Guest Actor Biography
Page 61 of 127

   

Penelope Keith

The Murder Market (unbilled)
Nanny Brown, Something Nasty in the Nursery
Audrey Long, Take Me To Your Leader

by Pete Stampede

From today's viewpoint, it does seem a little odd that, according to the media of the mid-to-late 70's, "the most the British seem able to develop in the way of a comedy star," as Leslie Halliwell complained in the foreword to his Television Companion, "seems to be the much lauded but very limited Penelope Keith." The darling of the middle classes, after playing the impossibly haughty Margo in The Good Life (with Paul Eddington), she got a similar role in To The Manor Born (BBC, 1979-81, with Peter Bowles), which attained incredibly high ratings at the time, a feat not equalled by Sweet Sixteen (BBC, 1983) or No Job for a Lady (Thames, 1990-92). A recent BBC history of sitcoms, Laughter in the House, amusingly pointed up the similarities between her characters and Margaret Thatcher. Keith has not had a hit series for almost a decade, and largely does voiceovers today (luckily, we don't see much of Thatcher these days, either). Keith was born 2 April 1940 as Penelope Hatfield in Sutton, Surrey, England.

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