Mrs Tembe

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Mrs Tembe
Winifred Tembe.png
Doctors character
Portrayed by Lorna Laidlaw
Duration 2011–
First appearance Episode 1968
5 January 2011
Introduced by Peter Eryl Lloyd
Classification Present; regular
Other names Winifred Tembe
Occupation Receptionist (2011–15, 2016)
Acting Practice Manager (2015)
Deputy Practice Manager of Kings Green (2016)
Practice Manager (2016–)
Home Letherbridge

Winifred Tembe (better known as Mrs. Tembe) is a fictional character from the BBC soap opera Doctors, played by Lorna Laidlaw. Mrs Tembe was introduced as the new receptionist at The Mill. She made her first appearance on 5 January 2011. She is introduced only as "Mrs. Tembe" but later reveals her first name to be Winifred but prefers to be called "Mrs. Tembe".



Mrs. Tembe is a proud native of Botswana with deep Christian values. She is close friends with her neighbour, Maureen Bright, who attends church with her. She impressed Julia Parsons (Diane Keen) at her interview and instantly got the job. During the interview it was revealed that she moved to London towards the end of 2000, with her husband, but Mr. Tembe died whilst in the United Kingdom. This was later shown to be a lie on her part.


In 2011, Mrs. Tembe suffered racist bullying from her neighbour Trevor Waterhouse (Laurence Saunders). Trevor, who is a single father struggling to cope was "brain-washed" by the British Pride Party and blamed Mrs. Tembe for his unemployment and failings as a father. Mrs. Tembe had befriended Trevor's son, Cameron (Charlie Kenyon), which Trevor was not happy about at all. Trevor turned neighbours against Mrs. Tembe, blaming her for the food poisoning Cameron had from jam, saying it was her African food. After many weeks of this racism Mrs. Tembe confronted Trevor and then upset, she was comforted by colleague, Dr. Heston Carter (Owen Brenman), who, like all the staff at The Mill, were unaware of what Mrs. Tembe had been enduring for the past weeks. Mrs. Tembe told Heston that she thinks the United Kingdom is somewhere she feels endangered. She then moved back to Botswana, without telling her other colleagues at The Mill.

Mrs. Tembe returned to The Mill in September 2011. She had recovered from the racial attacks and felt like she was ready to start again. She was welcomed back by the staff who were all very pleased to see her, except for temporary receptionist Lauren Porter, who was now out of a job. She went out of her way to make Mrs. Tembe's life very miserable and upset her. They had a huge argument in the staff room at the end of the day after Mrs. Tembe had learned about Lauren's schemes. In the heat of the moment, Mrs. Tembe told Lauren that she "wished her dead" and stormed off. That night, Lauren was murdered. Due to their unprofessional manner in the staffroom, Mrs. Tembe and Lauren both had to attend a meeting with Julia so they could sort it out, however Lauren did not show. Nobody had realised that she was dead so staff assumed she was just avoiding work rather than facing Julia herself. Eventually guilt got the better of Mrs. Tembe and asked Julia if they could visit Lauren just to make sure she was alright as nobody had heard from Lauren in days. When they got there they were in shock when they got there and found Lauren's dead body on the floor.

In 2013, Mrs. Tembe began a friendship with the vicar of her parish church, Gordon which blossomed into a romance. It soon fell apart when Mrs. Tembe's former husband Thomas arrived at The Mill, much to the shock of the other doctors who had been led to believe that he was dead. It was revealed that Thomas is in fact gay, and that Mrs. Tembe was the one who "outed" him to their family and friends. They subsequently shunned Thomas and he was forced from the town, prompting a heartbroken Mrs. Tembe's emigration to the UK.

In 2015, Mrs Tembe is one of many at the Mill to be left devastated at Howard's sudden death and keeps it together all day for everyone and when she enters Howard's office alone with files, she breaks down in tears. Mrs Tembe is later asked by Daniel, Jimmi and Heston to run the surgery due to Howard's death, she refuses at first but later on agrees but only temporarily. She becomes concerned over her colleague, Valerie Pitman when she acts down after breaking up with her boyfriend Ashley Mackintosh and confronts her. Valerie assures Mrs Tembe she is fine but Mrs Tembe remains concerned along with Karen. Mrs Tembe later helps an old lady who has been scammed by a builder named Hutch. She disguises herself to catch the builder out but he sees through her scheme. Mrs Tembe is later attacked by Hutch and left for dead. She is found and taken to hospital. The staff are shocked at Mrs Tembe's absence and what has happened. Mrs Tembe later tells Rob Hollins that she wants Hutch put behind bars more than ever now. She later discovers that Valerie has Hodgkin's Lymphoma and along with Karen and the rest of the Mill staff, support her through her diagnosis. In January 2016, Mrs Tembe helps the new practice manager, Anthony Harker. He starts targeting her and on one occasion, when photos are taken, Anthony tells her to take them to her home in Botswana and Mrs Tembe replies that her home is in Letherbridge. Anthony continues to bully Mrs Tembe and it reaches boiling point in February 2016 when he persuades her to accept a new job so she does and Mrs Tembe leaves the Mill on 19 February 2016. She made an appearance on 1 April in a phone call with Jimmi Clay and later on in a phone call with Zara. She attended Zara and Daniel's house party and made another appearance with Jimmi Clay. She later featured heavily in an episode which reflected on her new work place, Kings Green which was going under due to many staff quitting. Mrs Tembe later returns to the Mill as practice manager after Anthony's true colours are exposed, forcing him to leave the Mill. Since her return, Mrs Tembe has had storylines including coping with the transition from receptionist to practice manager, organising the Fayre, and introducing various administrative ideas, such as the paperless scheme.



On 5 April 2013, it was revealed that an upcoming storyline would see Mrs Tembe be given a romance with Reverend Gordon portrayed by Steven Elder. Mrs Tembe was given the storyline following Laidlaw telling producers that she wanted her alter ego to have a relationship.[1] "I'm so excited someone has the hots for Mrs Tembe, I told the producers I wanted her to fall in love with someone, and now its happening. The audience will see her in a new light." Laidlaw told Inside Soap'.

Following the airing of the romance storyline with Reverend Gordon, Laidlaw told Inside Soap: "Mrs Tembe's romance with Rev Gordon got a phenomenal response. One fantastic comment I saw on Facebook mentioned Mrs T 'fornicating'!" Discussing where things are heading next, she added: "Mrs Tembe is going to go speed-dating - now she's broken that romance barrier with Gordon, there'll be more adventures to come!"[2]


Laidlaw was named 'Best Actress' at the 2012 RTS Midlands Awards.[3]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sophie Dainty (5 April 2013). "'Doctors' star Lorna Laidlaw "excited" over Mrs Tembe romance". Digital Spy. Retrieved 12 May 2016. 
  2. ^ Daniel Kilkelly (21 August 2013). "'Doctors' Lorna Laidlaw: 'More dating adventures for Mrs Tembe'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 12 May 2016. 
  3. ^ Daniel Kilkelly (28 November 2012). "'Doctors': Lorna Laidlaw celebrates RTS success - video". Digital Spy. Retrieved 12 May 2016. 

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