Anna Karen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Anna Karen
Ana Caren Krege

(1936-09-19) 19 September 1936 (age 82)
Years active1959–2017
TelevisionOn the Buses (1969–1973)
The Rag Trade (1977–1978)
EastEnders (1996–2017)
Spouse(s)Terry Duggan (1967–2008)
(his death)

Anna Karen (born Ana Caren Krege on 19 September 1936) is a retired British film, television and theatre actress. A regular in soaps and comedy, her best-known roles are in the sitcoms On the Buses and The Rag Trade. She has also appeared in BBC TV's EastEnders from 1996 on a recurring basis as Aunt Sal.


Early in her career, Anna Karen worked as a striptease dancer at London's Panama Club. She has appeared in many films and television programmes, including the BBC sitcom Wild, Wild Women, between 1968 and 1969. That same year she played a schoolgirl in the bikini-flying scene in the film Carry On Camping (even though she was 32 years old). In both these roles she acted with Barbara Windsor (herself a 31-year-old "schoolgirl" in the film).

Karen is best remembered for her role in the LWT sitcom On the Buses (1969–73). In this series, Karen played Olive, the dowdy bespectacled younger sister of Stan (Reg Varney), and wife of Arthur Rudge (Michael Robbins). She also appeared in the film spin-offs, On the Buses (1971), Mutiny on the Buses (1972), and Holiday on the Buses (1973). From 1977 to 1978, Karen reprised the role of Olive in the LWT revival of the sitcom The Rag Trade created by the same writers.

Her other film credits included roles in The Sandwich Man (1966), Poor Cow (1967), Carry On Loving (1970), What's Up Nurse! (1977) and Flick (2008). In 1996, Karen played a supporting role in the film Beautiful Thing, as a neighbour of the main characters, Ste and Jamie. A year later, Karen reunited with Barbara Windsor, this time in the BBC soap opera EastEnders. Karen plays Aunt Sal, the sister of Windsor's Peggy Mitchell. Although Karen has never been a permanent cast member in the soap, she continues to appear as Aunt Sal occasionally, usually for only one or two episodes at a time.

In 2006, Anna Karen used her experience as a striptease dancer to act as a judge in the final edition of Channel 4's reality television documentary Faking It. In 2008, Karen was a guest on the Channel 4's Sunday Night Project, again with Barbara Windsor.

Karen has also been a regular in pantomimes over the years, and played the Wicked Stepmother in Cinderella at the Millfield Theatre, in Edmonton, London at Christmas 2008.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Karen lives in Ilford, London and was married to actor/comedian Terry Duggan from 1967 until his death in 2008. She taught Drama at Brewers Academy, based in Hornchurch, Greater London .

In January 2016, Karen had a fall at her home in Ilford and was sofa-bound for eight weeks to recover.[2] She still filmed scenes for Peggy's death in EastEnders in March 2016 and again in May 2016, when the scenes were broadcast, she was seen with a walking frame. She was later pictured in a wheelchair filming Peggy's funeral scenes, and now has limited mobility.

Television roles[edit]

Years Title Role
1969 Wild Wild Women Maude
1969–1973 On the Buses Olive Rudge
1970 Dixon of Dock Green Housewife
1975 Milk-O Rita Wilkins
1977–1978 The Rag Trade Olive
1996-97, 2001-04, 2007-11, 2013-2017 EastEnders Aunt Sal

Film roles[edit]


  1. ^ "Christmas pantos" (PDF). Our Enfield. p. 34. Archived from the original (pdf) on 30 December 2008. Retrieved 9 August 2009. Italic or bold markup not allowed in: |publisher= (help)
  2. ^ Nair, Ajay (28 January 2016). "Ilford actress' broken back agony: EastEnders' Aunt Sal left to sleep on sofa". Ilford Recorder. Archant Community Media Ltd. Retrieved 5 February 2018.

External links[edit]