Betty Julia Hymans
23 May 1912
|Died||26 July 2005 93) (aged|
Guernsey, Channel Islands, UK
|Spouse(s)||Cyril Fletcher (18 May 1941 – 1 January 2005; his death); 1 child|
Betty Astell (23 May 1912 – 26 July 2005), born Betty Julia Hymans, was an English actress, best known for comedy and pantomime productions on stage, screen, and radio with her husband, Cyril Fletcher. She was one of the first performers to appear on television, in experimental broadcasts by the BBC in 1932.
Betty Julia Hymans was born in Brondesbury, Willesden, Middlesex,  the daughter of Herbert Hyams and Estella Oppenheimer Hyams. 
Astell was a child performer, trained as a dancer.  She sang on BBC Radio programmes in the 1920s, and met her husband while making recordings for radio in Bristol during World War II.  In 1956 and 1957, they played a married couple in a radio comedy, Mixed Doubles, written by Bob Monkhouse and Denis Goodwin. 
In 1931 and 1932, Astell sang and danced in John Logie Baird's experimental television programming, on the BBC's 30-line shows,  making her one of the first people to perform on television. That same year, she played Alice in Dick Whittington, the first televised pantomime.  She starred with her husband on an early sketch show for television, Kaleidoscope (1949), and on his eponymous television series, The Cyril Fletcher Show, on ITV beginning in 1959. 
Astell's made her London stage debut in John Galsworthy's Escape (1928). She performed in revues through the 1940s, including Magic Carpet (1943) and Keep Going (1944). 
Astell first appeared in film in 1932, in A Tight Corner with Frank Pettingell. She stayed active in film through the 1930s, appearing in two dozen films. In 1942, the Fletchers were familiar enough to a wide audience to make a wartime newsreel clip together, honouring farmers.  Her last film role came in 1948, when she returned to the screen in A Piece of Cake, co-starring with her husband.  
Astell also wrote and produced pantomimes at the Ashcroft Theatre in Croydon, including Dick Whittington, Mother Goose, Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and Aladdin.   
Astell was married to entertainer Cyril Fletcher for more than 60 years, from 18 May 1941 until his death on 1 January 2005. They had a daughter, actress/comedian Jill Fletcher, born in 1945.   Astell died in a hospital near her home in Guernsey, aged 93 years, nearly seven months after the death of her husband. 
|1932||A Tight Corner||Unknown role|
|1933||The Lost Chord||Madge|
|1933||Cleaning Up||Marian Brent|
|1933||Great Stuff||Vera Montgomery|
|1933||This is the Life||Edna Wynne|
|1933||The Medicine Man||Patient|
|1933||That's My Wife||Lillian Harbottle|
|1933||Strike It Rich||Janet Wells|
|1933||I'll Stick to You||Pauline Mason|
|1934||On the Air||Betty|
|1934||Flat Number Three||Trixie|
|1934||The Man I Want||Prue Darrell|
|1934||The Life of the Party||Blanche Hopkins|
|1934||Josser on the Farm||Betty|
|1935||That's My Uncle||Maudie|
|1935||Strictly Illegal||Mrs. Bill|
|1936||A Wife or Two||Mary Hamilton|
|1936||The Vandergilt Diamond Mystery||Mary|
|1936||Jack of All Trades||Dancer|
|1936||Sunshine Ahead||The Girl|
|1937||Behind Your Back||Gwen Bingham|
|1939||The Mind of Mr. Reeder||Gwen Bingham|
|1948||A Piece of Cake||Betty Clarke|
|1959||The Cyril Fletcher Show||6 episodes|
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