Edna Doré

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Edna Doré
Edna Lillian Gorring

(1921-05-31)31 May 1921[1]
Bromley, Kent, England
Died11 April 2014(2014-04-11) (aged 92)
Sussex,[2] England
Years active1960–2011
TelevisionEastEnders (1988–90)
Alexander Doré (m. 1946–2002)
(his death)

Edna Lillian Doré[3] (née Gorring; 31 May 1921 – 11 April 2014) was a British actress. Doré was known for her bit-part roles in situation comedies and for playing the character of Mo Butcher in EastEnders from 1988 to 1990.[4]


Doré began her career as a chorus girl in ENSA, before joining the wartime company of Phyllis Dixey at the Whitehall Theatre as a dancer.[4] She later spent seventeen years in repertory theatre before becoming a member of the National Theatre for ten years, especially remembered for her roles in productions directed by Bill Bryden such as The Mysteries.[4] She turned to television acting in 1960 and subsequently had parts in many successful series, including Dixon of Dock Green, Doctor in the House, The Liver Birds, Terry and June, Tenko, Z-Cars, and Open All Hours.

In 1988 she starred in Mike Leigh's award-winning film High Hopes, for which she received the award for Best Supporting Player at the 1989 European Film Awards.[5] Here, she played Mrs. Bender, who suffers from the early stages of Alzheimer's disease. That year she was also cast in the BBC soap opera EastEnders, where she played Mo Butcher, the battleaxe mother of Mike Reid's character, Frank Butcher. During her time in the show, she once again received wide acclaim for her portrayal of an elderly lady's descent into Alzheimer's disease. The story—about the effect that Alzheimer's has on the sufferer's family—had to be curtailed when Doré decided to leave the programme in 1990. The character was killed off at the end of 1992.[6] In 1997 she played Kath in Nil by Mouth. Other film credits include Tube Tales (1999), Weak at Denise (2001) and All or Nothing (2002).

In later years she had parts in many television shows including: Love Hurts (1992), A Year in Provence (1993), Casualty (1993;1997), Men Behaving Badly (1997), Peak Practice (2000), Holby City (2001), Time Gentlemen Please (2000–2002), The Bill (2002;2003 & 2006), Eyes Down (2003–2004), Murder in Mind (2003), My Family (2004), Lilly Kinsey in All About George (2005), Hotel Babylon (2006) and Doctors (2006), among others. She played the role of Maeve in the Doctor Who episode "Fear Her" in June 2006.

In September 2006 she appeared in the BBC2 comedy sketch show That Mitchell and Webb Look and in April 2007 she appeared in a guest star role opposite David Jason in ITV's Diamond Geezer, playing the role of Violet. On 24 December 2008, she appeared in the Christmas special of Gavin & Stacey as Edna, Pete Sutcliffe's (Adrian Scarborough) mother, once again playing a character affected by dementia. In February 2009 she held a small role in an episode of the new series of Minder on Five. She also played Grace in the Easter movie Skellig. In January 2010, she appeared as Nin Gallagher, the grandmother of David Threlfall's iconic character Frank Gallagher, in Channel 4's popular comedy drama series, Shameless. That same year she appeared in Mike Leigh's film Another Year. In March 2011 she appeared in an episode of Midsomer Murders.


Doré was also a radio actor and has appeared in a BBC Radio 4 Play of the day "Bringing Eddie Home" by John Peacock, based on a true story of the fight by Eastend couple Edna and Jack Wallace to get their son's body brought home from Aden, and the ensuing fight for the rights of British service personnel. The play also included other ex-EastEnders actors Bill Treacher, Tilly Vosburgh, Todd Carty and Joe Absolom. In February and March 1998, she appeared in the BBC Radio 4 series Paradise Lost in Cyberspace.

Personal life[edit]

Doré lived in Barnes. She married the actor, stage director and writer Alexander Doré in 1946 in St Pancras, London and remained with him until his death in 2002.[7] Her son, Michael Doré, owns a pub in Hampshire.[8] Doré trained to be an actress with Anna Wing, who was known for playing Lou Beale in EastEnders.[9] She died on 11 April 2014 at the age of 92, from emphysema.[10]


  1. ^ "Index entry". FreeBMD. Free UK Genealogy. Retrieved 3 November 2010.
  2. ^ Rigby, Sam (14 April 2014). "Former EastEnders actress Edna Doré dies, aged 92". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 12 December 2018.
  3. ^ "DORÉ, Alexander". bfi.org.uk. Archived from the original on 23 March 2010. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  4. ^ a b c Coveney, Michael; Leigh, Mike (14 April 2014). "Edna Doré obituary". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  5. ^ "European Film Awards 1989". European Film Academy. Archived from the original on 28 August 2008. Retrieved 15 December 2006.
  6. ^ Brake, Colin (1995). EastEnders: The First 10 Years: A Celebration. BBC Books. p. 160. ISBN 978-0-563-37057-4.
  7. ^ Alexander DORÉ profile, ftvdb.bfi.org.uk. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  8. ^ Kingsley, Hilary (1990). The EastEnders Handbook. BBC Books. p. 148. ISBN 978-0-563-36292-0.
  9. ^ Jaffee, Larry. "An Original EastEnder Makes A Plea for "the Old Bags"". Walford Gazette. Archived from the original on 16 October 2017. Retrieved 14 April 2014.
  10. ^ Ellis-Petersen, Hannah (14 April 2014). "EastEnders actor Edna Doré dies aged 92 following battle with emphysema". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 12 December 2018.

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