Susan Penhaligon

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Susan Penhaligon
Born (1949-07-03) 3 July 1949 (age 70)
Years active1977–present
Nicholas Loukes
(m. 1971; div. 1972)

David Munro
(m. 1974; div. 1981)

Duncan Preston
(m. 1986; div. 1992)
Partner(s)Duncan Preston (since 1997)

Susan Penhaligon (born 3 July 1949) is a British actress and writer. She is known for her role in the drama series Bouquet of Barbed Wire (1976), and for playing Helen Barker in the sitcom A Fine Romance (1981–84). She also appeared in the soap opera Emmerdale (2006). Her film appearances include No Sex Please, We're British (1973) and Paul Verhoeven's Soldier of Orange (1977).

Early days[edit]

Penhaligon was born in Manila but returned with her family to Cornwall, aged 6. She spent her formative years living in St Ives and Falmouth. Aged 11 she was sent to boarding school in Bristol where her acting ambitions were encouraged. She has two brothers and a sister in the USA. After her parents divorced, her father went to live in San Francisco. She is a cousin of the late David Penhaligon, a former Liberal member of parliament in Cornwall.[1]

While training at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art,[2] Penhaligon shared a flat with Peter Hammill; she is mentioned in the lyrics of the Van der Graaf Generator song "Refugees" and the Peter Hammill song "Easy to Slip Away".[3] Tagged the 'British Bardot' in the 1970s, she was described by Clive Aslet in The Daily Telegraph as "the face of the decade".[4]

Acting career[edit]

Theatre roles[edit]

Penhaligon's first appearance in the theatre was playing Juliet in Romeo and Juliet at the Connaught Theatre Worthing in a two weekly repertory company.[5]

In the West End she appeared in a 1987 production of Three Sisters at the Albery Theatre.[6] In 1982, she played a leading part in The Real Thing at the Strand Theatre, Aldwich (now called the Novello). She appeared in The Maintenance Man at the Comedy Theatre in 1987, and played "Curley’s Wife" in a 1984 production of Of Mice and Men at the now defunct Mermaid Theatre.[7] She has toured the UK extensively, appearing in productions of The Constant Wife (Richmond Theatre, 2004),[8] Mrs. Warren's Profession (Richmond Theatre, 2009),[9] Death Trap (Theatre Royal, Norwich, 2002),[10] Agatha Christie's Verdict (Floral Pavilion Theatre, 2011),[5] Dangerous Obsession with Simon Ward (Theatre Royal, Bath, 1989),[11] and Lord Arthur Saville's Crime by Oscar Wilde (Richmond Theatre, 2005).[12]

She was in Time and the Conways, Lower Depths and The Cherry Orchard, and played a leading part in Arthur Miller's Broken Glass at the West Yorkshire Playhouse in Leeds.

In the Edinburgh Festival Fringe she appeared in the premiere of Dario Fo's Abduction Diana and she appeared in a critically acclaimed production of Misery at the King's Head Theatre.

TV roles[edit]

Her TV credits include Public Eye (1975, as Tuesday Simpson, a lesbian, would-be seductress of Julian Bradley, played by Ronald Lewis), Count Dracula (1977) with Louis Jourdan, Upstairs Downstairs, Tales of the Unexpected, Bergerac, Remington Steele, Wycliffe, Doctor Who, The Taming of the Shrew by the BBC Shakespeare series, Heart of the Country and A Kind of Loving. In A Fine Romance, she played Helen Barker. She has been in three episodes of Doctors and three episodes of Casualty. She also played Jean Hope in UK soap Emmerdale, for a year.[13]

Film roles[edit]

Penhaligon had roles in films such as Say Hello to Yesterday (1970), Private Road (1971), Under Milk Wood (1972) as Mae Rose Cottage, No Sex Please, We're British (1973), The Land That Time Forgot (1975), House of Mortal Sin (1976), Nasty Habits (1977), Paul Verhoeven's Soldier of Orange (1977) as a British military officer, The Uncanny (1977), Leopard in the Snow (1978), Patrick (1978), The Masks of Death (1984) and Top Dog (2014). She also played the role of the sole survivor of LANSA Flight 508, Juliane Koepcke in the film Miracles Still Happen (1974), directed by Giuseppe Maria Scotese.

Writing career[edit]

Her novel For the Love of Angel, published in 2008 by Truran Books, is set in Cornwall in the 1880s.[14]


  1. ^ "Cornish actress Susan Penhaligon quits Lib Dems over reforms". Western Morning News. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  2. ^ Catherine Jones (6 May 2011). "Actress Susan Penhaligon on her role in Agatha Christie's Verdict". liverpoolecho. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  3. ^ "Susan Penhaligon". The Argus. Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  4. ^ Clive Aslet (29 December 2009). "Susan Penhaligon take note: vanity is worse than a few wrinkles". Retrieved 1 February 2016.
  5. ^ a b Jones, Catherine (6 May 2011). "Actress Susan Penhaligon on her role in Agatha Christie's Verdict". Liverpool Echo. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  6. ^ "Theatre collections: record view". University of Kent. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  7. ^ "Production of Of Mice and Men". Theatricalia. Retrieved 2 October 2014.
  8. ^ Munro, David (2004). "Enjoyable, but not the play that Maugham intended". Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  9. ^ "Mrs Warren's Profession". 2009. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  10. ^ "Soul & Penhaligon Take Levin's Deathtrap on Tour". 2 January 2002. Archived from the original on 20 October 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  11. ^ "Production of Dangerous Obsession". Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  12. ^ Munro, David (2005). "Lord Saville's Crime is to have siphoned Wildw's wit and sparkle". Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  13. ^ gethampshire Administrator (1 August 2007). "Charming cast for Camberley panto". gethampshire. Archived from the original on 14 May 2016. Retrieved 20 April 2016.
  14. ^ "Truran – The Cornish Publisher". Retrieved 19 September 2014. ISBN 1850222223

External links[edit]