Glynis Barber

Glynis Barber (born Glynis van der Riet;[1] 25 October 1955) is a South African actress. She is best known for her portrayals of Sgt. Harriet Makepeace in the British police drama Dempsey and Makepeace, Glenda Mitchell in EastEnders, DCI Grace Barraclough in Emmerdale, Fiona Brake in Night and Day, and Soolin in Blake's 7.

Glynis Barber
Glynis van der Riet

(1955-10-25) 25 October 1955
Durban, South Africa
Years active1978–present
Paul Antony-Barber
(m. 1976; div. 1979)

Michael Brandon
(m. 1989)

Early life

Barber was born in Durban, South Africa, the daughter of Heather Maureen (Robb) and Frederick Werndly Barry van der Riet.[2]

Acting career


Barber studied at the Mountview Academy of Theatre Arts. Acting since 1978, her breakthrough came in 1981 with her role as Soolin in the BBC science fiction television series Blake's 7.

In 1982 she took the title role in the television series Jane playing a Second World War heroine. This series was filmed against a blue screen allowing for the addition of a cartoon background, an experimental technique in its day. However, Barber is best known for her mid-1980s role of Sgt. Harriet Makepeace in the British police drama Dempsey and Makepeace, where she met her future husband, Michael Brandon.

Since 1987, Barber has appeared frequently in plays, films and television series. She also starred in the LWT drama series Night and Day as Fiona Brake. In 2006 she joined the cast of ITV soap, Emmerdale, playing the character of DCI Grace Barraclough, investigating the death of Tom King on Christmas Day. She exited the soap in September 2007, when her character was killed. In 2009, she appeared as hospital administrator Jean McAteer in The Royal, another ITV drama series set in Yorkshire.[1] In the same year she and Brandon both appeared in an episode of the BBC series New Tricks, entitled "The Truth Is Out There".[3]

On 23 October 2009, it was announced she would play Glenda Mitchell the mother of Ronnie Mitchell, Roxy Mitchell and Danny Mitchell in EastEnders after Jill Gascoine withdrew from the role during her first day on set.[4] On 27 February 2011, it was announced that Barber was to leave EastEnders in March 2011. In February 2015, Barber admitted that she would consider an EastEnders comeback. The star commented: "I’ve always felt that Glenda left with a few unresolved issues. It would be fun to go back and create a little bit of havoc!". Glenda returned for two episodes on 1 January 2016.[5] Barber returned to EastEnders full-time in January 2017 before leaving once again in February.[6]

In September 2013 she appeared in the ITV dancing show Stepping Out with husband Michael Brandon.

In August 2019 Barber narrated When Luxury Holidays Go Wrong on C5.

In August 2019 Barber appeared in tv show The Outpost.


Her stage work has included Macbeth, Killing Time with Dennis Waterman, High Flyers with Hugh Grant, Make Me a Match and The Graduate. In 2011 Barber starred alongside Christopher Timothy and Denis Lill in Alan Ayckbourn's Seasons Greetings playing Belinda. In 2013 she plays impulsive and rebellious Melissa Gardner in Love Letters at Dundee Repertory Theatre along with Michael Brandon. Barber played Carole King's mother, Genie Klein, in the West End production of 'Beautiful - The Carole King Musical' from opening at The Aldwych Theatre on 24 February 2015 until 28 November 2015


Her early film roles included the horror film Terror, and the football drama Yesterday's Hero starring Ian McShane. She appeared as Lady Caroline in Michael Winner's 1983 remake of The Wicked Lady, which starred Faye Dunaway. In 1989 she appeared as Elisabeth Jekyll in Edge of Sanity, and the 1997 film Déjà Vu alongside Vanessa Redgrave. More recently she has appeared as Anthea Davis in On the Nose in 2001 along with Dan Aykroyd and Robbie Coltrane.

Personal life

Barber married actor Paul Antony-Barber, whom she met at drama school, in 1976. They were divorced in 1979.[7]

In the course of Blake's 7 filming, she had a relationship with co-star Steven Pacey.[8]

Barber married her Dempsey and Makepeace co-star Michael Brandon on 18 November 1989; the couple have a son.[7]

Selected filmography


  1. "The Official Website of Actress Glynis Barber". Retrieved 2018-09-06.
  2. "Glynis Barber Biography (1955-)". Retrieved 2018-09-06.
  3. "New Tricks - S6 - Episode 2: The Truth Is Out There". Radio Times. Retrieved 25 October 2018.
  4. Green, Kris (23 October 2009). "'EastEnders' recasts Glenda Mitchell". Digital Spy. Retrieved 23 October 2009.
  5. "01/01/2016 Part 2, EastEnders - BBC One". BBC. Retrieved 2018-09-06.
  6. "Jack Branning is staying in EastEnders after all - and so is Glenda Mitchell". Metro. 2017-01-20. Retrieved 2018-09-06.
  7. "Biography" Official website
  8. Lina Das (23 October 2003). "Why should I strip?". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 7 September 2018.
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