Rosemary Leach

Rosemary Anne Leach (18 December 1935 – 21 October 2017) was a British stage, television and film actress.[3] She won the 1982 Olivier Award for Best Actress in a New Play for 84, Charing Cross Road and was nominated for the BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role for her roles in the films That'll Be the Day (1973) and A Room with a View (1986).[4][5]

Rosemary Leach
Photo: Geoff Shields, 1981
Rosemary Anne Leach[1]

(1935-12-18)18 December 1935
Died21 October 2017(2017-10-21) (aged 81)[2]
London, England
Years active1960–2017
Colin Starkey
(m. 1981)

She appeared in several TV mini-series, including Germinal (1970), The Jewel in the Crown (1984), The Charmer (1987), The Buccaneers (1995) and Berkeley Square (1998), and had a recurring role on the sitcom My Family (2003-07).[6][7]

Early life

Leach was born at Much Wenlock, Shropshire.[3] Her parents were teachers, related to the social anthropologist Edmund Leach, she attended grammar school and RADA.[8] After appearing in repertory theatres and the Old Vic she became well known to UK TV viewers between 1965 and 1969 for playing Susan Wheldon, the mistress of building tycoon John Wilder (Patrick Wymark) in the TV boardroom drama The Power Game.[9]


In 1971 she appeared as Laurie Lee's mother in a BBC adaptation of Cider with Rosie.

In 1973, she played Aldonza/Dulcinea in the BBC production of Don Quixote (retitled The Adventures of Don Quixote), starring Rex Harrison and Frank Finlay.[10] In 1978, she played Queen Victoria in the four-part TV edition of Disraeli. In 1981, she played Emilia opposite Bob Hoskins's Iago in the BBC Shakespeare production of Othello.[11]

In 1982, she played Aunt Fenny in The Jewel in the Crown and 1986 in a Jack Rosenthal British television Christmas play Day To Remember.[12][13] She played a leading role as smitten Joan Plumleigh-Bruce in the six-part ITV 1987 production of The Charmer which starred Nigel Havers.[14]

Her film roles included David Essex's mother in That'll Be the Day (1973), Ghost in the Noonday Sun (1973), the TV remake of Brief Encounter (1974), S.O.S. Titanic (1979), and a voice role in the animated film of The Plague Dogs (1982).[3]

In 1987, she was nominated for BAFTA's Best Supporting Actress for A Room with a View (1985).[6] In 1992, Leach starred in An Ungentlemanly Act, a BBC television film about the first days of the invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982, portraying the real-life Lady Mavis Hunt, wife of the islands' then governor, Sir Rex Hunt.[15] In 1995, Leach participated in the popular BBC miniseries The Buccaneers a five-part television adaptation of Edith Wharton's unfinished novel. Leach appeared as Selina Marable, Marchioness of Brightlingsea.[16]

Leach played the part of Anna in BBC Radio 4's No Commitments, and Susan Harper's mother Grace in My Family.[17][18] She made a guest appearance as 'Bessie' on Waterloo Road (the TV series), in Series 3 Spring Term. Since 1994, she made occasional appearances in The Archers as Ellen Rogers, the ex-pat aunt of Nigel Pargetter.[19] She portrayed Miss Twitterton in the Radio 4 adaptation of the Lord Peter Wimsey story Busman's Honeymoon, first broadcast in 1983.[20]

In 2001, she played a leading role in Destroying Angel, an episode of Midsomer Murders.[21] She played Queen Elizabeth II three times: in the 2002 television movie Prince William; in a 2006 updated edition of The Afternoon Play entitled Tea with Betty; and in 2009's Margaret.[9] She played "Miss Plum" in an episode of Heartbeat called "Strangers on a Train" in 2004.[22]


Leach died in a London hospital, aged 81, following a short but undisclosed illness.[2]



1973 That'll Be the Day Mrs. MacLaine
1973 Ghost in the Noonday Sun Kate
1979 A Question of Faith
1981 Turtle Diary Mrs. Charlie Inchcliff
1982 The Plague Dogs Vera Voice
1985 A Room with a View Mrs. Honeychurch
1985 Ha-Kala Esther Also known as The 17th Bride
1990 The Children Miss Scope
1993 The Mystery of Edwin Drood Mrs. Tope
1993 The Hawk Mrs. Marsh
1998 Bloodlines: Legacy of a Lord Lady Osborne
1999 Whatever Happened to Harold Smith? Harold's Mother
2000 Breathtaking Mrs. Henshaw
2002 The Baroness and the Pig Margaret
2010 Mission London Miss Cunningham
2011 The Great Ghost Rescue The Queen
2012 May I Kill U? Mags


1962-63Z-CarsMrs Outram/Ann Brown2 episodes
1964Edgar Wallace MysteriesMary Bell"Episode: Face of a Stranger"
1964Gideon's WayMarion Grove"Episode: The Lady-Killer"
1967-70No – That's Me Over Here!Rosemary25 episodes
1970The Roads to FreedomMarcelle8 episodes
1972Cider with RosieMotherTV film
1973BBC Play of the MonthEpisode: The Adventures of Don Quixote
1974The Prince of Denmark (BBC sitcom)Laura6 episodes
1974Brief EncounterMrs GainesTV film
1975 Sadie its cold outside (tv series)Sadie6 episodes
1978-80Life Begins at Forty (1978 TV series)Katy BuntingITV sitcom, 2 series 14 episodes
1984The Jewel in the CrownAunt FennyTV mini-series, 7 episodes
1987The CharmerJoan Plumleigh-BruceTV mini-series, 6 episodes
1995 The BuccaneersLady Brightlingsea5 episodes
The Tomorrow PeopleGladys Toms5 episodes
1989The Winslow BoyVioletBBC Playhouse
1998Berkeley SquareNanny Collins10 episodes
2000-05DoctorsJosephine Barker/Meg Carpenter2 episodes
2001Midsomer MurdersEvelyn PopeEpisode: Destroying Angel
2003-07My FamilyGrace6 episodes
2004Holby CityBarbara RushEpisode: One More Chance
2004-05HeartbeatDorothy Plum2 episodes
2006The Afternoon PlayHM the QueenEpisode: Tea with Betty
2007CasualtyMiranda WattsEpisode: Strangers When We Meet
2009MargaretQueen Elizabeth IITV film

Awards and nominations

Year Award Category Work Result Ref
1971BAFTA TV AwardBest ActressGerminal / The Roads to FreedomNominated[23]
1972BAFTA TV AwardBest ActressITV Playhouse / Cider with RosieNominated
1974BAFTA TV AwardBest ActressThe Adventures of Don QuixoteNominated
1974BAFTA Film AwardBest Supporting ActressThat'll Be the DayNominated[5]
1977Olivier AwardBest Actress in a New PlayJust Between OurselvesNominated
1982Olivier AwardBest Actress in a New Play84 Charing Cross RoadWon
1987BAFTA Film AwardBest Supporting ActressA Room with a ViewNominated


  1. "Index entry". FreeBMD. Office for National Statistics. Retrieved 2019-08-04.
  2. Telegraph reporters (2017-10-22). "Rosemary Leach, the Room With a View star, dies aged 81". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2019-08-04.
  3. "Rosemary Leach". British Film Institute. Retrieved 2019-08-04.
  4. "Olivier Winners 1982". Society of London Theatre. 1982. Retrieved 2019-08-04.
  5. "Rosemary Leach". British Academy of Film and Television Arts. 2017-10-23. Retrieved 2019-08-04.
  6. "Rosemary Leach". AllMovie. Retrieved 2019-08-04.
  7. Quinn, Michael (2017-11-01). "Obituary: Rosemary Leach". The Stage. Retrieved 2019-08-04.
  8. Hayward, Anthony (2017-10-27). "Rosemary Leach: 'A Room With A View' actor whose roles spanned ages, genres and social divides". The Independent. Retrieved 2019-08-04.
  9. Coveney, Michael (2017-10-22). "Rosemary Leach obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019-08-04.
  10. "The Adventures of Don Quixote (1973)". British Film Institute.
  11. "Othello (1981)". British Film Institute.
  12. "BFI Screenonline: Jewel in the Crown, The (1984) Credits".
  13. "Day to Remember (1986)". British Film Institute.
  14. "..: The Charmer :."
  15. "An Ungentlemanly Act (1992) - - Cast and Crew". AllMovie.
  16. "The Buccaneers Part Five Plunder (1995)". British Film Institute.
  17. "BBC Radio 4 Extra - No Commitments, Series 13, Blue Rabbits". BBC Radio 4.
  18. "Actress Leach dies after 'short illness'". BBC News. 22 October 2017.
  19. "BBC Radio 4 - The Archers - Ellen Rogers". BBC Radio 4.
  20. "BBC Radio 4 Extra - Wimsey, Busman's Honeymoon, The Mysteries of Married Life". BBC Radio 4.
  21. "Midsomer Murders (a guide)". Retrieved 30 January 2016.
  22. "Strangers on a Train (2004)". British Film Institute.
  23. "BAFTA Awards".
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