Beryl Reid

Beryl Elizabeth Reid, OBE (17 June 1919 – 13 October 1996) was a British actress of stage and screen. She won the 1967 Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play for The Killing of Sister George, the 1980 Olivier Award for Best Comedy Performance for Born in the Gardens, and the 1982 BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for Smiley's People. Her film appearances included The Belles of St. Trinian's (1954), The Killing of Sister George (1968), The Assassination Bureau (1969) and No Sex Please, We're British (1973).

Beryl Reid

Beryl Reid Allan Warren
Reid in 1974
Beryl Elizabeth Reid

17 June 1919
Hereford, England
Died13 October 1996 (aged 77)
Years active1940–1994
Spouse(s)Bill Worsley (1949–1953; divorced)
Derek Franklin (1954–1966; divorced)

Early life

Born in Hereford in 1919,[1] Reid was the daughter of Scottish parents and grew up in Manchester, where she attended Withington and Levenshulme High Schools.


Leaving school at 16, she made her debut in 1936 as a music hall performer at the Floral Hall, Bridlington. Before and during the Second World War, she took part in variety shows and pantomimes. She had no formal training but later appeared at the Royal National Theatre in London as a comedy actress. Her first big success came in the BBC radio show Educating Archie as naughty schoolgirl Monica and later as the Brummie, "Marlene."

Her many film and television roles as a character actor were usually well received. She reprised her Tony Award-winning performance of a lesbian soap opera star in The Killing of Sister George for the 1968 screen version and was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Actress in a Drama. The tour of the play was not a success; people in shops refused to serve her and other performers due to the gay characters in the play.[2]

She was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1976 when she was surprised by Eamonn Andrews in the car park of Thames Television's Teddington Studios.

In both Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Smiley's People, Reid played Connie Sachs. For Smiley's People she won a BAFTA for Best Actress on Television. She also wrote an autobiography, So Much Love. She played the part of an elderly feminist and political subversive in the 1987 television drama, The Beiderbecke Tapes.

She appeared in many situation comedies and variety programmes on TV including BBC TV's long running music hall show, The Good Old Days.

Between 1981 and 1983, she co-presented the Children's TV programme Get up and Go for Yorkshire Television, her co-presenter "Mooncat" being a green, talking, puppet cat. Stephen Boxer was her human co-star. After she left the show it became titled simply Mooncat and Co.

She married twice, but had no children.

An authorised biography, Roll Out the Beryl, was published by Fantom Films on 22 August 2016. Written by Kaye Crawford, it was the first biography to be written of the actress and coincided with the twentieth anniversary of her death.


Reid died at the age of 77 from Pneumonia at a South Buckinghamshire hospital on 13 October 1996, after complications following knee replacement surgery for Arthritis.[3][4]


Year Film Role Notes
1954 The Belles of St Trinian's Miss Wilson
1956 The Extra Day Beryl
1960 Two-Way Stretch Miss Pringle
1962 The Dock Brief Doris Fowle
1968 Inspector Clouseau Mrs. Weaver
1968 Star! Rose
1968 The Killing of Sister George June 'George' Buckridge Nominated - Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama
1969 The Assassination Bureau Madame Otero
1970 Entertaining Mr Sloane Kath
1970 The Beast in the Cellar Ellie Ballantyne
1971 Psychomania Mrs. Latham
1972 Father, Dear Father Mrs. Stoppard
1972 Dr. Phibes Rises Again Miss Ambrose, Harry's Cousin
1973 No Sex Please, We're British Bertha Hunter
1977 Joseph Andrews Mrs. Slipslop
1978 Rosie Dixon - Night Nurse Matron
1978 Carry On Emmannuelle Mrs Valentine
1979 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Connie Sachs Episode "Smiley Tracks the Mole"
Nominated - British Academy Television Award for Best Actress
1980 Rhubarb Rhubarb Home Owner's Wife
1981 Late Flowering Love segment "Invasion Exercise on the Poultry Farm"
1981 Worzel Gummidge (TV series) Sarah Pigswell Series 4 Episode 1 "Muvver's Day"
1982 Doctor Who: Earthshock Briggs (Episodes Two, Three, Four)
1982 Smiley's People Connie Sachs (Episode No. 1.3)
British Academy Television Award for Best Actress
1983 Yellowbeard Lady Lambourn
1983 The Wind in the Willows Ms. Carrington Moss
1983 The Irish R.M. Mrs Knox of Aussolas Castle
1984 Minder Ruby Hubbard Series 5, Episode 4 "The Second Time Around"
1985 The Doctor and the Devils Mrs. Flynn
1985 Bergerac Miss Broome Series 4, Episode 4 "Low Profile"
1985 The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole May Mole (5 episodes)
1987 The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole Grandma Mole (6 episodes)
1987 The Beiderbecke Tapes Sylvia (1 episode)


  1. ^ GRO Register of Births: SEP 1919 6a 720 HEREFORD, Beryl E. Reid mmn=McDonald
  2. ^ Daily Telegraph obituary, also featured in Chin Up Girls! (2005)
  3. ^ GRO Register of Deaths: Oct 1996 B17A 59 Chiltern and South Buckinghamshire, Beryl Elizabeth Reid, DoB 17 June 1919, aged 77.
  4. ^ MEL GUSSOWPublished: 15 October 1996 (15 October 1996). "Beryl Reid, Actress, 76, Dies; Gave Life to Varied Eccentrics". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-06-13.

External links

Alcock and Gander

Alcock and Gander is a British sitcom that aired on ITV in 1972. Starring Beryl Reid and Richard O'Sullivan, it lasted for one series. It was written by Johnnie Mortimer and Brian Cooke, who later

wrote Man About the House, where O'Sullivan was the lead male character. It was made for the ITV network by Thames Television.

Archie's the Boy

Archie's the Boy was a short-lived radio program that aired from November 1954-March 1955. There were twenty half-hour episodes and it was broadcast on BBC Radio Light Programme. It starred Peter Brough, Beryl Reid, Benny Hill, and Graham Starke.

Before the Fringe

Before the Fringe was a BBC television series which ran for two series on BBC2 in 1967.

The first series ran for eight episodes between 30 January and 20 March 1967. The second series of six episodes ran between 18 September and 23 October 1967, under the title More Before the Fringe.

Alan Melville was the guiding light behind this series which attempted to showcase on television some of the best aspects of pre-Before the Fringe revue. Before the 1960s Cambridge Footlights graduates took it by storm, the medium had been a much more gentler, broader affair.

These two series of sketches were made up by performers who had been veterans of such shows. They included:

Alan Melville (all programmes)

Joan Sims (seven programmes)

Ronnie Barker (six programmes)

Dora Bryan (five programmes)

Beryl Reid (four programmes)

Douglas Byng (four programmes)

Hermione Baddeley (four programmes)

Hugh Paddick (three programmes)

Dilys Laye (three programmes)

Hermione Gingold (two programmes)

Cicely Courtneidge (two programmes)

Betty Marsden (two programmes)

Eunice Gayson (two programmes)Various guest stars were featured, including Robert Dorning, Stanley Holloway, Thora Hird, Brenda Bruce, Wilfrid Brambell, Dame Edith Evans, Bud Flanagan, Peter Jones, Patrick Cargill and Barbara Windsor.

Blue Heaven (1994 TV series)

Blue Heaven is a British television sitcom that starred Frank Skinner, Conleth Hill, John Forgeham, Nadim Sawalha and Paula Wilcox. It featured guest stars such as Bill Bailey, Bob Goody, Tamsin Greig, Lucy Davis, Beryl Reid, Philip Glenister and John Thomson.

It first appeared on Channel 4 as a one-off pilot in the series Bunch of Five in 1992, and was followed by one series of six episodes in 1994. It was described by Skinner as "a love-letter to the Black Country".

Born in the Gardens

Born In The Gardens is a comedy play by Bristol-born playwright Peter Nichols.

Nichols wrote the play in 1979, after his now famous drama Privates On Parade was rejected by the Bristol Old Vic for being too controversial. Born In The Gardens was staged in the Theatre Royal (now the Bristol Old Vic) to celebrate its 200th anniversary. The cast for the premiere included Beryl Reid, Peter Bowles, Barry Foster and Jennie Linden and the production transferred to the Globe Theatre in London where it played for nine months. Reid won the Society of West End Theatre Award for Best Comedy Performance. A television version with Constance Chapman replacing Reid was shown in 1986.

The play centres on an elderly Bristolian mother and son living in a crumbling Victorian manor house.

The title comes from a sign in the Polar Bear enclosure in Bristol Zoological gardens and referred to a polar bear called Misha.

It was revived by the Peter Hall Company in 2008, beginning a run at the Theatre Royal, Bath, before embarking on a national tour. Stephanie Cole starred as Maud, and the cast also included Simon Shepherd, Allan Corduner, and Miranda Foster.

Carry On Emmannuelle

Carry On Emmannuelle is the 30th in the series of Carry On films to be made, and was released in November 1978. This was the last Carry On film to be made until Carry On Columbus in 1992. The film was to be the final Carry On for many regulars, including Kenneth Williams (in his 26th Carry On), Kenneth Connor (in his 17th), Joan Sims (in her 24th) and Peter Butterworth (in his 16th). Jack Douglas and Jim Dale are the only regulars from the original run of Carry On films to bridge the gap to Carry On Columbus. Beryl Reid and Suzanne Danielle make their only appearances in the series here. The film featured a change in style, becoming more openly sexual. This was highlighted by the implied behaviour of Danielle's character, though she does not bare any more flesh than any other Carry On female lead. These changes brought the film closer to the then popular series of X-rated Confessions... comedies, or indeed the official Emmanuelle films it parodies. This, and Carry On England, were the only films in the series to be certified AA by the British Board of Film Censors, which restricted audiences to those aged 14 and over.

Didn't You Kill My Brother?

"Didn't You Kill My Brother?" is an episode of The Comic Strip Presents..., a British television comedy. "Didn't You Kill My Brother" premiered on Channel 4 on Saturday 19 March 1988 at 10:50P.M. CBS Records released the theme song, also titled "Didn't You Kill My Brother?" as a single in 1985.

Alexei Sayle plays both Carl and Sterling Moss, gangster twins loosely modelled on the Kray twins. There are cameo appearances by reggae poet Benjamin Zephaniah and Beryl Reid, in the role of the mother of the twins. The episode features a running theme that is an homage to the Italian film Bicycle Thieves. Sayle also performs the "Didn't You Kill My Brother?" song which was released as a single; a music video was also filmed.

Sterling and Carl are in many ways parodies of opposing political positions - opportunistic capitalism and idealistic socialism. The rehabilitated, self-educated Carl is community-focused and wants to build a better world, whereas his unrepentant criminal brother Sterling is simply interested in profit.

Educating Archie

Educating Archie was a BBC Light Programme comedy show which was broadcast for nearly ten years between June 1950 and February 1960, mostly at lunchtime on Sundays. The programme featured ventriloquist Peter Brough and his doll Archie Andrews. The show was very popular, despite its unlikely central premise of a ventriloquist act on radio. Educating Archie averaged 15 million listeners, and a fan club boasted 250,000 members. It was so successful that in 1950, after only four months on the air, it won the Daily Mail's Variety Award.The programme introduced comedians who would go on to become well known, including Tony Hancock as Archie's tutor, who would greet Archie with a weary "Oh, it's you again" and always replied to any put-down from him with "flipping kids". Other "tutors" included Benny Hill, Harry Secombe, Dick Emery, Bernard Bresslaw, Hattie Jacques, and Bruce Forsyth – together with a young Julie Andrews as Archie's girlfriend. Later, Beryl Reid took this role, playing the St Trinian's School-esque Monica with such catchphrases as "jolly hockey sticks" and "as the art mistress said to the gardener". Reid also played young Brummie girl Marleen, whose catchphrase was "Good evening, each".

Max Bygraves later played Archie's tutor, with the catchphrases "I've arrived, and to prove it, I'm here" and "That's a good idea ... son!". The duo recorded two songs from the show on the HMV label: "The Dummy Song" and "Lovely Dollar Lolly".

Father, Dear Father (film)

Father, Dear Father is a 1973 film based on the popular Thames Television sitcom of the same name Father, Dear Father and directed by William G. Stewart.The story is based on episodes from seasons 1 & 2.

Gender Education

"Gender Education" is an episode of the award-winning British comedy television series The Goodies.

This episode is also known as "Sex and Violence".

Written by The Goodies, with songs and music by Bill Oddie.

John Browell

John Logan Browell (29 June 1917 – 19 May 1997 in Watford, Hertfordshire) was a radio producer who worked primarily in BBC Radio.

Born in Poplar, London, Browell's family soon moved to Leeds. During World War II, he was a radio technician in the Royal Air Force (RAF) mainly stationed in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka). Before the war, he worked for Barclays Bank, but on demob chose a career in entertainment. He joined the BBC in London, becoming a senior sound engineer in light entertainment, and from 1954 a producer, initially working on music such as Sing Something Simple.He is best remembered for producing the final two series of The Goon Show (1958–60) and its special edition The Last Goon Show of All (1972). He also produced comedies with Goon Show writer and performer Spike Milligan, including Milligna (or Your Favourite Spike) in 1972. He also worked on long running radio series with, among others, Benny Hill, Frankie Howerd and Beryl Reid.

List of St Trinian's films cast members

A list of actors who have appeared in the St Trinian's School films.

Hermione Baddeley

Dora Bryan

George Cole

Carole Ann Ford

Joyce Grenfell

Irene Handl

Frankie Howerd

Raymond Huntley

Sid James

Peter Jones

John Le Mesurier

Cecil Parker

Beryl Reid

Sabrina (actress)

Terry Scott

Alastair Sim

Joan Sims


Reg Varney

Thorley Walters


Psychomania (a.k.a. The Death Wheelers) is a 1973 British horror-cult film starring Nicky Henson, Beryl Reid, George Sanders (in his final film) and Robert Hardy.

Robert Luff

Robert Charles William Luff, CBE (7 July 1914 – 18 February 2009) was a British theatrical agent and producer. He was most notable for producing the stage version of The Black and White Minstrel Show and being the former agent of Lenny Henry, the Tiller Girls and Beryl Reid. He successfully owned theatres and hotels in Scarborough, Bournemouth, Morecambe and Eastbourne.

Rosie Dixon – Night Nurse

Rosie Dixon – Night Nurse is a 1978 British comedy film directed by Justin Cartwright and starring Debbie Ash, Carolyne Argyle, Beryl Reid and John Le Mesurier. It was based on a novel by Christopher Wood.

A new student nurse arrives at a hospital, attracting interest from the staff with comic consequences. The film was one of several softcore sex comedies released in the 1970s to cash in on the success of the Confessions series (also written by Wood under the pseudonym 'Timothy Lea'). Like the Confessions films it was adapted from a book, the author's credit going to the fictional Rosie herself. Nine Rosie Dixon novels were published, but only the first was adapted into a movie. The character of Penny Sutton – Rosie's best friend in the movie and in the books – was the star of an earlier series of similar novels that depicted Penny as an airline stewardess.

The film stars Debbie Ash, better known as one of the dance troupe Hot Gossip, along with her sister Leslie Ash (later a TV star in her own right) as Rosie's sister Natalie.

Spare a Copper

Spare a Copper is a 1940 British black-and-white musical comedy war film directed by John Paddy Carstairs and starring George Formby, Dorothy Hyson and Bernard Lee. It was produced by Associated Talking Pictures. It is also known as Call a Cop. The film features the songs, "I'm The Ukulele Man", "On The Beat", "I Wish I Was Back On The Farm" and "I'm Shy". Beryl Reid makes her film debut in an uncredited role, while Ronald Shiner appears similarly uncredited, in the role of the Piano Mover and Tuner.Working on the film as associate producer and writer, this production was an early assignment for director Basil Dearden: "it was relatively easy to fit the Formby films into the new demands thrown up by the war: whereas George had typically had to overcome rogues and villains in his 1930s films, these were now simply replaced by spies and saboteurs".

Stephen Boxer

Stephen Boxer (born 19 May 1950) is an English actor who has appeared in films, on television and on stage and is perhaps best known for appearing as Joe in the BBC One daytime soap opera Doctors. He took a break from the show in mid-2008 to appear as Petruchio in the Royal Shakespeare Company production of The Taming of the Shrew, returning to The Mill surgery for a few episodes in November 2010.Boxer has starred in a number of detective dramas, most notably in the second, third and fourth installments of Prime Suspect. On children's television, he was co-presenter of Get Up And Go! with Beryl Reid and its successor programme Mooncat and Co, where he was joined variously by the likes of Pat Coombs, Pam Ayres, Patsy Rowlands and Wilf Lunn. He had a featured role in the BBC docudrama A Royal Scandal. He played Mr Smith in the 2005 adaptation of Tom Brown's Schooldays and Lord Melville in Garrow's Law. He has also featured in episodes of Casualty, Luther, Midsomer Murders, Father Brown, The Honourable Woman and Humans.In 2012, Boxer appeared as Francisco de Aguiar y Seijas in the RSC production of Helen Edmundson's The Heresy of Love. From May to October 2013, he played the title role in the RSC production of Titus Andronicus. From January to July 2014, Boxer played the role of Gloucester in William Shakespeare's King Lear. Between October 2016 to March 2017, he worked with From Software to voice the character and boss enemy Slave Knight Gael in the video game Dark Souls III, specifically its DLC Ashes of Ariandel and The Ringed City. He recently played Captain Rivers in the stage adaptation of Pat Barker's Booker-prize nominated novel Regeneration.

Most recently he can be seen briefly, as The Chairman in the Netflix series finale of Sense8.

The Killing of Sister George (film)

The Killing of Sister George is a 1968 American black comedy film directed by Robert Aldrich based on the 1964 play by Frank Marcus. In the film, an aging lesbian television actress, June "George" Buckridge (Beryl Reid, reprising her role from the stage play), simultaneously faces the loss of her popular television role and the breakdown of her long-term relationship with a younger woman (Susannah York). Although Marcus's play was a black comedy, the film version was marketed as a "shocking drama"; it added explicit lesbian content that was not in the original play, and was presented as a serious treatment of lesbianism.

The Passionate Pilgrim (film)

The Passionate Pilgrim is a 1984 short feature film starring Eric Morecambe, Tom Baker and Madeline Smith notable for being Morecambe's last work, and one of few not to feature his long-term partner Ernie Wise. The film takes the setting of a silent film with narration provided by John Le Mesurier of Dad's Army fame, this too was some of his last work prior to his death in 1983. The film centres on a Lord who lives in a castle (the film was made entirely on location at Hever Castle) and his Lady the latter of which attracts the amorous attentions of the titular character. The plot centres on the pilgrim's failed attempts to gain entry to the castle by any means possible, and the lengths the lord will go to in order to stop him. In one memorable scene once the assailant has gained entry the lord brandishes an aerosol can labelled "Knight-Rid" to stop the pilgrim in his tracks. This film harks back to the era of silent films and is an unusual swansong for the much-missed comedian.

Further filming at Hever was planned May 1984 as filmmaker Charles Wallace intended to expand the film using Beryl Reid to play Eric’s mother, and another damsel in the cast. Morecambe's death ensured that further scenes were not made, but the film was released in its original shorter form. The film was released with the James Bond movie Octopussy and WarGames (see production company website It was later shown on numerous cable TV channels and was released in 1994 on VHS at a time of resurgence in interest in the work of Morecambe and Wise, the BBC having screened a three (late expanded to five) part tribute to mark the tenth anniversary of his death. It has subsequently also been released on DVD and is widely available, more so in fact than the bulk of the duo's hugely successful television series.

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