Patsy Rowlands

Patricia Amy Rowlands (19 January 1931 22 January 2005)[1][2] was an English actress who is best remembered for her roles in the Carry On films series, and as Betty Lewis in the popular ITV Thames sitcom Bless This House, and as Alice Meredith in the Yorkshire Television sitcom Hallelujah!.[3][4]

Patsy Rowlands
Patricia Amy Rowlands

(1931-01-19)19 January 1931
Died22 January 2005(2005-01-22) (aged 74)
Years active1959–2001
TelevisionBless This House
Malcolm Sircom
(m. 1962; div. 1967)
Children1 son

Early years

She was born in Palmers Green, London and attended the Sacred Heart convent school at Whetstone.[5] While attending, an elocution teacher spotted her potential and encouraged her to pursue a career in acting. She applied for the Guildhall School of Music and Drama, and won a scholarship aged fifteen.[2]

Early career

Rowlands began her career in the chorus of Annie Get Your Gun, followed by a summer season in Torquay. She then spent several years with the Players' Theatre in London, before making her West End debut in Sandy Wilson's musical Valmouth.[1][6] It was at this time she met her future husband, the composer Malcolm Sircom. They divorced in 1967.

Other West End theatre credits included Semi-Detached with Laurence Olivier and directed by Tony Richardson (with whom she was to work often, appearing in his 1963 film Tom Jones), Shut Your Eyes and Think of England, with Donald Sinden, The Seagull and Ben Travers's The Bed Before Yesterday, both directed by Lindsay Anderson and When We Are Married for Ronald Eyre.[7][5] She also starred in Cameron Mackintosh's revival of Oliver! in the mid-1990s, as well as playing Jack's mother in the original London cast of Sondheim's Into the Woods.[6] Her final appearance was as Mrs Pearce in the National Theatre's production of My Fair Lady which also starred Jonathan Pryce.[8]

Rowlands also appeared in film and TV versions of two of Frances Hodgson Burnett's books: "Little Lord Fauntleroy" and "A Little Princess."[9][10] In the 1980 TV movie "Little Lord Fauntleroy," with Alec Guinness (as Earl of Dorincourt) and Ricky Schroder (as "Ceddy", Little Lord Fauntleroy), she played a village lady named Mrs. Dibble.[11] In the BBC production of the 1986 TV miniseries "A Little Princess," she played the role of the "Baker's Wife," who gives Sara 6 buns for fourpence and later takes under her wing a homeless beggar girl Sara had befriended.[12]

Rowlands also appeared quite frequently on television early in her career. Amongst the various series in which she appeared, were several appearances in Gert and Daisy (1959) as Bonnie, as well as appearing in 2 episodes of Danger Man (as different, unrelated characters) and in The Avengers episode "Love All".[13][14][15] Rowlands played the role of a love interest for George called "Beryl" in the 1979 Christmas special and final episode of George and Mildred

Carry On films

She made her debut in the Carry On films in Carry On Again Doctor in 1969 and soon became a regular member of the team, usually playing the dowdy, put-upon wife or the long-suffering secretary.[4] Between 1969 and 1975 she appeared in nine of the films in increasingly large roles, appearing in Carry On Again Doctor, Carry On Loving, Carry On Henry, Carry On Matron, Carry On Abroad and Carry On Dick - more substantial roles include Carry On At Your Convenience, Carry On Girls and Carry On Behind.[16]

On 7 March 1971 she starred in a single episode (You've Really Landed Me In It This Time) of popular ITV sitcom Doctor at Large, with Barry Evans and George Layton, as a nymphomaniac secretary, a role she seemed to relish and had played similarly in Carry On Loving.[17][18]

From 1971 to 1976, she played Betty, the feckless neighbour in the popular ITV sitcom Bless This House, which starred fellow Carry On star Sid James.[16] Her other television credits at this time included a couple of episodes of For The Love of Ada, playing a pregnant woman in the maternity ward also appearances with comedians such as Les Dawson and Dick Emery. In the early 1980s, she appeared with Thora Hird in the sitcom Hallelujah!, in which they played an aunt and niece in The Salvation Army. In 1991 she appeared in an episode of Zorro filmed in Madrid, Spain.[19][20]

Later years

Towards the end of her life, Rowlands appeared in several revivals of major musicals such as Oliver! at the London Palladium and My Fair Lady at the Theatre Royal, Drury Lane.[21]

Later television credits include The Cazalets, The Canterbury Tales, The Cater Street Hangman, Get Well Soon, Vanity Fair, Murder Most English, and Bottom for the BBC. In 2002, she was a guest on the paranormal series Most Haunted. Rowlands took part in several DVD audio commentaries along with other surviving stars of the Carry On films in 2003.[22]


Rowlands developed breast cancer and had to abandon her plans to become an acting teacher, and quietly retire. She died of the disease in an East Sussex hospice, three days after her 74th birthday. She was survived by her only son, Alan (born 1963).[5]


Stuff and Nonsense1960June PimbleTV movie
One Way Pendulum1961Sylvia GroomkirbyTV movie
The Final Test1961CoraTV movie
On the Fiddle1961Evie
Over the Odds1961Marilyn
A Kind of Loving1962Dorothy
The Amazing Dr Clitterhouse1962DaisyTV movie
In the Doghouse1962Barmaid
The Brain1962Young Woman at Dance HallUncredited
Not At All1962Mrs ChassTV movie
Tom Jones1963Honor
A Stitch in Time1963Amy
Comedy Workshop: Love and Maud Carver1964Maud Carver
Dateline Diamonds1965Mrs Edgecomb
Take A Sapphire1966LeopoldinaTV movie
State Of The Union1968GladysTV Series
Carry On Again Doctor1969Miss Fosdick
Carry On Loving1970Miss Dempsey
Carry On Henry1971Ex-Queen
Please Sir!1971Angela Cutforth
Carry On At Your Convenience1971Hortence Withering
Carry On Matron1972Miss Banks
Bless This House1972Betty Lewis
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland1972Cook
Carry On Abroad1972Miss Dobbs
Carry On Girls1973Mildred Bumble
Carry On Dick1974Mrs Giles
Carry On Behind1975Linda Upmore
Joseph Andrews1977Gammer Andrews
Sammy's Super T-Shirt1978Mum
Tess1979The Landlady
Little Lord Fauntleroy1980Mrs DibbleTV movie
Dangerous Davies: The Last Detective1981Madame TarantellaTV movie
When We Are Married1987Lottie GradyTV movie
In Dreams1992Royalist HousewifeTV movie
The Cater Street Hangman1998Mrs DumphyTV movie
Vanity Fair1998Mrs TinkerTV Mini-Series
The Cazalets2001Miss MillamentTV Series
The Princess and the Pea2002SashaVoice, (final film role)

Television roles


1959Gert and DaisyBonnie
1961Danger ManMrs. Harkness
1964Danger ManMrs. Farebrother
1971Doctor At LargeLiz Hickle
1971-1976Bless This HouseBetty Lewis
1974-1977The SquirrelsSusan
1975 Not on Your Nellie Clarissa Cholmondeley-Burnside Season 2 Episode 2 "High Society"
19793 2 1Herself
1979George and MildredBeryl, the waitress
1980The Nesbitts Are ComingWPC Naylor
1981KinvigNetta Kinvig
1982-1986In Loving MemoryTiger-Lilly Longstaff
1983-1984Hallelujah!Alice Meredith
1992BottomLil Potato
1997Get Well SoonMrs Clapton


1970JackanoryNarrator5 episodes
1975The Basil Brush ShowGuest


1961Danger ManMrs. Harkness
1964Danger ManMrs. Farebrother
1965Out Of The Unknown - Come Buttercup, Come Daisy, Come...?Anne Lovejoy
1976 Cinema Fire Safety Short Film : ' Fire Doors Save Lives '. Ada : TealadyNow listed under IMDB's Working Title Public Information Film , & , in Rowland's IMDB's Filmography.
2001The CazaletsThe Governess


  1. "BBC News - Carry On Star Patsy Rowlands dies". Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  2. "Patsy Rowlands - Obituaries - The Independent". Retrieved 21 November 2013.
  3. "Patsy Rowlands - British actress".
  4. "Patsy Rowlands - Obituaries - The Stage". 1 February 2005.
  5. Barker, Dennis (26 January 2005). "Patsy Rowlands". The Guardian. Retrieved 15 July 2012.
  6. "Patsy Rowlands - Theatricalia".
  7. "Patsy Rowlands, Actress in the 'Carry On' Comedies, Dies at 71". Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  8. Wolf, Matt (21 March 2001). "Review: 'My Fair Lady'".
  9. "Little Lord Fauntleroy (1980)".
  10. "A Little Princess Part 5 (1987)".
  11. "Little Lord Fauntleroy 1980 TV Movie". Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  12. "A Little Princess Full Cast and Crew". Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  13. "Patsy Rowlands".
  14. "The Danger Man Website". Retrieved 24 October 2018.
  15. "Avengers: Love All (1969) - Peter Sykes - Cast and Crew - AllMovie". AllMovie.
  16. "Patsy Rowlands".
  17. "You've Really Landed Me in It This Time (1971)".
  18. "Patsy Rowlands: Her Carry On Story".
  19. "Miracle of the Pueblo". 8 December 1991.
  20. "New World Zorro Production Notes".
  21. "Patsy Rowlands".
  22. "Robert Ross DVD". Archived from the original on 5 December 2013. Retrieved 21 November 2013.
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