Angharad Rees

Angharad Mary Rees, The Hon. Mrs David McAlpine, CBE (16 July 1944 – 21 July 2012) was a British actress, best known for her British television roles during the 1970s and in particular her leading role as Demelza in the 1970s BBC TV costume drama Poldark.[1]

Angharad Rees
Angharad Mary Rees

16 July 1944
Edgware, Middlesex, England
Died21 July 2012 (aged 68)
London, England
ResidenceKnightsbridge, London
OccupationActress, jewellery designer
Notable work
Christopher Cazenove
(m. 1973; div. 1994)

The Hon. David McAlpine (m. 2005)
AwardsFellow, Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama

Early life

Rees was born at Redhill Hospital (now Edgware Community Hospital), Edgware, Middlesex, to Welsh psychiatrist Linford Rees (William Linford Llewellyn Rees, M.D., B.Ch, D.P.M., 24 October 1914 – 29 July 2004) by his marriage to Catherine Thomas (died 1993).[2]

When she was two, in 1946, her family moved from 13 Engel Park, Mill Hill, to Cardiff.[1] Rees had two brothers and a sister.[2] She attended the independent Commonweal Lodge School, then the Sorbonne in Paris for two terms and the Rose Bruford Drama College in Kent. She also studied at the University of Madrid and taught English in Spain before acting in repertory theatre in England.[3]

Throughout her professional life, her birth year was given as 1949, but her birth certificate shows she was born in 1944.[4]

Acting career

Rees made her television debut as a parlour maid in 1968 in an adaptation of Shaw’s Man and Superman, appearing alongside Eric Porter and Maggie Smith. Other appearances in various television dramas and comedy series quickly followed, including The Way We Live Now, The Avengers, The Wednesday Play, Doctor in the House, Crown Court, and Within These Walls.

Her most notable early roles included the daughter of Winston Churchill (played by Richard Burton) in The Gathering Storm (1974), Lucy in Dennis Potter's television play Joe's Ark (also 1974), and as Celia in As You Like It opposite Helen Mirren (1978). Director Alan Bridges said of Rees' performance in Potter's television play that it was one of the finest performances he had ever witnessed.[5]

She starred as the fictional murderous daughter of Jack the Ripper in the Hammer horror Hands of the Ripper (1971)[6] and the following year’s star-studded film version of Under Milk Wood (1972) starring Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole and Elizabeth Taylor. Her other film roles included Jane Eyre (1970), To Catch a Spy (1971), The Love Ban (1973), Moments (1974), La petite fille en velours bleu (1978), The Curse of King Tut's Tomb (1980), the television miniseries Master of the Game (1984) and The Wolves of Kromer (1998) a British-made fantasy film, narrated by Boy George.

Rees appeared in many stage productions in London's West End, including It’s two foot, Six Inches Above The Ground World (Wyndhams, 1970); The Picture of Dorian Gray (Lyric, Hammersmith, 1975); The Millionairess (Haymarket, 1978–79); Perdita in A Winter’s Tale (Young Vic, 1981) and A Handful of Dust (Lyric, Hammersmith, 1982). Her other Shakespearean roles included Ophelia for the Welsh Theatre Company (1969) and Hermione at the Sherman Theatre, Cardiff (1985).[7]

From 1975 to 1977 she played the lead role of Demelza in the BBC TV costume drama Poldark, the role with which she is most closely associated, appearing in all but the first episode.[8]

She toured in the Bill Kenwright production of Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband, directed by Peter Hall, with Michael Denison and Dulcie Gray and appeared regularly with John Mortimer in Mortimer’s Miscellany, his self-devised anthology of poetry and prose presented at theatres around Britain.[3]

Later television work included the sitcom Close to Home (1989–90) and the sporting drama Trainer (1992).[7]


She was made a Fellow of the Royal Welsh College of Music & Drama. She also had a public house named after her in Pontypridd.[9]

Jewellery design

Following the death of her son Linford in 1999 she turned her back on acting and concentrated on her passion for jewellery design.[10] Rees founded a jewellery design company, Angharad, based in Knightsbridge. Pieces that she designed and produced featured in the film Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007).[11]

Personal life

On 18 September 1973, Rees married the actor Christopher Cazenove, who had made his name at around the same time in The Regiment. They had two sons: Linford James (20 July 1974 – 10 September 1999) and Rhys William (born 1976).[12] Linford was killed in a car accident on the M11 motorway in Essex while returning to collect his books from Cambridge University, where he had been awarded the degree of Master of Philosophy.[13] Cazenove and Rees divorced in 1994 but remained close. Cazenove died from the effects of septicaemia in 2010.[14]

Rees had a relationship with British actor Alan Bates;[15] on 29 April 2005, after Bates' death, Rees married David McAlpine, a member of the McAlpine construction company, at The Royal Hospital Chelsea, London. She remained married to McAlpine until her death.


Rees died on 21 July 2012, aged 68, of pancreatic cancer.[16][17][18]

A memorial service was held for her at St Paul's Church, Knightsbridge, London on 27 September 2012 at which Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes led the tributes. He said "If there was one thing she was superb at, it was friendship. And not just sympathetic friendship, but hard-working, useful, practical assistance. She was anxious, I think, that she should not be defined, entirely, as the star of a popular series, as one half of a golden couple, as a mother and hostess, although she excelled in all of these. She wanted also to be remembered as a serious actress whose early career might have gone on to greatness had she not made the personal decision to change direction [by having a family]."[15]



  1. ^ a b Anthony Hayward (22 July 2012). "Angharad Rees obituary | Television & radio". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2012-07-23.
  2. ^ a b Edwards, Griffith (12 August 2004). "Linford Rees". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Angharad Rees (obituary)". The Daily Telegraph. 22 July 2012.
  4. ^
  5. ^ W. Stephen Gilbert The Life and Work of Dennis Potter, Woodstock, NY: Overlook Press, 1998, p.215
  6. ^ Hands of the Ripper, 1972-07-13, retrieved 2016-09-13
  7. ^ a b Angharad Rees: Obituary from
  8. ^ Poldark, Museum of Broadcast Communications
  9. ^ "Angharad's, Pontypridd". Retrieved 2016-09-13.
  10. ^ "Poldark star Angharad Rees remembered". BBC News. Retrieved 2016-01-03.
  11. ^ ANGHARAD REES LIMITED 04534252 (E1) 14/12/2010 (listing at London Gazette)
  12. ^ Online Video Websites Database biography Archived 18 July 2011 at the Wayback Machine
  13. ^ "BBC News | Wales | Welsh actress pays tribute to her son". Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  14. ^ "BBC News - Former Dynasty star Christopher Cazenove dies". Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  15. ^ a b Eden, Tim Walker. Edited by Richard. "Downton Abbey creator Julian Fellowes leads tributes to Angharad Rees". Retrieved 13 September 2016.
  16. ^ "BBC News - Poldark actress Angharad Rees dies from cancer". 21 July 2012. Retrieved 2012-07-21.
  17. ^ Welsh actress Angharad Rees dies, The Guardian, 22 July 2012
  18. ^ Angharad Rees (1949-2012), Peerage News, 22 July 2012

External links


Angharad (; Welsh pronunciation: [aˈŋ̊arad]) is a feminine given name in the Welsh language, having a long association with Welsh royalty, history and myth. It translates to English as much loved one.


Baffled! is a 1973 British made-for-television science fiction thriller film, which was intended as a pilot for a television series. The story is part of the occult detective subgenre and starred Leonard Nimoy, Susan Hampshire, Rachel Roberts and Vera Miles.

Bedtime Stories (1974 TV series)

Bedtime Stories was an anthology series of six plays that were '1974 versions of well-loved tales' and intended as a sequel to 1972's Dead of Night. The series aired on BBC Two from 3 March 1974 to 7 April 1974. Writers for the series included Alan Plater, Nigel Kneale and Andrew Davies. The series was produced by Innes Lloyd and script edited by Louis Marks. Two episodes, Sleeping Beauty and Jack and the Beanstalk are believed to have been wiped.

1: Goldilocks and the Three Bears


Charles Lloyd-Pack as Narrator

Angharad Rees as Miss Goldie

Bryan Pringle as Arthur Burr

Rosemary Leach as Ivy Burr

Dai Bradley as Lennie Burr

John Hartley as Simon

George Waring as Harry

Harold Goodwin as Joe

Frank Mills as Mr. MillsWritten by Alan Plater. Directed by Jonathan Alwyn.

2: The Water Maiden


Jeff Rawle as Colin

Lisa Harrow as Marianne

Freddie Fletcher as Liam

Cheryl Hall as Linda

Avril Elgar as Colin's Mother

Graham Ashley as Councillor Phillips

Paul Moriarty as Bob

Brian Pettifer as Alan

Rayner Bourton as Fox

Martin Skinner as Fox's friendWritten by Andrew Davies. Directed by Kenneth Ives.

3: Sleeping Beauty


John Franklyn-Robbins as Narrator

Ciaran Madden as Clare Rawley

Richard Morant as Stephen Grant

Diana Quick as Anna Carpenter

Esmond Knight as Vere Rawley

Adrienne Corri as Constance Rawley

Kathleen Michael as Bess Robson

John Saunders as Bertram

Anne Ridler as Doctor Harrington

Richard Steele as Doctor PorterWritten by Julian Bond. Directed by David Maloney.

4: Jack and the Beanstalk


Martin Thurley as Jonathan Weir

Stephanie Bidmead as Linda Weir

Glyn Owen as Duggie Weir

Peter Jeffrey as Nethercoat

Keith Marsh as Skinner

Miranda Hampton as Marcia

Ian Haliburton as Mike

Denis Gilmore as Fuller

Will Stampe as Vic

Julie May as Dorrie

Liz Smith as Miss LongWritten by Nigel Kneale. Directed by Paul Ciappessoni.

5: Hansel and Gretel


Raymond Francis as Harry

Brenda Bruce as Gertie

Gwen Watford as Irene James

Michael Graham Cox as Chris

Gillian Rhind as JillWritten by Louis Marks. Directed by Roger Jenkins.

6: The Snow Queen


Peter Turner as Kay

Veronica Roberts as Gerda

Richard Butler as Major Burton

Eve Pearce as Mrs. Burton

Julian Holloway as Hale Patterson

Fiona Walker as Brenda Patterson

Lesley-Anne Down as Monica

Andee Cromarty as Charlie

Martin Howells as Derek

Rosalind Elliott as The Robber Girl

Garrick Hagon as Chris

Natalie Kent as Mrs. Harris

Margot Thomas as SamaritanWritten by John Bowen. Directed by Paul Ciappessoni.

Catch My Soul (UK stage version)

Disambiguation: for Film version see Catch My Soul

Catch My Soul is the UK stage version of the rock musical produced by Jack Good. The show was a showcase for the talents of Lance LeGault, P. P. Arnold, P.J. Proby and an introduction to the rock musician Robert Tench and the band Gass. It was loosely adapted from Shakespeare's Othello and the character of Iago had originally been played by Jerry Lee Lewis in the US production which had closed in 1968.The first UK stage performance was at the University Theatre Manchester by the 69 Theatre Company with Angharad Rees as Desdemona. The London stage version opened at The Roundhouse in 1969 and moved to the Prince of Wales Theatre in the West End in 1970. The show also toured larger UK cities and closed in January 1972. The original UK cast recorded Catch My Soul (1971), with music as interpreted by Gass, the show's backing band at that time. A film, Catch My Soul, was released in 1974 with a different cast.

Christopher Cazenove

Christopher de Lerisson Cazenove (17 December 1943 – 7 April 2010) was a British film, television and stage actor.

Close to Home (1989 TV series)

Close to Home is a British television sitcom created by Brian Cooke, and made by LWT. Two series were originally broadcast on ITV in the United Kingdom between 1989 and 1990.Set in North London, it starred Paul Nicholas as vet and divorced father of two, James Shepherd, Angharad Rees as his ex-wife Helen DeAngelo, and Jane Briers as quirky veterinary nurse Rose. James and Helen's 19-year-old daughter Kate was played in both series by Lucy Benjamin. Their 14-year-old son Robbie was played by Andrew Read.

Each episode featured James Shepherd's attempts to juggle life as the single father of two teenagers, while running a busy veterinary practice. His attempts to find happiness with a new partner were frequently sabotaged by clingy ex-wife Helen.

Actor and comedian Stephen Frost was a regular guest star during series one, playing Helen DeAngelo's Italian second husband Frank. In series two, actress Pippa Guard joined the cast as James' on-off love interest, Vicky.

Commonweal Lodge

Commonweal Lodge was an independent school for girls aged between eleven and nineteen, located on the Webb Estate in Purley operating between 1916 and 2010.

Evelyn Beauchamp

Lady Evelyn Leonora Almina Beauchamp (née Herbert; 15 August 1901 – 31 January 1980) was the daughter of George Herbert, 5th Earl of Carnarvon. In November 1922, she, her father and the archaeologist Howard Carter were the first people in modern times to enter both the tomb and inner burial chamber of the Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun. She later married Sir Brograve Beauchamp and had a daughter. Lady Evelyn died in 1980, at the age of 79.

Hands of the Ripper

Hands of the Ripper is a 1971 British horror film, directed by Peter Sasdy for Hammer Film Productions. It was written by L. W. Davidson from a story by Edward Spencer Shew, and produced by Aida Young.

Joe's Ark

Joe's Ark is a videotaped television play written by Dennis Potter first transmitted as part of the Play for Today series on 14 February 1974 on BBC 1.

Moments (1974 film)

Moments is a 1974 British drama film directed by Peter Crane and starring Keith Michell, Angharad Rees and Bill Fraser. The screenplay concerns a man who has lost his wife and daughter in a car crash who returns to a hotel where he had once enjoyed happiness.

Poldark (1975 TV series)

Poldark is the original version of the BBC television series adaptation of the novels of the same title written by Winston Graham. The adaptation was first transmitted in the UK between 1975 and 1977.


Rees is a very common Welsh name that traces back to the ancient Celts known as the Britons. The surname was first recorded in Carmarthenshire, and is derived from the personal name Rhys. Rhys is very common in Wales, and some parts of England.

Notable individuals named Rees include the following:

Abraham Rees (1743–1825), compiler of Rees's Cyclopaedia and a botanist

Alan Rees, British Formula One driver

Albert E. Rees (1921–1992) American economist, presidential adviser, and Princeton provost.

Albert E. Rees (actor) 19th-century comic opera actor

Aneurin Rees (1858–1932), Wales rugby union international

Angharad Rees (1949–2012), British actress

Billy Rees (1924–1996), Welsh international footballer

Brinley Rees (1919–2004), British classicist

Celia Rees, British author

Clive Rees, Wales and British Lions rugby union international

Conway Rees (1870–1932), Welsh rugby union international

Coralie Clarke Rees (1908–1972), an Australian author

Dai Rees (born 1913), Welsh golfer

Dai Rees (scientist) (born 1936), British biochemist and science administrator

Dan Rees, Welsh international rugby player

David Rees (disambiguation), several people

Don Rees, warden of Hugh Stewart Hall in the University of Nottingham for 29 years

Eleri Rees (born 1953), Welsh judge

Elgan Rees, Wales and British Lions rugby union international

Elmer Rees, British geometer

Fernando Rees (born 1985), Brazilian auto racing driver

Gareth Rees (disambiguation), multiple people, including:

Gareth Rees (cricketer) (born 1985), Welsh cricketer

Gareth Rees (motorsport commentator) (born 1969), Welsh motorsport commentator

Gareth Rees (rugby union) (born 1967), former Canadian rugby player

Gareth Rees (software developer) (born 1971), computer programmer responsible for the game Christminster

Gavin Rees (born 1980), Welsh professional boxer

Geraint Rees, British neurologist and neuroscientist

Goronwy Rees (1909-1979), Welsh journalist, academician, memoirist, and Soviet spy

Grover Rees, III (born 1951), U.S. judge and diplomat

Jason Rees (disambiguation)

Jean Rees (1914–2004), British artist

Jeremy Rees (1937–2003), British arts administrator

Jerry Rees, U.S. animator and film director

John Rees (disambiguation), multiple people, including:

John Rees (activist) (born 1957), British political activist and writer

John Rees (journalist), American journalist

Sir John David Rees (1854–1922), colonial administrator in British India and Member of Parliament

John Rees (musician) (1857–1949), Welsh musician

John Rawlings Rees (1890–1969), British psychiatrist

Idwal Rees (1910–1991), Wales rugby union captain

Ivor Rees (1893–1967), Welsh soldier and recipient of the Victoria Cross

Katie Rees, a former American beauty queen

Laurence Rees, (born 1957), British historian, author and documentary filmmaker

Leighton Rees (born 1940), Welsh darts player

Lionel Wilmot Brabazon Rees (1884–1955), Welsh World War I flying ace

Lloyd Rees (1895–1988), Australian landscape painter

Martin Rees, Baron Rees of Ludlow (born 1942), British Astronomer Royal

Matt Rees, (born 1967) Welsh novelist

Matthew Rees, Wales and British Lions rugby union international

Merlyn Rees (1920–2006), British Labour party politician and minister

Milsom Rees (1866–1952), Welsh surgeon

Nathan Rees, (born 1968) Australian politician with the Labor Party, and Premier of New South Wales

Nigel Rees (born 1944), English writer and broadcaster

Nigel Rees (footballer) (born 1953), Welsh footballer

Norman J. Rees (ca. 1906—1976), double agent for USSR and FBI

Peter Rees (born 1926), British Conservative party politician

Paul Rees (born 1986), British racing driver

Robert Rees (disambiguation), several people

Ronnie Rees, Welsh international footballer

Roger Rees (born 1944), British-American actor

Ronnie Rees (born 1944), Welsh footballer

Stuart Rees, director of the Sydney Peace Foundation

Thomas Rees (disambiguation), multiple people, including:

Thomas Rees (Unitarian minister) (1777–1864), Welsh Unitarian minister and scholar

Thomas Rees (Twm Carnabwth) (c. 1806–1876; also known as Twm Carnabwth), Welsh leader of the Rebecca Riots

Thomas Rees (Congregational minister) (1815–1885), Welsh Congregationalist minister

Thomas Ifor Rees (1890–1977), Welsh diplomat and translator

Tom Rees (rugby union) (born 1984), English rugby union player

Tommy Rees (1904–1968), Welsh dual-code rugby player

Thomas Wynford Rees (1898–1959), British soldier in the British Indian Army

William Rees (disambiguation), several people

The Love Ban

The Love Ban is a 1973 British comedy film directed by Ralph Thomas and starring Hywel Bennett, Nanette Newman and Milo O'Shea. It was based on a play by Kevin Laffan. It is also known under the alternative titles of It's a 2'6' Above the Ground World and Anyone for Sex?.

The Way We Live Now (1969 TV serial)

The Way We Live Now is an adaptation of the novel The Way We Live Now as a serial for television, first broadcast in 1969.

The Wolves of Kromer

The Wolves of Kromer is a 1998 gay-themed, allegorical fantasy film based on a play of the same name by Charles Lambert.

In the small English village of Kromer, the local residents are angered by the wild parties held by the promiscuous 'wolves' who dwell on the edge of town. When a woman is killed by her servants, they manage to put the blame on the wolves, who soon find themselves hunted by an angry mob. Narrated by Boy George, this allegorical tale explores the origins and effects of homophobia.

The film debuted at the San Francisco International Lesbian & Gay Film Festival in 1998 but was released in theaters in December 2000.

To Catch a Spy

To Catch a Spy is a 1971 comedy spy film directed by Dick Clement and starring Kirk Douglas, Marlène Jobert, Trevor Howard, Richard Pearson, Garfield Morgan, Angharad Rees and Robert Raglan. It was written by Clement and Ian La Frenais. It was a co-production between Britain, the United States and France, which was filmed in Bucharest, Romania. It was also part filmed on Loch Awe and Loch Etive, Scotland, where the gunboat scenes were filmed, and featured Kirk Douglas running through a herd of Highland cattle which were owned by David Fellowes. It was also released as Catch Me a Spy and Keep Your Fingers Crossed.

Under Milk Wood (1972 film)

Under Milk Wood is a 1972 British drama film directed by Andrew Sinclair and based on the 1954 radio play Under Milk Wood by the Welsh writer Dylan Thomas. It featured performances from many well-known actors as the residents of the fictional Welsh fishing village of Llareggub including Richard Burton, Elizabeth Taylor, Siân Phillips, David Jason, Glynis Johns, Victor Spinetti, Ruth Madoc, Angharad Rees, Ann Beach, Vivien Merchant and Peter O'Toole.

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