Gwen Taylor

Gwen Taylor (born 19 February 1939)[1] is an English actress who has appeared in many British television programmes. She is known for her roles as Amy Pearce in the sitcom Duty Free (1984–86); Barbara Liversidge in the sitcom Barbara (1999–2003); Peggy Armstrong in the drama series Heartbeat (2005–09), and Anne Foster in the soap opera Coronation Street (2011–12). She was nominated for the 1990 BAFTA TV Award for Best Actress for her role as Rita Simcock in the comedy series A Bit of a Do (1989). Her film appearances include Monty Python's Life of Brian (1979) and The Lady in the Van (2015).

Gwen Taylor
Born (1939-02-19) 19 February 1939
Derby, England
Years active1972–present
Graham Reid (m. 1996)


Taylor was born in Crich, Derbyshire. Her initial career was in banking, but when she was an assistant area manager for the National Provincial Bank in Derby she became increasingly interested in amateur dramatics. Her first professional acting role was as a Green Bean in 'Jack and the Beanstalk' at the Derby Playhouse.

Gwen Taylor trained at East 15 Acting School, London. She played Pamela Dean, the sister of the murder victim Victor Dean, in Murder Must Advertise (1973). In 1975 she played the role of Jack Regan’s girlfriend, a probation officer named Anne Knightley in fourth episode of the second series of the British police drama, The Sweeney: episode Big Brother.

Later in the 1970s, she was one of the regulars on Eric Idle's Rutland Weekend Television. She also appeared in other Monty Python spin-offs such as The Life of Brian and Ripping Yarns, and as Chastity and Mrs. Mountbatten in the Beatles parody All You Need Is Cash. On the film's DVD commentary Eric Idle described her as 'the best comedy actress I ever worked with. She could do anything'. However, she turned down a role in The Meaning of Life as she thought that being covered in intestines as a man exploded in a restaurant would be "tasteless".

In 1990 she was nominated for a BAFTA as Best Actress for her role in A Bit of a Do opposite Sir David Jason. Between 2005 and 2009 she played the role of Peggy Armstrong in the drama Heartbeat. In July 2011 it was announced that Gwen Taylor would be joining the cast of Coronation Street, playing Anne, the mother of Frank Foster.[1] She departed the series after her character was revealed as the killer of her rapist son on 19 March 2012. In November 2012 she appeared with Don Warrington in the stage version of Driving Miss Daisy on a UK-wide tour.

Taylor played various roles in Tracey Ullman's Show on the BBC in 2016 and 2017, and played Lillian in an episode of the Sky 1 sitcom Trollied in 2018.

Personal life

Taylor is married to the playwright Graham Reid, married in 1996. They live in London.[2] She was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014 but has since recovered.[3]

Selected filmography

1979Monty Python's Life of BrianMrs. Big Nose/Woman with sick donkey/Young Girl
1980Richard's ThingsMargaret
2015The Lady in the VanMam
2017Small Town KillersMiss NippleworthyOriginal Denmark title: Dræberne fra Nibe
2017Another Mother's SonLily Vibert
1973Play for Today: Land of Green GingerSally Brown
1973Murder Must AdvertisePamela DeanMiniseries (2 episodes)
1974John Halifax, GentlemanUrsula MarchMiniseries (5 episodes)
1975The Nearly ManDorothy Hibbert
1976Within These WallsMiss White
1979Ripping YarnsEileen OttershawBBC sitcom (1 episode)
1980Sounding BrassCynthia Wildgoose
1981Only When I LaughVictoria PlumtreeITV sitcom (1 episode)
1984Play for Today: A Coming to Terms for BillyMavis Martin
1984–86Duty FreeAmy PearceITV sitcom (22 episodes)
1988Yes, Prime MinisterAgnes MoorhouseBBC sitcom (1 episode)
1989A Bit of a DoRita SimcockBAFTA TV Award nomination (13 episodes)
1989Sob SistersLiz
1991The Sharp EndCelia Forrest
1993Conjugal RitesGen MasefieldITV sitcom (13 episodes)
1997A Perfect StateLaura Fitzgerald
1997Pilgrim's RestTilly
1995, 1999–2003BarbaraBarbara LiversidgeITV sitcom (29 episodes)
2002Midsomer MurdersFrances LeBonEpisode "Ring Out Your Dead"
2003Born and BredDora BrisleyBritish comedy drama (2 episodes)
2009Doc MartinMrs SelkirkEpisode "The Departed"
2005–10HeartbeatPeggy ArmstrongITV drama (98 episodes)
2011–12Coronation StreetAnne FosterITV soap opera (47 episodes)
2016–17Tracey Ullman's ShowVariousBBC Comedy sketch show (6 episodes)
2018TrolliedLillianSky 1 sitcom (1 episode)


  1. "Actress Gwen shows naked ambition at 72 as she lands a role in Corrie". Derby Telegraph. 21 July 2011. Archived from the original on 1 October 2012. Retrieved 27 September 2011.
  2. "Gwen Taylor: Me & my money". This is Money. 24 January 2007. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
  3. Fieldhouse, Christine (12 May 2015). "Gwen Taylor reveals she was lucky to have her early cancer diagnosis | Life & Style". Daily Express. Retrieved 26 February 2018.
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