Michele Dotrice

Last updated

Michele Dotrice
Born (1948-09-27) 27 September 1948 (age 70)
Years active1960–present
Spouse(s) Edward Woodward
(1987–2009; his death)
Parent(s) Roy Dotrice
Kay Newman
Relatives Karen Dotrice (sister)

Michele Dotrice (born 27 September 1948) is an English actress, best known for her portrayal of Betty Spencer, the long-suffering wife of Frank Spencer, played by Michael Crawford, in the BBC sitcom Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em , which ran from 1973 to 1978, and returned in 2016 for a special.

Michael Crawford English actor and singer

Michael Patrick Smith,, known by the professional stage name of Michael Crawford, is an English actor, comedian, singer, voice artist and philanthropist.

The British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters are at Broadcasting House in Westminster, London, and it is the world's oldest national broadcasting organisation and the largest broadcaster in the world by number of employees. It employs over 20,950 staff in total, 16,672 of whom are in public sector broadcasting. The total number of staff is 35,402 when part-time, flexible, and fixed-contract staff are included.

A sitcom, clipping for situational comedy, is a genre of comedy centered on a fixed set of characters who carry over from episode to episode. Sitcoms can be contrasted with sketch comedy, where a troupe may use new characters in each sketch, and stand-up comedy, where a comedian tells jokes and stories to an audience. Sitcoms originated in radio, but today are found mostly on television as one of its dominant narrative forms. This form can also include mockumentaries.



Her first significant role was in the 1962 13-part BBC TV adaptation of The Old Curiosity Shop in which she played Nell, [1] and she appeared in The Witches for Hammer Films in 1966. In 1970 she had starring roles in the horror thrillers And Soon the Darkness (1970) [2] and The Blood on Satan's Claw (1970). [3] Her other film appearances include Jane Eyre (1970) with George C. Scott [4] and the 1976 comedy Not Now, Comrade . [5]

<i>The Old Curiosity Shop</i> weekly serial; novel by Charles Dickens; published 1840–1841

The Old Curiosity Shop is one of two novels which Charles Dickens published along with short stories in his weekly serial Master Humphrey's Clock, from 1840 to 1841. It was so popular that New York readers stormed the wharf when the ship bearing the final installment arrived in 1841. The Old Curiosity Shop was printed in book form in 1841.

<i>The Witches</i> (1966 film) 1966 film by Cyril Frankel

The Witches is a 1966 British horror film made by Hammer Films. It was adapted by Nigel Kneale from the novel The Devil's Own by Norah Lofts, published under the pseudonym Peter Curtis. It was directed by Cyril Frankel and starred Joan Fontaine, Alec McCowen, Kay Walsh, Ann Bell, Ingrid Boulting and Gwen Ffrangcon Davies.

Hammer Film Productions

Hammer Film Productions is a British film production company based in London. Founded in 1934, the company is best known for a series of gothic horror films made from the mid-1950s until the 1970s. Many of these involved classic horror characters such as Baron Frankenstein, Count Dracula, and The Mummy, which Hammer re-introduced to audiences by filming them in vivid colour for the first time. Hammer also produced science fiction, thrillers, film noir and comedies, as well as, in later years, television series. During their most successful years, Hammer dominated the horror film market, enjoying worldwide distribution and considerable financial success. This success was, in part, due to their partnerships with several major American studios, notably Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, Columbia Pictures, 20th Century Fox, American International Pictures and Seven Arts Productions.

It was her appearance in Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em that made her a household name, and she played the role for five years from 1973. [6] [7] [8] In February 2016 the BBC announced that she would be reprising the role in a one-off special, to be broadcast as part of the Sport Relief charity fundraiser event. [9]

<i>Some Mothers Do Ave Em</i> television series

Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em is a British sitcom created and written by Raymond Allen and starring Michael Crawford and Michele Dotrice. It was first broadcast in 1973 and ran for three series, ending in 1978, and returning in 2016 for a one-off special. The series follows the accident-prone Frank Spencer and his tolerant wife, Betty, through Frank's various attempts to hold down a job, which frequently end in disaster. The sitcom was filmed in and around Herne Bay, Sheerness in Kent, the town of Bedford in Bedfordshire. It was noted for its stuntwork, performed by Crawford himself, as well as featuring various well-remembered and much lampooned catchphrases, that have become part of popular culture. In a 2004 poll to find Britain's Best Sitcom, Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em came 22nd.

<i>Sport Relief</i>

Sport Relief is a biennial charity event from Comic Relief, in association with BBC Sport, which brings together the worlds of sport and entertainment to raise money to help vulnerable people in both the UK and the world's poorest countries. At the heart of the campaign is the "Sport Relief Mile", which involves members of the public doing their bit for charity.

She played Lady Percy in the BBC’s Henry IV parts 1 and 2 in 1979.

In 1981 she took the leading role in the short-lived sitcom Chintz, which aired on ITV. [10] In the mid-1990s she appeared for several episodes in the period drama Bramwell . She appeared in the film Captain Jack (1999) with Bob Hoskins. She has made numerous guest appearances in well-known British television series, including Midsomer Murders (1 episode, 1998), Holby City (1 episode, 2002), Murder in Suburbia (as Cindy in Episode 6, Season 2, 2005), and the BBC daytime soap opera Doctors (1 episode, 2008). In addition, she made several appearances in a 2004 Nottingham-set BBC comedy-drama entitled 'A Thing Called Love', which starred Paul Nicholls and Roy Barraclough among others.

Bramwell is a British television series starring Jemma Redgrave as Dr. Eleanor Bramwell, a woman challenging the domination of men in the medical establishment, who runs a free hospital for the poor in the East End of London, during the late Victorian era. The series was produced by Whitby Davison Productions in association with Carlton Television, and was shown on ITV 22 May 1995 to 18 June 1998, in a total of four series.

Captain Jack is a 1999 direct-to-video British comedy film produced by John Goldschmidt and written by Jack Rosenthal. The cast includes Bob Hoskins, Sadie Frost, Gemma Jones, Anna Massey, Peter McDonald, Maureen Lipman and Michele Dotrice. The film was produced by Goldschmidt's own company Viva Films Ltd. and was distributed on video by Koch Vision.

Bob Hoskins English actor

Robert William Hoskins was an English actor. His work included lead roles in Pennies from Heaven (1978), The Long Good Friday (1980), Mona Lisa (1986), Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), Mermaids (1990), and Super Mario Bros. (1993), and supporting performances in Brazil (1985), Hook (1991), Nixon (1995), Enemy at the Gates (2001), Mrs. Henderson Presents (2005), A Christmas Carol (2009), Made in Dagenham (2010), and Snow White and the Huntsman (2012). He also directed two feature films.

In 2012 she toured in an adapted version of The Ladykillers , playing the role of Mrs Wilberforce. [11] In 2014, she played Pam Chandler, a suspected murderer, in the last episode of series three of Death in Paradise . [12] In 2015, she played Marion, mother to Christine in the Inside No. 9 episode The 12 Days of Christine . [13] In 2016, she played Nancy, the faithful dresser and woman of all work to the main character, in the West End production of Nell Gwynn. [14] In 2017 she played Jessie in the stage musical The Girls at the Phoenix Theatre in the West End. [15]

<i>The Ladykillers</i> 1955 crime comedy film directed by Alexander Mackendrick

The Ladykillers is a 1955 British black comedy crime film directed by Alexander Mackendrick for Ealing Studios. It stars Alec Guinness, Cecil Parker, Herbert Lom, Peter Sellers, Danny Green, Jack Warner and Katie Johnson as the old lady; Mrs. Wilberforce. William Rose wrote the screenplay, for which he was nominated for an Academy Award for Writing Original Screenplay and won the BAFTA Award for Best British Screenplay. He claimed to have dreamt the entire film and merely had to remember the details when he awoke.

<i>Death in Paradise</i> (TV series) television series

Death in Paradise is a British-French crime drama television series created by Robert Thorogood, starring Ben Miller, Kris Marshall and Ardal O'Hanlon. The programme is a joint UK and French production filmed on the French Caribbean island of Guadeloupe and broadcast on BBC One in the United Kingdom and France 2 in France. Death in Paradise has enjoyed high ratings, leading to repeated renewals. An eighth series began broadcasting on 10 January 2019. A ninth and tenth series were announced at the conclusion of series eight on 28 February 2019.

<i>Inside No. 9</i> British dark comedy anthology television program

Inside No. 9 is a British dark comedy anthology television programme that first aired in 2014. It is written by Reece Shearsmith and Steve Pemberton and produced by the BBC. Each 30-minute episode is a self-contained story with new characters and a new setting, and all star at least one of Pemberton and Shearsmith. Aside from the writers, each episode has a new cast, allowing Inside No. 9 to attract a number of well-known actors. The stories are linked only by the number 9 in some way and a brass hare statue that is in the background of all episodes. Settings include a suburban house, a gothic mansion and a barn. Pemberton and Shearsmith took inspiration for Inside No. 9 from an episode of Psychoville, a previous project, which was filmed in a single room. This episode was, in turn, inspired by Alfred Hitchcock's Rope. Inside No. 9 was also a reaction to Psychoville, which featured a long overarching story realised over multiple series.

In 2018 she returned to television playing Edna Friendship in A Very English Scandal .

<i>A Very English Scandal</i> (TV series) British three-part television miniseries

A Very English Scandal is a fact-based three-part British television comedy-drama miniseries based on John Preston's book of the same name. The series premiered on BBC One on 20 May 2018 and on Amazon Prime on 29 June 2018. It is a dramatisation of the 1976–1979 Jeremy Thorpe scandal and the more than 15 years of events leading up to it.

Personal life

Her father was the actor Roy Dotrice (d. 2017), her mother Kay Dotrice (d. 2007) was an actress. She has two sisters, Karen Dotrice and Yvette Dotrice, who also followed their parents' footsteps into acting.

Dotrice was married to actor Edward Woodward from January 1987 until his death in November 2009. [16] They have a daughter named Emily Beth.


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  2. And Soon the Darkness tcm.com, retrieved 15 October 2017
  3. The Blood on Satan's Claw tcm.com, retrieved 15 October 2017
  4. Jane Eyre tcm.com, retrieved 15 October 2017
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  7. Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em bbc.co.uk, retrieved 15 October 2017
  8. Lewis, Roz. "Where are they now... ? 'Some Mothers Do ’Ave' ’Em actress Michele Dotrice" Express, 22 October 2016
  9. "Michael Crawford to reprise Frank Spencer for Sport Relief". BBC News. 17 February 2016.
  10. Chintz comedy.co.uk, retrieved 15 October 2017
  11. Paton, Maureen. "I'm the luckiest lady alive says Michele Dotrice" Express, 22 October 2012
  12. " 'Death in Paradise', Episode 8" bbc.co.uk, retrieved 15, 2017
  13. "The 12 Days of Christine". BBC. Retrieved 15 October 2017.
  14. Billington, Michael. " 'Nell Gwynn' review – Gemma Arterton sparkles in chaotic comedy" The Guardian, 12 February 2016
  15. Shenton, Mark. " 'The Girls', Musical by Gary Barlow and Tim Firth, to Premiere in West End" Playbill, 16 September 2016
  16. Equalizer Star Dies Archived 1 March 2010 at the Wayback Machine