Prunella Gee as Doreen Heavey in 'Coronation Street' (2004)
17 February 1950 |
London, England, UK
|Years active||1973–2004, 2011|
|Spouse(s)||Ken Campbell (1978-1983) 1 child|
Prunella Gee (born 17 February 1950) is an English actress, best known for her work in the 1970s and 1980s.
Wanting to become an actress, she studied at the prestigious London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, where she won the Spotlight Award for Best Actress in 1972; she then spent six months in repertory playing Priestly, Shaw, Shakespeare, Feydeau and Orton.
Her first television role was as Anna Fitzgerald in Granada's 1930s drama serial Shabby Tiger in 1973, in which she rose to overnight notoriety by becoming the first model to show full frontal nudity on British television. She was quickly hailed as Britain's answer to Brigitte Bardot or Sophia Loren. In a 2002 interview, Gee recalled: "I was working in serious theatre, but got a reputation of being a sex symbol. I was too young to know any better so I tended to go with the flow." 
Career in film, television and stage
Gee made her film debut in 1975, alongside Sidney Poitier, Michael Caine and Nicol Williamson in The Wilby Conspiracy, for which she was nominated Best Newcomer in the Evening News Film Awards. The same year she starred as journalist Sandy Williams in episode 8 of the popular police drama series The Sweeney.
Throughout the 1970s and '80s, Gee had guest roles in many classic television shows including Return of the Saint, The Glittering Prizes, Hammer House of Horror, The Professionals and Alas Smith & Jones. She also made regular appearances on such shows as Call My Bluff and Give Us A Clue.
In 1976, Gee starred as Sheila in Waris Hussein's production of Waiting For Sheila for the ITV Sunday Night Drama slot.
In 1989, she made a guest appearance in another short-lived comedy series, Split Ends, in a part specially created for her.
In 1998, she played Catherine McKay, a fading adult film star in the romantic comedy film Merchants of Venus, filmed in Los Angeles, in which she starred with Michael York, Beverly D'Angelo and Brian Cox. It was Gee's first film appearance since she had played Sting’s wife in the British nourish classic Stormy Monday in 1988.
Gee's last television role was Doreen Heavey in Coronation Street, a part she played in regular intervals from 1999 to 2004.
Gee has had a long and varied career on the stage. David Storey cast her in his production of The Farm in 1973, her future husband Ken Campbell gave her the role of the Goddess of Chaos in his remarkable play Illuminatus in 1976, and in 1988, she played all three women in Last of the Red Hot Lovers.
From 1989 to 1990, she starred as the blind Sheila in a national tour of Wait Until Dark. She took on the double role of Alice in Double Take, at the Liverpool Playhouse in 1990. The same year she devised and starred in Warhola with Snoo Wilson as Warhol (taken from The Philosophy of Andy Warhol) at Offstage and the Carib Theatre, Trinidad.
From 1991 to 1992, she acted in the play Time and Time Again, which included dates at the Theatre Royal, Bath.  Shortly after, she played Romaine in the Agatha Christie play Witness for the Prosecution.
Gee gave up acting in 2004. She briefly returned in 2011 when she appeared in the short film Trimming Pablo.
Private life and later career
In April 2013, in her capacity as a counsellor, Gee was interviewed on Jo Good's BBC London 94.9 radio show, talking about addiction. On the programme, Gee revealed that she had given up acting because she had started her training as a counsellor whilst she was by then playing "mums and grannies". She had tried to do the two together but realised that she could not give her full attention to both. Gee said that she "bravely" said to her agent: "that's it", and that she wanted to be taken out of Spotlight. She added: "It was the most liberating thing I've ever done".
In 2012, Prunella made a guest appearance at a Sweeney Meet event held in Hammersmith, London. joining fans of the '70s show The Sweeney in which she appeared (Cover Story 1975).
TV and Filmography
- Shabby Tiger (TV 1973)
- The Wilby Conspiracy (1975)
- The Sweeney (TV 1975)
- The Last of the Best Men (TV 1975)
- Quiller (TV 1975)
- Waiting for Sheila (TV 1976)
- The Glittering Prizes (TV 1976)
- Call My Bluff (1977-1980)
- Return of the Saint (TV 1978)
- Turtle's Progress (TV 1979)
- Fallen Hero (TV 1979)
- Hammer House of Horror (TV 1980)
- The Professionals (TV 1980)
- Cry Freedom (1981)
- Kinvig (TV 1981)
- Never Say Never Again (1983)
- Moving (TV 1985)
- Number One (1985)
- Alas Smith & Jones (TV 1985)
- No Place Like Home (TV 1986)
- Constant Hot Water (TV 1986)
- Stormy Monday (1988)
- Executive Stress (TV 1988)
- Split Ends (TV 1989)
- Merchants of Venus (1998)
- Easy Target (1998)
- Coronation Street (TV 1999-2004)
- Trimming Pablo (2011)
- "Corrie's Doreen: I spent 2 days in bed with Sean; (And two seconds cuddling Billy Sloan). - Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 2014-02-01.
- "Prunella Gee". Theatricalia. Retrieved 2014-02-01.
- "The Taming of the Shrew - William Shakespeare - Google Books". Books.google.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-02-01.
- "Daily Mail Pictures: View Picture: eLib_ASSCMMGLPICT000003048642.jpg". Mailpictures.newsprints.co.uk. Retrieved 2014-02-01.
- "Ken Campbell". London: Telegraph. 2008-09-01. Retrieved 2009-08-16.
- "Therapist in North London, Counselling, Psychotherapy, Therapy, 12 steps, Addiction Family dynamics". Camdentherapy.com. 2011-05-11. Retrieved 2014-02-01.
- "BBC London 94.9 - Jo Good, Sewing and addiction". Bbc.co.uk. 2013-04-15. Retrieved 2014-02-01.