Barbara Jefford

Mary Barbara Jefford, OBE (born 26 July 1930), is a British Shakespearean actress best known for her theatrical performances with the Royal Shakespeare Company, the Old Vic and the National Theatre and her role as Molly Bloom in the 1967 film of James Joyce's Ulysses.

Barbara Jefford
Mary Barbara Jefford

26 July 1930 (age 88)
Plymstock, Devon, England, UK
Years active1949–2013
Spouse(s)Terence Longdon (1953–1960) (divorced)
John Turner (1967–present)

Early life

Mary Barbara Jefford was born in Plymstock, Devon, the daughter of Elizabeth Mary Ellen (née Laity) and Percival Francis Jefford.[1] She was brought up in the West Country and attended Weirfield School in Taunton, Somerset. She attended the Hartly-Hodder School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art before training at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, where she was awarded the Bancroft Gold Medal. In 1946, whilst still a student, she obtained small parts in the radio production of Westward Ho! and other radio plays, but her stage debut came in 1949, when she played the part of Viola in Twelfth Night at the Dolphin Theatre, Brighton.



After spending just one year working in repertory theatre, she was given the part of Isabella in 1950 in Peter Brook's production of Measure for Measure at the Shakespeare Memorial Company, (now the Royal Shakespeare Company) in Stratford-upon-Avon, playing opposite John Gielgud (Angelo) and Harry Andrews (Vincentio).

Over the next four years she went on to play many more major Shakespearean roles: Anne Boleyn in Henry VIII in 1950; Calphurnia in Julius Caesar opposite Anthony Quayle and Michael Langham in 1950; Hero, opposite John Gielgud and Peggy Ashcroft in 1950; Lady Percy in Henry IV, opposite John Kidd, Anthony Quayle and Michael Redgrave in 1951; Isabel opposite Richard Burton in Henry V, in 1951; Desdemona to Anthony Quayle's Othello in 1952; Rosalind in As You Like It (New Zealand Tour, 1953); Lady Percy in Henry IV, Part 1 ( New Zealand Tour and International Tour, 1953); Hippolyta in A Midsummer Night's Dream in 1954; Kate to Keith Michell's Petruchio in The Taming of the Shrew in 1954; and Helen in Troilus and Cressida in 1954.

The Old Vic

After leaving Stratford she co-starred with Michael Redgrave, in Tiger at the Gates in the West End and on Broadway, before returning to work at the Old Vic. Amongst other roles she played there were Portia in The Merchant of Venice; Imogen in Cymbeline; Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing; Julia in The Two Gentlemen of Verona; Tamora in Titus Andronicus; Lady Anne in Richard III; Viola in Twelfth Night; Queen Margaret in Henry VI 1–3 ; Isabella in Measure for Measure; Regan in King Lear; Rosalind in As You Like It; and Viola in Twelfth Night. In 1978 she played Gertrude to Derek Jacobi's Hamlet.

She also played Gwendoline in "The Importance of Being Earnest", Beatrice in Shelley's The Cenci and Joan in George Bernard Shaw's Saint Joan, emulating her mentor and friend, Dame Sybil Thorndike. Many of these productions toured the United States, the USSR, the Middle East and Europe.

Other productions

Jefford next started a period of work with Frank Hauser's Oxford Playhouse which included the first of her three Cleopatras, Racine's Phèdre and Lina in Misalliance which transferred to the Criterion Theatre. In the early 1970s she played Katherine Stockman in "An Enemy of the People " at the Chichester Theatre Festival.<Program from production>

Other West End plays included Ride A Cock Horse, Filumena, Mistress of Novices and The Dark Horse, as well as the Almeida Theatre's Racine Season at the Albery Theatre. With this company she also played her second Volumnia in Coriolanus, opposite Ralph Fiennes in London, New York City and Tokyo, her first being at Stratford with Charles Dance. In 1976 she was in the opening production at the Olivier Theatre playing Zabina in Tamburlaine the Great with Albert Finney.

She has repeated many Shakespeare roles in her long career, appearing in 54 productions of all but four of his plays. The last of these was Michael Grandage's Richard III with Kenneth Branagh in 2002, at the Crucible Theatre, Sheffield in which she played Queen Margaret, opposite Derek Jacobi for the second time.

In July 2007 she played Mrs Higgins (the mother of Henry Higgins) in Peter Hall's acclaimed Theatre Royal, Bath production of George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion, which transferred to the Old Vic in May 2008

Film and television

In 1959 she appeared as Ophelia in a TV production of Hamlet. For the James Bond film From Russia with Love (1963) she provided the uncredited voice of Tatiana Romanova, played by Daniela Bianchi. Jefford provided additional voice work in later Bond films, dubbing Molly Peters in Thunderball (1965) and Caroline Munro in The Spy Who Loved Me (1977). Her first major film role was as Molly Bloom in Ulysses (1967), for which she was nominated for a British Academy Award. This was followed by A Midsummer Night's Dream (1968), The Bofors Gun (1968), The Shoes of the Fisherman (1968) and Lust for a Vampire (1971) She played Magda Goebbels in Hitler: The Last Ten Days (1973). Other films include Nelly's Version (1983), Fellini's And the Ship Sails On (E la nave va) (1983), Claudia (1985), When the Whales Came (1989), The Saint, Roman Polanski's The Ninth Gate (1999) and Terence Davies's The Deep Blue Sea. In 2013, she played Sister Hildegard, a small but crucial part, in Stephen Frears's Philomena with Judi Dench and Steve Coogan.

Jefford has appeared in several television dramas in the Play For Today series (Edna, the Inebriate Woman, 1971); and has appeared in several other series. These include Journey to the Unknown, which also aired in the US, in 1968; Walter and June (1986); Porterhouse Blue (1987); Mrs Herriton in Where Angels Fear to Tread (Charles Sturridge, 1991); The House of Eliott (1991); Midsomer Murders (2000, 2009) and Madame Bovary (2000). She has also appeared in episodes of The Ruth Rendell Mysteries, Campion and the Inspector Alleyn Mysteries. She also appeared in The Creeper a 2010 episode of Midsomer Murders.


Selected radio roles include:

  • Isabella in Shakespeare's "Measure for Measure", BBC Home Service 23 April 1950.[2]
  • Thomas Otway's "Venice Preserved", BBC Third Programme 10 August 1960; with Donald Woolfit.[3]
  • Goneril in Shakespeare's "King Lear", BBC Third Programme 29 September 1967; with John Gielgud and Howard Marion-Crawford.[4]
  • Maja Rubek in "When We Dead Awaken" by Henrik Ibsen, BBC Third Programme 3 August 1969; with Ralph Richardson, Irene Worth and Gordon Jackson .[5]
  • Tamora in Shakespeare's "Titus Andronicus", BBC Radio 3 28 October 1973.[6]
  • Sibylla in "The Holy Sinner", by Peter Redgrove, based on the novel by Thomas Mann, BBC Radio 3, 18 November 1975.[7]
  • Duchess of Gloucester in episodes 5 & 6 of "Vivat Rex", BBC Radio 3 1977.[8][9]
  • Cleopatra in Shakespeare's "Antony and Cleopatra", BBC Radio 4 2 May 1981.[10]
  • Millie Crocker-Harris in "The Browning Version" by Terence Rattigan, BBC Radio 4 Afternoon Play 26 June 1981; with Nigel Stock.[11]
  • Miss Lavish in "A Room with a View" by E M Forster, BBC Radio 4, 1995
  • Eleanor of Aquitaine in "The Lion in Winter" by James Goldman, BBC Radio 4 27 December 1981.[12]
  • Paulina in Shakespeare's "The Winter's Tale", BBC Radio 3 21 January 1982.[13]
  • Elspeth Graham in "The Killing of Mr Toad", by David Gooderson,[14] BBC Radio 4, 30 December 1984.[15]
  • Lucia in "Queen Lucia" & "Lucia in London", adapted by Aubrey Woods from E F Benson's Lucia books, BBC Radio 4 1984 & 1985.[16]
  • Queen Elizabeth I in Friedrich von Schiller "Mary Stuart", BBC Radio 4 30 November 1987; with Hannah Gordon.
  • Maria Lvovna Dzerzinskaya in "The Stalin Sonata" by David Zane Mairowitz, BBC Radio 4 1 August 1989; Giles Cooper Award Winner.
  • "A Winter Meeting" by Elaine Feinstein, BBC Radio 4 14 January 1995.[17]
  • "On This Shaven Green" by Don Taylor, BBC Radio 4 16 September 2003.With John Wood, Edward Petherbridge.[18]


In 1965, Jefford was awarded the OBE for her service to the theatre, becoming the youngest ever civilian recipient of the award to that date.

In 1977 she was also awarded the Jubilee Festival Medal.


  1. ^ Barbara Jefford Biography (1930–)
  2. ^ BUFVC Search – Measure for Measure
  3. ^ Archived 2 January 2014 at the Wayback Machine BBC Drama; checked 31 December 2013
  4. ^ BUFVC Search – The Tragedy of King Lear
  5. ^ Diversity – When We Dead Awaken
  6. ^ BUFVC Search – Titus Andronicus
  7. ^ Diversity – 1975 Radio Plays
  8. ^ BUFVC Search – King of Snow
  9. ^ BUFVC Search – Treason
  10. ^ BUFVC Search – Antony and Cleopatra
  11. ^ Diversity – Afternoon Theatre – Lost Radio Plays
  12. ^ Diversity –
  13. ^ BUFVC Search – The Winter’s Tale
  14. ^ David Gooderson radio plays and publications
  15. ^ Diversity – BBC Afternoon Plays, 1984 – 2002
  16. ^ Diversity – BBC Afternoon Plays, 1984 – 2002
  17. ^ Diversity – More Lost Radio Plays
  18. ^ Diversity – Don Taylor Radio Plays

External links

21st British Academy Film Awards

The 21st British Film Awards, given by the British Academy of Film and Television Arts in 1968, honoured the best films of 1967.

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1959 film)

A Midsummer Night's Dream (Czech: Sen noci svatojánské) is a 1959 Czechoslovak animated puppet film directed by Jiří Trnka. It is based on the Shakespeare play of the same name.

A Midsummer Night's Dream (1968 film)

A Midsummer Night's Dream is a 1968 film of William Shakespeare's play A Midsummer Night's Dream, directed by Peter Hall.

And the Ship Sails On

And the Ship Sails On (Italian: E la nave va) is a 1983 Italian film by Federico Fellini. It depicts the events on board a luxury liner filled with the friends of a deceased opera singer who have gathered to mourn her. The film was selected as the Italian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the 56th Academy Awards, but was not accepted as a nominee.

Edna, the Inebriate Woman

Edna, the Inebriate Woman is a British television drama starring Patricia Hayes. The film, which was written by award-winning screenwriter Jeremy Sandford, was first broadcast on BBC 1 as part of the Play for Today series on 21 October 1971. It was directed by Ted Kotcheff and produced by Irene Shubik. Filming took place in November and December 1970.


Jefford is a surname. Notable people with the surname include:

Andrew Jefford (born 1956), English journalist.

Barbara Jefford (born 1930), British actresses

Calvin Jefford (born 1987), Caymanian footballer

James Wilfred Jefford (1901–1980), first Commander-in-Chief of the Royal Pakistan Navy

Nerys Jefford, British high court judge and barrister

Ruth Jefford (1914–2007), American musicianSee also

Jefford Point, is a point formed by a rock cliff surmounted by ice, located 8 nautical miles east-northeast of Cape Foster on the south coast of James Ross Island, Antarctica .


John Turner (actor)

John Turner (born 7 July 1932, in London, England) is a British television actor.

Lust for a Vampire

Lust For a Vampire (also known as Love for a Vampire or To Love a Vampire (the latter title was used on American television)) is a 1971 British Hammer Horror film directed by Jimmy Sangster, starring Ralph Bates, Barbara Jefford, Suzanna Leigh, Michael Johnson, and Yutte Stensgaard. It was given an R rating in the United States for some violence, gore, strong adult content, and nudity. It is the second film in the so-called Karnstein Trilogy loosely based on the J. Sheridan Le Fanu novella Carmilla. It was preceded by The Vampire Lovers (1970) and followed by Twins of Evil (1971). The three films do not form a chronological development, but use the Karnstein family as the source of the vampiric threat and were somewhat daring for the time in explicitly depicting lesbian themes.

Production of Lust For a Vampire began not long after the release of The Vampire Lovers.

The film has a cult following although some Hammer Horror fans have accused it of being overly camp and silly. Its most noted scene shows Yutte Stensgaard drenched in blood and partially covered by blood-soaked rags, although the filmed scene is not as explicit as that shown in a promotional still.Other notable actors in the film are Ralph Bates, Harvey Hall (who has a different role in each film of this series), David Healy and popular radio DJ Mike Raven as Count Karnstein. Karnstein's voice, however, is dubbed by an uncredited Valentine Dyall.

Michael Rudman

Michael Rudman (born 14 February 1939) is an American theatre director.

Nelly's Version

Nelly's Version is a 1983 British mystery film directed by Maurice Hatton and starring Eileen Atkins, Anthony Bate and Nicholas Ball. It was based on a novel by Eva Figes. The screenplay concerns a woman who turns up a hotel having lost her memory and forgotten who she is.

Porterhouse Blue (TV series)

Porterhouse Blue is a 1987 television series adapted by Malcolm Bradbury from the Tom Sharpe novel of the same name for Channel 4 in four episodes. It starred David Jason as Skullion, Ian Richardson as Sir Godber Evans, Barbara Jefford as his wife Lady Mary, Charles Gray as Sir Cathcart D'Eath, and John Sessions as Zipser. Also appearing were Griff Rhys Jones as Cornelius Carrington, Paula Jacobs as Mrs. Biggs, Bob Goody as Walter, Paul Rogers as the Dean, John Woodnutt as the Senior Tutor, Lockwood West as the Chaplain, Willoughby Goddard as Professor Siblington, Harold Innocent as the Bursar and Ian Wallace as the Praelector.

The title song "Dives in Omnia" (cod-Latin for "Excess in everything") was sung by a cappella group The Flying Pickets. The series won an International Emmy and two BAFTA Awards (including Best Actor for David Jason). The television adaptation has been released on DVD and VHS.

Sidney Sussex College, Cambridge, Sacrist's Gate near Ely Cathedral in Cambridgeshire, Knebworth House and Apethorpe Hall in Northamptonshire were used as locations in the series.

The show was repeated on the UK channel GOLD in August 2017

Power (play)

Power is a play by the British playwright Nick Dear. It is set in the court of King Louis XIV of France. It deals with the intrigue and tension of the court and explores the events and ideas that led Luis XIV to take full control of government and become an absolute monarch.

The play is essentially a drama, but also contains a great deal of comedy and innuendo.

Power was first performed by the Royal National Theatre at the Cottesloe Theatre on July 3, 2003, and the original cast was:

Jean-Baptiste Colbert – Stephen Boxer

Anne of Austria – Barbara Jefford

Nicolas Fouquet – Robert Lindsay

Louise de la Valliere – Hattie Morahan

Louis XIV – Rupert Penry-Jones

Philippe I, Duke of Orléans – Jonathan Slinger

Henriette d'Angleterre – Geraldine SomervilleMore recently, Power was performed by the Putney Arts Theatre Company at Putney Arts Theatre in February 2006, and the Lace Market Theatre in Nottingham between 17 and 22 July 2006. Power was premiered in the Finnish National Theatre (Kansallisteatteri) 6 September 2006. It has also been produced at theatres in Portugal (Teatro Municipal de Almada), Poland and Hungary.

Reunion (1989 film)

Reunion is a 1989 British dramatic film based on the 1971 novel of the same name by Fred Uhlman, directed by Jerry Schatzberg from a screenplay by Harold Pinter. It stars Jason Robards. The film was released in France under the title L' Ami Retrouvé and in Germany as Der wiedergefundene Freund.The story is centred on the "enchanted friendship" of two teenagers in 1933 Germany. Hans Strauss (Christien Anholt) is the son of a Jewish doctor and Konradin Von Lohenburg (Samuel West) is from an aristocratic family. The background is the rise of Nazism. Jason Robards plays the older Hans in the 1970s as he prepares to travel to Germany for the first time since the 1930s. The film was shot on location in Berlin, New York and Stuttgart. Reunion was nominated for a Golden Palm at the 1989 Cannes Film Festival.

The Ninth Gate

The Ninth Gate is a 1999 mystery thriller film directed, produced, and co-written by Roman Polanski. An international co-production between the United States, Portugal, France, and Spain, the film is loosely based upon Arturo Pérez-Reverte's 1993 novel The Club Dumas. The plot involves the search for a rare and ancient book that purportedly contains a magical secret for summoning the Devil. The premiere showing was at San Sebastián, Spain, on 25 August 1999, a month before the 47th San Sebastian International Film Festival. Though critically and commercially unsuccessful in North America, where reviewers compared it unfavorably with Polanski's supernatural film Rosemary's Baby (1968), The Ninth Gate earned a worldwide gross of $58.4 million against a $38 million budget.

Ulysses (1967 film)

Ulysses is a 1967 British-American drama film loosely based on James Joyce's novel Ulysses. It concerns the meeting of two Irishmen, Leopold Bloom and Stephen Dedalus, in 1904 Dublin.

Starring Milo O'Shea as Leopold Bloom, Barbara Jefford as Molly Bloom, Maurice Roëves as Stephen Dedalus, T. P. McKenna as Buck Mulligan, and Sheila O'Sullivan as May Golding Dedalus, it was adapted by Fred Haines and Joseph Strick and directed by Strick. Haines and Strick shared an Oscar nomination for the screenplay.

Walter (1982 film)

Walter is a British television drama directed by Stephen Frears and starring Ian McKellen, Barbara Jefford, Tony Melody, David Ryall, Keith Allen, Paula Tilbrook, and Jim Broadbent. It was first broadcast on the launch night of Channel 4 on 2 November 1982. Based on a 1978 novel of the same name by David Cook, it was the first ever Film on Four.

When the Whales Came

When the Whales Came is a 1989 British film, based on the 1985 children's book Why the Whales Came written by Michael Morpurgo. The film is, like the book, set on Bryher, one of the Isles of Scilly.

Where Angels Fear to Tread (film)

Where Angels Fear to Tread is a 1991 British drama film directed by Charles Sturridge. The screenplay by Sturridge, Tim Sullivan, and Derek Granger is based on the 1905 novel of the same title by E. M. Forster.

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