Polly Perkins

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Polly Perkins
Gillian Nessie Arnold

(1943-05-31) 31 May 1943 (age 76)
London, England
OccupationActress, singer, writer
Years active1959–present
ChildrenTim Arnold, Toby Tobias

Polly Perkins (born Gillian Nessie Arnold, 31 May 1943) is a British actress, singer and writer. Perkins rose to fame in the 1960s as a popstar, going on to regularly appear in theatre and cabaret throughout the UK. She is known for playing Rose Cotton, the half-sister of Dot Branning (June Brown), in the BBC soap opera EastEnders between 2011 and 2012.

Early and personal life[edit]

Perkins was born Gillian Nessie Arnold to theatrical parents Dickie and Mitzi, who both had a successful career performing a cabaret/vaudeville act. Her step mother Dottie Arnold was also a successful variety performer.[1] Perkins has two children, singer songwriter Tim Arnold and film producer/director Toby Tobias.[2] In 1985, Perkins moved to Spain.


Perkins started her career performing at the Windmill Theatre in Soho,[3] when still in her teens, she first appeared nude aged 15.

During the 60's, Perkins was a teen pop star, a BBC thespian and the first compere of the cult TV show Ready Steady Go!. She starred in stage musicals as diverse as Salad Days and Let My People Come, and appeared in episodes of Minder, The Sweeney, Rules of Justice and Nanny.[4] Perkins was the leading lady in many West End cabaret clubs including The Latin Quarter, Blue Angel, The Celebrite, The Gaslight, The Directors Lodge, The Gargoyle, The Piano Bar and Madame Jojo's. She became a much-loved figure in Soho clubs for her smoky rendition of Edith Piaf's Je Ne Regrette Rien.

She also ran and performed in her own club "Polly's Candlelight" in Mayfair throughout 1977/78.

Perkins was cast as Trish Valentine, a washed-up nightclub singer, in the BBC soap opera Eldorado in the mid-90s.[5] In 2011, she returned to the stage in the debut performance of songs from her son's new musical Secrets of Soho at The Phoenix Artist Club.[6]

In the movie Metropolitan by Whit Stillman there is a mentioned character named Polly Perkins although an appearance is never made.

In May 2011, it was announced by that Perkins would be joining the cast of BBC soap opera EastEnders as Rose, the estranged half-sister of Dot Branning. Speaking of her casting, Perkins said "I am thrilled to be joining the cast of EastEnders, the show is a real British institution with an extraordinary creative team. I'm really looking forward to working with June again, who I have been friends with for over 30 years."[7]







  • Pop Lore According to the Academy (1969)
  • Liberated Woman (1973)
  • Polly (1977)


  • I Reckon You (1963)
  • Sweet As Honey (1963)
  • Young Lover (1964)
  • I Went By Your House Today (1964)
  • Munching The Candy (1969)
  • Coochie Coo (1973)


  • Songs for the Liberated Woman (1973)
  • Far Too Dainty (2003)


  1. ^ "Rothwell's Dottie Arnold". Rothwell Today. 3 December 2008. Retrieved 27 May 2011.
  2. ^ "Risque Secrets of Soho with a bit of Britpop". Camden New Journal. 11 February 2011. Retrieved 27 May 2011.
  3. ^ "Polly Perkins, 25 years on – 'Brechtian' musical role for former Windmill Girl Gillian Arnold". Camden New Journal. 1 April 2011. Retrieved 27 May 2011.
  4. ^ "My Kind of Day". Gay Times. October 1985. Archived from the original on 23 October 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2011.
  5. ^ Drama Faces. BBC. Accessed 6 April 2012. Archived 9 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  6. ^ "Polly Perkins-25 years on". Camden New Journal. 1 April 2011.
  7. ^ Kilkelly, Daniel (27 May 2011). "EastEnders casts Dot Branning's sister". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved 27 May 2011.

External links[edit]