Denise Coffey

Denise Coffey (born 12 December 1936) is an English actress, director and playwright.

Denise Coffey
Born (1936-12-12) 12 December 1936
ResidenceDevon, England
OccupationActress, director, playwright

Coffey was born in Aldershot. After training at the Glasgow College of Dramatic Art,[1] she began a career in repertory at the Gateway Theatre in Edinburgh, then moved to the Palladium Theatre there. She later worked for the BBC as a radio interviewer before appearing in London's West End. In the 1970s she was a member of director Frank Dunlop's repertory company in London's Young Vic Theatre, appearing in several productions and beginning her career as a playwright with some children's shows.

Coffey has had a few supporting film roles: Sidonia in Waltz of the Toreadors (1962), Peg in Georgy Girl (1966), Soberness in Far from the Madding Crowd (1967), and Mrs E. in Vivian Stanshall's Sir Henry at Rawlinson End (1980). Her television appearances include Do Not Adjust Your Set, the Stanley Baxter series (1968, 1971), Girls About Town (1970–71), Hold the Front Page (1974; which she also created), End of Part One (1979) and The Adventure Game (1980).

Coffey played the role of Librarian "Jenny" in the BBC Schools 10 episode "Look and Read" series "Dark Towers". The availability of this series on the internet continues to make Coffey well known among Primary School age children.

She always refused to appear in commercials declaring that it was reprehensible to try to persuade people to buy things they didn't need.

On radio, Coffey featured in The Wordsmiths at Gorsemere, in the first series of The Burkiss Way and in The Next Programme Follows Almost Immediately and has made guest appearances on several programmes, including I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue and Just a Minute. She starred with Miriam Margolyes in two series of Alison and Maud (2002–4). She was also a regular panelist on The Law Game.

She has also enjoyed success as a theatre director, including several notable productions at the Shaw Festival in Canada, such as Noël Coward's Private Lives and Shaw's Androcles and the Lion and Pygmalion.

She lives in Devon where she has a successful career as an artist.


  1. Brian MacFarlane (ed) The Encyclopedia of British Film, London: Methuen, 2003, p.128. The source gives the Glasgow College of Drama, but the names appear to be interchangeable.

Selected filmography

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