Brenda Cowling

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Brenda Rose Cowling (23 April 1925, Islington, London – 2 October 2010, Northwood, London) was an English actress. A native of London, Cowling wanted to be a film actress from the time she was a child; however, upon leaving school, she trained instead as a shorthand typist.


After a time she joined the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where she was a member of the same class as Warren Mitchell and Jimmy Perry.[1] While there, she made her film debut in a small role in Alfred Hitchcock's Stage Fright (1950).

Much of her early acting work was in repertory, before she began her television career. She also appeared in films, such as The Railway Children (1970), Please Sir! (1971), Carry On Girls (1973), Carry On Behind (1975). International Velvet (1978), Oliver Twist (1982) and Octopussy (1983). Television serials in which she appeared include Follyfoot, Miss Marple in They Do It With Mirrors as Mrs Rodgers in 1991, Fawlty Towers as a nurse in "The Germans", Only When I Laugh as the matron nurse in "Last Tango" in 1980, Are You Being Served? as a customer in "The Erotic Dreams of Mrs Slocombe", Dad's Army as Mrs Prentice in "All is Safely Gathered In", It Ain't Half Hot Mum in "The Last Roll Call" as the WVS Lady, The Famous Five, three episodes of Hi-De-Hi, as a VoiceOver role as a station announcer in "Together Again", a camper in "Raffles", and a maid in "Wedding Bells", and The Legacy of Reginald Perrin. Perhaps her most famous role was as the cook, Mrs. Lipton, in You Rang, M'Lord?


Cowling retired in 2006 after suffering a stroke. She died on 2 October 2010, at the actors' retirement home, Denville Hall, aged 85.[2]



  1. ^ Are You Being Served? A Celebration of Twenty-Five Years. Richard Webber with David Croft and Jeremy Lloyd. New York; Welcome Rain, 1998.
  2. ^ Obituary in The Guardian

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