Anne Gwendolyn Craig (born 20 June 1934), known professionally as Wendy Craig, is an English actress who is best known for her appearances in the sitcoms Not in Front of the Children, ...And Mother Makes Three/...And Mother Makes Five and Butterflies. She played the role of Matron in the TV series The Royal (2003–2011).
|Born||20 June 1934|
Sacriston, County Durham, England
|Spouse(s)||Jack Bentley (m. 1955–1994, his death)|
Craig was born in Sacriston, County Durham the daughter of farmer George Craig and his wife Anne (née Lindsay). She attended Durham High School for Girls, initially as a day pupil and later as a boarder, which she revisited on 13 October 2007 to open a new building that had been named after her. She passed the 11-plus examination and went to Darlington High School. When she was twelve years old the family moved to Picton and she attended nearby Yarm Grammar School. She trained as an actress at the Central School of Speech and Drama, then based in the Royal Albert Hall, London.
One of her early TV appearances was in an episode of the Danger Man series called "The Gallows Tree" (1961) with Patrick McGoohan. From the mid-1950s Craig appeared in British films such as The Servant (1963) and The Nanny (1965) with Bette Davis, but it was her appearances in British sitcoms of the late 1960s/1970s which led to her becoming a household name, usually playing a scatty middle class housewife. She went from the BBC's Not in Front of the Children (1967–1970) to ITV's ...And Mother Makes Three (1971), in which she played a single parent, which evolved into its sequel ...And Mother Makes Five. Then came Butterflies (1978–1983), a successful comedy on BBC2.
Craig returned to drama with the series Nanny (1981–83), a series she created, and wrote some episodes herself as Jonathan Marr, a pseudonym she had used before when writing episodes of ...And Mother Makes Five. Twenty years later, she played the hospital matron 'Toffee' in ITV's The Royal (2003–2011). However, she has continued to be associated with comedy, having taken one of the leading roles as Annie in Brighton Belles (1993–94), the UK's short-lived version of The Golden Girls. She appeared as Reggie's mother in the BBC1 comedy Reggie Perrin (2009, Series 1 and 2010, Series 2), an update of the 1970s' series The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin.
In 2016 she appeared as Mary Goodman in the BBC TV series Death in Paradise episode 5.5. In 2018, she appeared in the ITV soap Emmerdale. In 2018 she appeared in the second series of the ITV drama Unforgotten. In 2017 she started to star as Miss Bat in the CBBC program The Worst Witch. In October 2019, she appeared in an episode of Doctors alongside former Butterflies co-star Bruce Montague.
She was married to Jack Bentley, a trombonist, scriptwriter and journalist, from 1955 until his death in 1994. They had two sons, Alaster (later principal oboist for the Birmingham Royal Ballet Sinfonia) and Ross, an I.T. consultant. In 2004, it was revealed that her second son's father was John Mortimer, with whom she had had a short affair.
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- "A few Butterflies as children meet actress". The Northern Echo.
- V&A, Theatre and Performance Special Collections, Elsie Fogerty Archive, THM/324
- Julia Hallam Wendy Craig profile, screenonline.org.uk. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
- "The Gallows Tree (1961)". BFI.
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- "BFI Screenonline: Butterflies (1978-83)". www.screenonline.org.uk.
- "Sally's Diary (1976)". BFI.
- "The Sunday Post: Wendy Craig". BBC. 4 December 2016.
- "Brighton Belles (1993)". BFI.
- "BBC One - Reggie Perrin, Series 2, Episode 6". BBC.
- "BBC One - MasterChef, Series 8, Episode 12". BBC.
- "BBC One - Waterloo Road, Series 9, Episode 14". BBC.
- "BBC One - Death in Paradise, Series 5, Episode 5". BBC.
- "Emmerdale: Butterflies star Wendy Craig to guest star in Sandy's exit story". Radio Times.
- "BBC - Meet the teachers - Media Centre". www.bbc.co.uk.
- Selwood, Sarah (8 October 2019). "Butterflies stars Wendy Craig and Bruce Montague: 'We're playing naughty seniors in Doctors!'". What's on TV. Retrieved 8 October 2019.
- Walker, Tim; Eden, Richard (12 September 2004). "Mortimer's joy at son with Wendy Craig". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
- Robertson, Geoffrey (16 January 2009). "Obituary: Sir John Mortimer" – via www.theguardian.com.