Janine Duvitski

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Janine Duvitski
Christine Janine Drzewicki

(1952-06-28) 28 June 1952 (age 71)
Alma materEast 15 Acting School
Years active1972–present
Paul Bentall
(m. 1983)
Children4, including Ruby Bentall

Janine Duvitski (born Christine Janine Drzewicki; 28 June 1952)[1] is a British actress, known for her roles in the BBC television sitcom series Waiting for God, One Foot in the Grave and Benidorm. Duvitski first came to national attention in the play Abigail's Party, written and directed in 1977 by Mike Leigh.

Personal life[edit]

Duvitski was born in Morecambe, Lancashire to a Polish father and an English mother.[2][3] She attended Nottingham Girls' High School, then a direct grant grammar school.[4][5]

She trained at East 15 Acting School in Essex. She has four children, Jack, Albert, Ruby, and Edith Bentall, with her actor husband Paul Bentall. Ruby is also an actress and Edith, Duvitski's younger daughter, is the lead singer of the band Fours.[6]



Shortly after leaving drama school, Duvitski was given a couple of small roles in television dramas but had no agent, and placed an advert in the Spotlight agency catalogue with a photograph. As a result she was approached by the BBC to test for a play about incest, entitled BBC2 Playhouse: Diane (1975). Although she was in her early 20s the part was that of a 13-year-old girl but her audition was sufficiently convincing to win her the role. The door thus opened to her for more TV and stage roles and, whilst she was appearing in Don Juan at Hampstead Theatre, London, she was spotted by Mike Leigh who offered her the part of Angie in the stage production of Abigail's Party (1977), which she repeated in the television version. Duvitski's principal television credits include the roles of Jane Edwards in Waiting for God (1990–1994), Pippa Trench in One Foot in the Grave (1990–2000), and Jacqueline Stewart in Benidorm (2007–2018). In the BBC's Vanity Fair she played Mrs Crawley. She has also appeared on Lily Savage's Blankety Blank.[7]

She has also appeared in the one-off production of Blue Remembered Hills by Dennis Potter, as well as in episodes of Foyle's War ("Fifty Ships"), Brush Strokes, Cowboys, Citizen Smith, Minder, Midsomer Murders (1998), My Family, Man About the House, The Georgian House, The New Statesman, The Black Stuff by Alan Bleasdale, The Knowledge, Z-Cars, The Worst Week of My Life, Little Dorrit, Still Open All Hours and, in 2013, as Emily Scuttlebutt in the CBeebies show Old Jack's Boat.[8]

In 2015 Duvitski starred in the BBC sitcom Boy Meets Girl.[9] In 2017 she appeared as Mrs Leydon, the Chapel assistant, in BBC's mockumentary Hospital People.[10]


Duvitski had a small role opposite Laurence Olivier and Donald Pleasence in Dracula (1979), and appeared in the 1980 rock music film Breaking Glass. She also appeared in Michael Crichton's The First Great Train Robbery (1978), The Madness of King George (1994), About a Boy (2002), The New World (2005) and Angel (2007).


Duvitski first came to national attention in Abigail's Party, written and directed in 1977 by Mike Leigh. The play opened in April 1977 at the Hampstead Theatre, returning after its initial run in the summer of 1977, with a total of 104 performances. A suburban comedy of manners, the play is a satire on the aspirations and tastes of the new middle class that had emerged in Britain in the 1970s. In November 1977 an abridged version of the play, lasting 104 minutes, was recorded as a BBC Play for Today. Duvitski plays Angela, a nurse, wife of Tony Cooper.

Her theatre career has also included productions at UK's National Theatre, Young Vic and Royal Shakespeare Company.[11]

In 2007 she appeared on stage in the revival of English National Opera's On the Town. The production, which also included veteran British comic actress June Whitfield, saw Duvitski give a "touching comic account of Lucy Schmeeler, Hildy's homely roommate".[12]

Duvitski played the Vegetable Fairy in the 2017 Sunderland Empire Theatre pantomime Jack and the Beanstalk.[13] In 2019 she played Mummy Bear in Goldilocks and the Three Bears at the London Palladium, and later appeared as Fairy Moonbeam in the pantomime Sleeping Beauty at Sheffield's Lyceum Theatre.



Year Title Role Notes
1972 Z Cars Ginny 1 episode; credited as Janine Drzewicki
1973 Man About the House Sheila
1975 Sadie, It's Cold Outside Lana
1976 The Georgian House Ariadne 6 episodes
Scene Gertie TV series documentary; episodes: "A Collier's Friday Night" (Parts 1 & 2)
1977–1979 Play for Today Audrey; Vera; Angela Episodes: "Abigail's Party", "Scully's New Year's Eve", "Blue Remembered Hills"
1978 Miss Jones and Son Cheryl Episode: "More Fish in the Sea"
People Like Us Betsy Symes TV mini-series
Pickersgill People Tracey Dawn Tattersall TV series
Happy Ever After Cynthia Episode: "The Hut Sut Song"
The Sunday Drama Lesley Episode: "Alphabetical Order"
Premiere Di Episode: "One of These Nights I'm Gonna Get an Early Day"
Me! I'm Afraid of Virginia Woolf Maureen Television film
1979 Afternoon Off Doreen
The Other Side Gina TV series; 1 episode
Murder at the Wedding Gail TV mini-series; 3 episodes
Citizen Smith Phillipa 2 episodes
The Knowledge Receptionist Television film
1980 The Black Stuff Student Television film
Minder Carol Episode: "The Beer Hunter"
1980–1981 Cowboys Muriel Bailey 6 episodes
1981 Masterpiece Theatre: Sons and Lovers Beatrice TV mini-series
1985, 1989, 1992 Alas Smith & Jones Unnamed TV series; 5 episodes
1986 Brush Strokes Natasha Series 2, episode 5
1987 Screen Two Betty Episode: "East of Ipswich"
Casualty Joyce Episode: "A Little Lobbying"
Ratman Gallery Assistant
1988 This is David Lander Sheila Parkes Episode: "Reduced to Tears"
Number 27 Traffic Monitor Television film
1989 Mornin' Sarge Ellen 2 episodes
1990 The New Statesman Interpreter Episode: "Who Shot Alan B'Stard?"
1990–1994 Waiting for God Jane Edwards Series regular, 47 episodes
1990–2000 One Foot in the Grave Pippa Supporting role, 14 episodes
1991 Came Out, It Rained, Went Back in Again Speaking Woman TV short
1994 Young Jung Lotte C. Television film
1996 London Suite Emma – Nanny
1998 Midsomer Murders Deirdre Tibbs Episode: "Death of a Hollow Man"
Vanity Fair Mrs. Bute Crawley 5 episodes
2000 My Family Mrs. Hodder Episode: "Pain in the Class"
The Mrs Bradley Mysteries Mrs. Cockerton Episode: "The Rising of the Moon"
2002 George Eliot: A Scandalous Life Gossip Television film
2003 Doctors Mary Winterbourne 1 episode
Foyle's War Eve Redmond Episode: "Fifty Ships"
The Young Visiters Queen Victoria Television film
2004 Shadow Play Katie 4 episodes
Trial & Retribution Sandra Dutton Episodes: "Blue Eiderdown" (Parts 1 & 2)
2004–2006 The Worst Week of My Life Eve 17 episodes
2006 The Children's Party at the Palace Maid at Buckingham Palace TV special
2007–2018 Benidorm Jacqueline Stewart Series regular, 73 episodes
2008 Little Dorrit Mrs. Meagles Supporting role, 8 episodes
2009 Kröd Mändoon and the Flaming Sword of Fire Agnes Grimshank
2011–2014 This is Jinsy Mrs. Goadion Main role, 13 episodes
2012 A Young Doctor's Notebook & Other Stories Belladonna Zbinka
2013 Plebs Soothsayer Episode: "Saturnalia"
2013–2015 Old Jack's Boat Emily Scuttlebutt Series regular, 47 episodes
2015 Crackanory Phillis / Agnes Sprottle 2 episodes
2015–2016 Boy Meets Girl Peggy Main role, 12 episodes
2016 Doctor Thorne Lady Scatcherd TV mini-series; all 3 episodes
Houdini & Doyle Martha Episode: "The Monsters of Nethermoor"
Still Open All Hours Elsie Bridges 2016 Christmas Special
2017 Hospital People Mrs. Leydon Main role, 6 episodes
2021 Murder, They Hope Betty Episode: "The Bunny Trap"


Midsomer Murders The Witches of Angel's Rise,[14] Hattie Bainbridge


Year Title Role Notes
1975 Diane Diane
1977 Jabberwocky Fanatic
1978 The First Great Train Robbery Maggie
1979 Dracula Annie
1980 Breaking Glass Jackie
1982 The Missionary Millicent, Ames' Maid
1985 The Bride Serving Girl
1988 Drowning by Numbers Marina Bellamy
1994 Giorgino Josette
The Madness of King George Margaret Nicholson
1997 Swept from the Sea Mrs. Finn
2002 About a Boy Caroline / SPAT
2005 The New World Mary
2007 Angel Aunt Lottie #
2019 Little Joe Eleanore


  1. ^ "Janine Duvitski". bfi. Archived from the original on 19 August 2010. Retrieved 18 October 2010.
  2. ^ "HOW WE MET; ALISON STEADMAN AND JANINE DUVITSKI". The Independent. 28 June 1997.
  3. ^ "Janine Duvitski". Sue Terry Voices.
  4. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived (PDF) from the original on 31 October 2019. Retrieved 31 October 2019.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ "Pointless Celebrities: Janine Duvitski's acting career – Dracula to Benidorm". 31 August 2019. Archived from the original on 31 October 2019. Retrieved 31 October 2019.
  6. ^ Greenstreet, Rosanna (November 2012). "Family jewel: Interview with Ruby Bentall". Sheengate Publishing. Archived from the original on 3 June 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  7. ^ "ITV Series 1, Episode 4". Lily Savage's Blankety Blank. 28 January 2001. ITV. Repeated 23 August 2016 on Challenge TV.
  8. ^ "Old Jack's Boat". BBC. 14 January 2013. Archived from the original on 30 June 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  9. ^ Ellis-Petersen, Hannah. "BBC starts filming sitcom starring transgender actor | Television & radio". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 19 March 2015. Retrieved 9 March 2016.
  10. ^ Dowell, Ben (13 February 2017). "Russell Brand to guest star as a "nutrition guru" in new BBC comedy Hospital People". Radio Times. Archived from the original on 6 October 2017. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  11. ^ "Janine Duvitski: Other Works". IMDb. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  12. ^ Elleson, Ruth (9 May 2007). "On The Town – English National Opera". Opera Today. Archived from the original on 2 March 2013. Retrieved 20 May 2013.
  13. ^ Wheeler, Katy (20 December 2017). "Review: Jack and the Beanstalk, Sunderland Empire". Sunderland Echo. Archived from the original on 3 February 2018. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
  14. ^ IMDB

External links[edit]