Wendy Craig

Anne Gwendolyn Craig (born 20 June 1934),[1] 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).

Wendy Craig
Born (1934-06-20) 20 June 1934
Sacriston, County Durham, England
Years active1955–present
Spouse(s)Jack Bentley (m. 1955–1994, his death)


Craig was born in Sacriston, County Durham[1] the daughter of farmer George Craig and his wife Anne (née Lindsay).[2] She attended Durham High School for Girls, initially as a day pupil and later as a boarder,[3] which she revisited on 13 October 2007 to open a new building that had been named after her.[4] She passed the 11-plus examination and went to Darlington High School.[3] When she was twelve years old the family moved to Picton and she attended nearby Yarm Grammar School.[2] She trained as an actress at the Central School of Speech and Drama, then based in the Royal Albert Hall, London.[5][6]

One of her early TV appearances was in an episode of the Danger Man series called "The Gallows Tree" (1961) with Patrick McGoohan.[7] 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.[8][9] 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.[6] Then came Butterflies (1978–1983), a successful comedy on BBC2.[10]

Craig returned to drama with the series Nanny (1981–83), a series she created, and wrote some episodes herself as Jonathan Marr,[6] a pseudonym she had used before when writing episodes of ...And Mother Makes Five.[11] Twenty years later, she played the hospital matron 'Toffee' in ITV's The Royal (2003–2011).[12] 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.[13] 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.[14]

In 2012 Craig appeared as a guest in Episode 12 of the Series Masterchef, along with many other 1970s sitcom stars.[15] In January 2014 she appeared in an episode of the BBC popular drama Waterloo Road.[16]

In 2016 she appeared as Mary Goodman in the BBC TV series Death in Paradise episode 5.5.[17] In 2018, she appeared in the ITV soap Emmerdale.[18] In 2018 she appeared in the second series of the ITV drama Unforgotten.[8] In 2017 she started to star as Miss Bat in the CBBC program The Worst Witch.[19] In October 2019, she appeared in an episode of Doctors alongside former Butterflies co-star Bruce Montague.[20]

Personal life

She was married to Jack Bentley, a trombonist, scriptwriter and journalist, from 1955 until his death in 1994.[21] They had two sons, Alaster (later principal oboist for the Birmingham Royal Ballet Sinfonia)[21] and Ross, an I.T. consultant.[22][1] In 2004, it was revealed that her second son's father was John Mortimer, with whom she had had a short affair.[21]

Selected filmography


  1. Pickering, David. "Craig, Wendy – British Actor". Museum.TV. Chicago, Illinois, USA: The Museum of Broadcast Communications. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  2. Morgan, Mike (8 August 2010). "Actress Wendy Craig talks up Teesside". gazettelive.
  3. "Wendy Craig: 'After the war started I remember spending one breakfast picking weevils out of our cornflakes'". Mail Online.
  4. "A few Butterflies as children meet actress". The Northern Echo.
  5. V&A, Theatre and Performance Special Collections, Elsie Fogerty Archive, THM/324
  6. Julia Hallam Wendy Craig profile, screenonline.org.uk. Retrieved 20 August 2014.
  7. "The Gallows Tree (1961)". BFI.
  8. "Wendy Craig". BFI.
  9. "Wendy Craig". www.bigredbook.info.
  10. "BFI Screenonline: Butterflies (1978-83)". www.screenonline.org.uk.
  11. "Sally's Diary (1976)". BFI.
  12. "The Sunday Post: Wendy Craig". BBC. 4 December 2016.
  13. "Brighton Belles (1993)". BFI.
  14. "BBC One - Reggie Perrin, Series 2, Episode 6". BBC.
  15. "BBC One - MasterChef, Series 8, Episode 12". BBC.
  16. "BBC One - Waterloo Road, Series 9, Episode 14". BBC.
  17. "BBC One - Death in Paradise, Series 5, Episode 5". BBC.
  18. "Emmerdale: Butterflies star Wendy Craig to guest star in Sandy's exit story". Radio Times.
  19. "BBC - Meet the teachers - Media Centre". www.bbc.co.uk.
  20. 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.
  21. Walker, Tim; Eden, Richard (12 September 2004). "Mortimer's joy at son with Wendy Craig". The Daily Telegraph. London, UK. Retrieved 9 January 2012.
  22. Robertson, Geoffrey (16 January 2009). "Obituary: Sir John Mortimer" via www.theguardian.com.
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