05 Comedy Connections (2 episodes) Herself
2006 Holby City Mabel Phillips
2009 Doctors Mrs Winston, a kleptomaniac
2012 Inspector Lewis Hazel O'Brien
2012 Doctors Marjorie Page
2012 The Many Faces of Ronnie Barker Herself
2013 The Two Ronnies Spectacle Herself

Theatre roles[edit]

Year Production Role Venue
1957 Free as Air Ivy Crush Savoy Theatre, West End
1961 Androcles and the Lion Megaera Mermaid Theatre, London
1964 Coriolanus Nottingham Playhouse, Nottingham
1966 The Ballad of False Barman Hampstead Theatre, London
1968 The Real Inspector Hound Muriel Vaudeville Theatre, West End
1972 A Cuckoo in the Nest Thorndike Theatre
1976 Absurd Person Singular Wimbledon Theatre, London
1985 Noises Off Dotty Otley Savoy Theatre, West End
1986-87 Woman in Mind Muriel Vaudeville Theatre, West End
Moscow Shadows Natasha New End Theatre, Hampstead
See How They Run Miss Skillon Watermill Theatre, Newbury
1989 Last of the Red Hot Lovers Jeanette Fisher Strand Theatre, West End
Arsenic and Old Lace Abby Brewster
1995 The Killing of Sister George Mercy Croft Ambassadors Theatre, West End
The Importance of Being Earnest Lady Bracknell Horseshoe Theatre, Basingstoke
Talking Heads: A Lady of Letters Swan Theatre, Worcester
1998 Romeo and Juliet Nurse Salisbury Playhouse, Wiltshire and tour
2002 A Woman of No Importance Lady Hunstanton No. 1 Tour
2004 The Importance of Being Earnest Miss Prism No. 1 Tour
2008 Salonika Charlotte West Yorkshire Playhouse, Leeds

Radio[edit]

Year Title Role Company
Early 1970s Mostly Monkhouse Various BBC Radio
2009 Leaves in Autumn Iris Wireless Theatre Company

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Josephine Tewson in one-woman show at Hertford Theatre". Hertfordshire Mercury. 23 July 2012. Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  2. ^ Longhurst, Jenny (25 May 2002). "An actress of great importance; Josephine Tewson has starred alongside such comic greats as The Two Ronnies and Patricia Routledge. She talks to Jenny Longhurst about her latest role.". South Wales Echo. Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  3. ^ "Keeping up appearances with the first player signed by the Rams". Derby Telegraph. 3 November 2008. Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  4. ^ "Josephine Tewson Biography". Film Reference. Advameg, Inc. Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  5. ^ Ean, Tan Gim (25 September 1988). "Comedy Queen who is very down to earth". New Straits Times. Retrieved 1 June 2014. 
  6. ^ Shaw, Karen. "Tonight Josephine." Northern Life. Last modified 27 September 2012. Accessed 28 March 2013. http://www.northernlifemagazine.co.uk/article.aspx?aid=373

External links[edit]