Pippa Guard

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Pippa Guard (born Philippa Ann Guard, on 13 October 1952, in Edinburgh, Scotland) is a British actress.

Guard briefly attended the University of Montreal, first studying English and drama and then nursing, before returning to Britain to attend the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.[citation needed] She left RADA in 1975 as winner of the Ronson, Kendall and Pole prizes and was named as "Britain's Most Promising Actress".[citation needed]

Guard joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1976, and first attracted attention when she took over the role of Juliet from a sick Francesca Annis.[citation needed] She played Hermia in John Barton's 1977 production of A Midsummer Night's Dream, Luciana in Trevor Nunn's musical Comedy of Errors[citation needed] and Evie in Factory Birds. As The Stratfordians notes, Guard appeared destined for a classical stage career but she has become best known as a television actress.[1]

In 1978 Guard left the RSC and won the role of Maggie Tulliver in a BBC serialisation of The Mill on the Floss (1978), followed by Barbara Mallen in The Mallens (Granada 1979), Maria in Maria Marten (BBC, 1980), Prue in To the Lighthouse (BBC, 1982) and three roles for the BBC Television Shakespeare: Miranda in The Tempest (1979), Diana in All's Well that Ends Well (1980) and, once again, Hermia in A Midsummer Night's Dream (1981). (On BBC Radio, she also played Tess in Tess of the d'Urbervilles in 1982 and Bella Wilfer in Our Mutual Friend in 1984). However, her stated desire for more contemporary and diverse roles[2] was evident in her portrayal of a 22nd-century woman in the Play for Today The Flipside of Dominick Hide (1980) and its sequel Another Flip for Dominick (1982). She also portrayed P. D. James' sleuth Cordelia Gray in an adaptation of An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (1981), her only film role.

In 1984, Guard played Edith Holden in a twelve-part adaptation of The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady (Central). This drama attracted a peak audience of 13 million viewers and raised Guard's public profile considerably, but it effectively marked the end of the first phase of her television career. In 1981 she had married the BBC production manager and director Steve Goldie and in July 1984 she gave birth to their daughter Sama. She did not return to television until 1986, although she focussed on her stage career in the meantime, playing Antigone at the National Theatre (1983) and Faye in A Chorus of Disapproval in the West End (1986). In 1986, she played an abusive mother in A Couple of Charlies (Central) and an abused wife in The Life and Loves of a She-Devil (BBC).

She then returned to the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1987, where her roles included Maria in Twelfth Night, Nerissa in The Merchant of Venice, Natasha in Three Sisters, Caresse Crosby in Divine Gossip (Barbican, 1988) and Katherine in The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (Barbican, 1991). Her first major project was the sitcom Close to Home, with Paul Nicholas (LWT, 1990),[citation needed] followed by two series of the comedy-drama The Riff Raff Element (BBC, 1993–94), All or Nothing at All with Hugh Laurie (LWT, 1993), India Wilkes in Scarlett (1994), John Sullivan's Roger Roger (BBC, 1998-2000), Hope and Glory with Lenny Henry (BBC, 1999), Hearts and Bones (BBC, 2000) and two series of The Creatives (1998-2000).[citation needed]

In 1998, she graduated with a first-class degree in English and drama from the University of Greenwich. After gaining an MPhil from Royal Holloway, University of London, she gained a PhD in 2005 on early modern drama from the same institution.[3] Guard now works as a lecturer and drama programme leader at the University of Greenwich,[4] her published research includes "A Defence of the First English Actress",[5] and she appeared on BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour to discuss Shakespeare's women.


  1. ^ Trowbridge, Simon (17 December 2008). Stratfordians: a Biographical Dictionary of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Oxford, England: Editions Albert Creed. p. 234. ISBN 978-0-9559830-1-6.
  2. ^ Film Monthly, July 1982?
  3. ^ "Notable alumni: Theatre & Film"[not in citation given], Royal Holloway, University of London
  4. ^ Academic staff page, University of Greenwich
  5. ^ Literature & History, 15:2, Autumn 2006

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