Noel Dyson

Elsie Noël Dyson (23 December 1916 – 29 June 1995) was an English character actress[1]

Noël Dyson
Noel Dyson as Ida Barlow in Coronation Street
Elsie Noël Dyson

(1916-12-23)23 December 1916
Died29 June 1995(1995-06-29) (aged 78)
Years active1938 1995
TelevisionCoronation Street
Spouse(s)Kenneth Edwards
Harry Judge

Dyson appeared in a number of stage and films (including telemovies) but is best remembered as a versatile television character actress in serials who became a familiar face to British viewers in a career spanning almost 50 years from 1949 until her death. Dyson's best remembered roles are as matriarch Ida Barlow, one of the original characters in the long-running soap opera Coronation Street (1960–61), and Nanny in the sitcom Father, Dear Father (1968–73).

Early life and career

Dyson was born into a wealthy Manchester family (she was given the middle name Noel because she was born two days before Christmas), and was educated at the prestigious Roedean School in Brighton. Following a period at a finishing school in Paris, she enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London from which she graduated in 1938. Initially she performed in repertory companies around Britain, in Birmingham, Oxford and Windsor and elsewhere, before moving on to London's West End.

During the Second World War Dyson temporarily ceased acting to become a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse. She returned to the acting profession, initially mainly in stage productions, then from the late 1940s started to become involved with television productions. Dyson's first known TV credit came in a 1948 BBC production The Guinea Pig, and for the next decade or so she would appear, mainly in one-off supporting roles, in a number of TV programmes as well as a handful of films. Her most significant roles in this period included seven appearances in the series The Vise (first broadcast in the U.S. between October 1954 and December 1955, but not shown on TV in the UK until 1957-59) and a BBC adaptation of The Secret Garden in 1960.

Coronation Street

In 1960 Dyson was cast in the role of Ida Barlow in the newly commissioned Coronation Street set in a fictional working class district (Weatherfield) of Salford. Ida was married to Frank Barlow, a postman, and had two sons, Ken and David. She was written as a calm-natured, placid character who frequently had to act as mediator between her hot-headed husband and Ken, whose upwardly-mobile aspirations were seen by Frank as a rejection of his family background.

The initial commission for Coronation Street ran to 13 episodes. The first episode was transmitted on 9 December 1960 and was panned by TV critics, who predicted a short-lived ignominious fate for the programme. However the series became an instant hit with viewers. By March 1961 Coronation Street was topping the British TV ratings with an estimated 75% of all television-owning households in the UK tuning in, and it was decided to extend its run indefinitely. This proved to be a problem for Dyson, who had only envisaged a limited commitment to the programme. Coronation Street was produced in Manchester by Granada TV while Dyson's home and family were now in London, and she did not feel able to commit to ongoing lengthy absences, so when her contract came up for renewal she declined to sign. The programme's producers decided that rather than replacing Dyson with another actress, which they felt would be unpopular with viewers, Ida would be the first regular character to die. No death scene was filmed, but in the episode of 6 September 1961 it was announced that Ida had been knocked down and killed by a bus.

Later career

During the 1960s Dyson continued to appear regularly on TV, but was cast in either one-off productions for strands such as the BBC's The Wednesday Play and ITV's Play of the Week or supporting roles in popular shows such as Z-Cars, Dixon of Dock Green and The Likely Lads. However she took the role of Nanny in the Thames Television sitcom Father, Dear Father which ran for seven series between 1968 and 1973 and also spawned a spin-off film in 1973. Her only other long-running TV role came as the long-suffering wife of Arthur Lowe in the sitcom Potter between 1979 and 1983 but she continued to make cameo appearances in many top-rated shows such as Me and My Girl, London's Burning, Bergerac, Prime Suspect and Casualty until shortly before her death. She also appeared as John Hurt's mother in the 1983 film Champions.[2] Her last credit was an episode of Heartbeat, broadcast posthumously in September 1995.

Private life and death

Dyson was married twice, to actor Kenneth Edwards and Major. Harry Judge (died 2003).[3] She died of cancer on 29 June 1995, aged 78.[4]


1985|| Summer Season (TV series) || Mrs. Nesbit

Year Title Role
1949The Guinea Pig (TV movie)Mrs Read
1950Chance of a LifetimeTea Lady
1951The ConcertMiss Vesey
1952Emil and the Detectives (TV series)Mrs Tichburn
1952Huckleberry Finn (TV series)Aunt Polly
1953Stranger in the House (TV series)Mrs Benfield
1953Seven WomanMrs Tovey
1954Eight O'Clock WalkGallery Regular
1954Bless this House (TV movie)Mrs Bevan
1954The Gay DogLecturer
1955Patrol Car (TV series)Cora
1955The Women on the Beach (TV movie)Madame Suzette
1956A Girl Called Jo (TV movie)Mrs March
1956Non de Plume (TV series)Queen of Bavaria
1956Adventure Theatre (TV series)
1956Tomorrow May Be Fine (TV movie)Anne Wright
1956Bill Radford: Reporter (TV series)Mrs Barry
1956Joan and Leslie (TV series)Mrs Henshaw
1957The Lonely House (film short)
1957Dick and the Duchess (TV series)Pamela Culberson
1958ITV Television Playhouse (TV series)Meg Cooper
1958Private Investigator (TV series)Mrs Landon
1958The Voyagers (TV movie)Meg Cooper
1959Three Crooked Manunknown role.
1959Emergency - Ward 10Mrs Haines
1959The Gay Dog (TV movie)Maggie Gay
1951-1959BBC Sunday Night Theatre (TV series)2 roles
-Mrs. Ellis
1959Probation Officer (TV series)Mrs West
1959The Young Lady From London (TV miniseries)Pamela Hamilton-Huntley
1957-1959The Vise (TV series)7 roles
-Emma Pine
-Mrs Mayes-
-Princess Dariana
Mrs Watson
1959Please Turn OverMrs Brent
1960The Secret Garden (TV series)Mrs Sowerby
1960Carry On ConstableVague Woman
1960Man from Interpol (TV series)2 role-
Countess Salon-
1960Annual Outing (TV movie)Maud Higgins
1960Saturday PlayhouseMiss Minney, Maud Higgins
1961Coronation StreetIda Barlow
1961Jacks and Knaves (TV series)Alice Hitchins
1961The Middle CourseMaria Gerard
1962The Silent InvasionMM Veroux
1962Studio 4 (TV series)Dorrie Robinson
1962Z-Cars (TV series)Elsie Heskeith
1962No Hiding PlaceLandlady
1962-1963BBC Sunday Night Play (TV series)3 roles-
-Mrs Peck
-Alice Preston
Mrs Woodbridge
1963The Odd Man (TV series)Mother Eve
1963Gutter GirlsMuriel Donahue
1963Carry on CabbyDistrict Nurse
1962-1964Compact (TV series)Mrs Jean Henderson
1964First Night (TV series)]]Gracie
1964The Villians (TV series)Flo
1964Taxi (TV series)Sandra's mum
1964-1965Thursday Theatre2 roles
-Annie Parker
-Rhoda Lucas
1965Gidion C.I.D (TV series)Mrs Lane
1965Londoners (TV series)Vesta Bardell
1965Comedy Playhouse (TV series)
1965Jury Room (TV series)Mrs Whiteside - The Juror
1965Dixon of Dock Green (serial)Mrs Egan
1965Theatre 625Emma Moxen
1959-1966ITV Play of the Week6 roles
-Laura Priolleau
-Mrs. Tartleton
-Mrs Phillips
1966The Likely Lads (TV series)Mrs Perrin
1966Press for TimeMrs Corcoran
1965-1966Meet the Wife (TV series)Cousin Olive
1967Turn Out The Lights (TV series)Mrs. Wennington
1967The Newcomers (TV series)Mrs Wilberforce
1967Mister Ten Per CentMrs Gorman
1964-1968Sergeant Cork (TV series)2 roles
-Mrs. Bellamy
-Mrs. Stebens
1968Softly, Softly (TV series)Anne Anderson
1968The First Lady (TV series)Betty Haynes
1968Scene (documentary)
1968ITV Playhouse (TV series)Clara Dixon
1969Hark at Barker (TV series)
1969Fraud Squad (TV series)
1969The Wednesday PlayMrs. Dyson
1969All Star Comedy Carnival (TV movie)Nanny
1970The Main Chance (TV series)Janet Harrison
1970Play for Today (TV series)Jane Budd
1971The Ronnie Barker Yearbook (TV movie)Various Characters
1971Persuasion (TV miniseries)Mrs. Musgrove
1972Thirty Minute Theatre (TV series)2 roles
-Mrs. Proctor
-Mrs. Trant
1968-1973Father Dear Father (TV series)Nanny
1974Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads (TV series)Mrs. Chambers
1974Late Night DramaKitty
1976...and Mother Makes Five (TV series)Auntie Betty
1976The Molly Wopsies (TV series)Mrs. James
1977Jackanary Playhouse (TV series)Miss. Jordan
1977Second City Firsts (TV series)Patricia
1978An Englishman's Castle (TV miniseries)Mrs. Worth
1979Secret Orchards (TV movie)Netta Ackerley
1979BBC2 Playhouse (TV series)Mrs. Fly
1979-1983Potter (TV series)Aileen Potter
1983Partners in Crime (miniseries)Mrs. Kingston Bruce
1984Love and Marriage (TV series)Mrs. Rodgers
1984ChampionsMrs Champion
1972-1985The Two Ronnies4 roles
-Jacks wife
-Rose Spooner
-Woman with Dog
Mrs. Thompson
1986The Practice (TV series)Ada Fielding
1986The Life and Loves of a She-Devil (TV miniseries)Brenda
1987Me and My Girl (TV series)Winifred Spalding
1986-1987All in Good Faith (TV series)Barbara Lambe
1987C.A.T.S. Eyes (TV series)Old Lady
1987Rainbow (TV series)Mrs. Smith
1988London's Burning (TV series)Mrs. Sims
1988Executive Stress (TV series)Miss Pledger
1989May to December (TV series)Mrs. Arlett
1990Bergerac (TV series)Mrs. Williams
1990Never the Twain* (TV series)Vera
1991Prime Suspect (TV series)Mrs. Tennison
1993Casualty (TV series)Mary
1994The Knock ((TV series)Barbara Simmons
1994Super GrassGran
1995Heartbeat (TV series)Netty Pickard


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