||This biographical article needs additional citations for verification. (March 2013)|
26 May 1935 |
Johannesburg, South Africa
|Occupation||Film, radio, stage and television actress|
|Spouse(s)||Harry H. Corbett (m. 1958–64) (divorced)|
Life and career
Steafel, who was born in Johannesburg, has appeared in many television series, including The Frost Report, Z-Cars, Sykes, The Kenny Everett Television Show, Minder, The Ghosts of Motley Hall, Oh Brother! and The Laughter of a Fool. She was a regular in the BBC One music hall programme The Good Old Days, portraying her comic creation "Miss Popsy Wopsy", who invariably "played up" to chairman Leonard Sachs.
Her film appearances include Daleks – Invasion Earth: 2150 A.D. (1966), Baby Love (1968), Quatermass and the Pit (1967), Goodbye, Mr. Chips (1969), Some Will, Some Won't (1970; co-starring her ex-husband's acting partner, Wilfrid Brambell), Tropic of Cancer (1970; as Tania), Percy (1971), Melody (1971) and Are You Being Served? (1977).
Steafel has also worked in BBC radio. In the 1970s and 1980s she was a cast member on the weekly Radio 4 satirical show Week Ending, providing the voices of many characters and impersonating real-life figures, such as Margaret Thatcher. Steafel appeared as herself alongside Simon Jones in "The Lost Hitch-Hiker's Sketch", a sketch written by Douglas Adams for her 1982 Radio 4 show Steafel Plus.
In 1979, she starred in the West End stage production of A Day in Hollywood/A Night in the Ukraine in a number of roles, including that of Harpo Marx. In 2008, she was portrayed by Zoe Tapper in the BBC television play The Curse of Steptoe.
In 1998, Steafel released a CD album of Victorian songs entitled Victoria Plums (Redial/Polygram No. CD 557 209-2).
In 2012, Steafel published a collection of real life short stories under the title Bastards.
Steafel states "When I read through the final draft of my autobiography, I decided to take out several anecdotes about my personal life, simply because they seemed a sort of indulgence, and didn’t add to what I wanted to say about my life and my career. They were hiccups along the way with some attacks worse than others, but all were finally ‘got rid’ (as my cousin Lillian used to say). I put them in a file which I called BASTARDS for my own amusement, and thought no more about them until my book came out and I was being asked what my next writing project would be. For want of anything else to say I would reply BASTARDS, and the response was so positive that what had started as a whim began to take on substance."
Bastards is available in print, audio and e-book formats from Fantom Publishing In 2013, Fantom also re-published her autobiography "When Harry Met Sheila" in a paperback format.