16 June 1929
St Helens, Lancashire, England
Pauline Yates (born 16 June 1929) is an English actress, best known for playing Elizabeth Perrin in the BBC television sitcom The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin. She also starred in Bachelor Father and Keep It in the Family.
Early life and career
Yates was born in St Helens, Lancashire on 16 June 1929. Her first part of her acting career involved her joining Oldham Rep straight after leaving school. At the age of 17 she made her stage debut in a dramatised version of Jane Eyre, playing the part of Grace Poole.
In 1957 Yates was cast in the role of Estelle Waterman in the ATV soap opera Emergency Ward 10, after which she became a regular face on British Television and also appeared in a few British films. In the 1960s she became a familiar through guest appearances in many mainstream programmes of the day, including Armchair Theatre, Dixon of Dock Green, Z-Cars, Gideon's Way, Nightingale's Boys, The Human Jungle, and The Ronnie Barker Playhouse, among others.
This continued through the 1970s and led to her role as Elizabeth Perrin in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin (1976-79). Yates played the, wife of Leonard Rossiter's Reginald Perrin. Along the other regular, exaggerated characterisations, Rossiter's manic delivery of a man undergoing a nervous breakdown pushed the series toward black comedy and fast-played farce. While this became one of this series' strengths, Yates's quietly effective Elizabeth provided the rockbed to counterpoint the excesses of the others and kept the frantically-paced Reggie somewhat grounded, lending a degree of reality as the increasingly bizarre situations progressed over the course of the three series.
Later life and career
Her ability as a comedic foil was further utilised in the ITV sitcom Keep It In The Family (Thames, 1980-82, not related to the US comedy of the same name) where Yates played wife to the frustratingly eccentric comic-strip artist Dudley Rush (played by Robert Gillespie) that sustained five series; Yates did not feature in the 1983 series.
She has also appeared onstage in an Oxford Playhouse Company production with William Russell and Michael Barrington in the cast, this was in Joe Orton's play, What the Butler Saw at the Teatr y Werin in Aberystwyth, Wales.
She acted in David Pownall's stage adaptation of Jane Austen's novel, Pride and Prejudice, directed by Bill Pryde. This was at the Haymarket Theatre, Leicester in 1985. Alongside her were Tessa Peake-Jones, James Warwick, Peter Sallis, Amanda Harris, Ian Gelder, Sean Chapman, Julia Deakin, and Irene Sutcliffe.
Pauline Yates was married to actor/writer Donald Churchill (1930-91) from 1960 onwards; the couple had two daughters, Jemma and Polly and lived for many years in Primrose Hill, North London. Donald Churchill died on set after filming his final episode of EL C.I.D for Granada TV in which he played the irascible harbour master Metcalf . Jemma Churchill is also an actress and Polly Churchill is a writer. Pauline has three grandchildren.
- Identity Unknown (1960)
- Darling (1965)
- The Spare Tyres (1967)
- The Four Feathers (1977)
- She'll Be Wearing Pink Pyjamas (1985)
- "Donald Churchill", The Herald (Scotland), 31 October 1991