Philippa Baker (actress)

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Philippa Baker (born 1930-1931, Sydney)[1] credited also as Phillippa Baker, is a retired Australian actress of radio, theatre, film, television and TV movies. She is best known for playing Roma Godolfus in television soap opera Number 96. She started her professional acting career in the 1940s, having previously worked as a librarian. Baker retired from acting in 1988.

Biography[edit]

Theatre and radio[edit]

After several theatre roles she acted in long-running radio serial Blue Hills, spending five years playing a Scottish nurse.[2]

Television[edit]

Baker appeared in television plays by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation from 1958 onwards, and then featured in early Crawford Productions police procedurals Homicide and Division Four. Baker became best known for playing Roma in top-rated soap opera Number 96. She joined as Russian emigrant Roma Lubinski early in the show's run in 1972, becoming a comedy double-act with Johnny Lockwood, who played her character's soon-to-be husband Aldo, the deli proprietor. They reprised their roles in the 1974 feature film version of Number 96. They were written out of the serial in late 1974 with attached publicity, but returned several weeks later: it was always planned as a temporary absence and the media stories a publicity stunt.

By August 1975 the program's ratings had entered a slump and a drastic revamp of the show was planned. The writers decided to write out several high-profile characters, so in early September 1975 the show's famous bomb blast killed four residents including Roma and Aldo. In 1976 Baker and Lockwood appeared in ...And They Said It Wouldn't Last, a retrospective celebrating the 1000th episode of Number 96.

In 1976 Baker joined comedy series The Norman Gunston Show in recurring sketch The Checkout Chicks, a parody of melodramatic soap operas set in a supermarket. The Checkout Chicks featured other former Number 96 actors Abigail, Vivienne Garrett, Candy Raymond, Judy Lynne and Anne Louise Lambert.

After Number 96[edit]

Through the 1980s Baker made various appearances in theatre, film and television. She had small roles in high-profile films Annie's Coming Out (1984) and Young Einstein (1988). When not acting, Baker returned to her career as a public librarian until her retirement.

Selected roles (Television and film)[edit]

Year of Production Title Role
1958 Rose Without a Thorn (TV Movie)
1962 Funnel Web (TV Movie)
1964 A Sound of Trumpets (TV Movie)
1968 Contrabandits (TV series) Prudence
1970 Eden House (TV Movie)
1971 The Godfathers (TV series) Molly
1970-71 Division 4 2 roles - Mrs Couter - Helen McGuire
1970-72 Homicide 3 roles - Mrs Allen - Mrs Campbell - Mrs Johnson (credited as Phillipa Baker)
1974 Number 96 (feature film version) Roma Godulfus
1972-75 Number 96 (TV series) Mrs. Roma Lubinski/Godulfus
1975 The Norman Gunston Show as member of "Check-out Chicks" (soap opera parody)
1976 Murcheson Creek (TV Movies)
1977 Pig in a Poke (TV series) episode Christine's Story
1977 Say You Want Me (TV Movie)
1981 A Hard God (TV Movie) Monica
1983 The Weekly's War Mrs Cruickshank
1984 Five Mile Creek (TV series) Mrs. Curtis
1984 A Test of Love Sister Waterman
1988 The Dirtwater Dynasty (TV mini-series) Landlady
1988 Young Einstein Fred's mother

Radio[edit]

Year Title
1950s Blue Hills

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ "Number 96 together again".)
  2. ^ Fawcett, Tony. "The Double Life of Mrs Godolfus!" TV Week. 4 August 1973, p.20

External links[edit]