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Margaret John: A long and Wonderful Career.

2 February 2011

It is with great sadness that Welsh Actress, Margaret John passed away at the age of 84.

Margaret received a Lifetime Achievement Award from BAFTA in Wales in 2009 and was due to be awarded an honorary fellowship from the University of Swansea later this year. A wonderful actress who will sadly be missed.

Margaret John, a long a wonderful career...

With a stage, radio and screen career spanning nearly six decades, Margaret John was instantly recognisable as Elsie 'Mam' Hepplewhite in the BBC Wales comedy High Hopes and the fabulous Doris in Gavin & Stacey, and was famous for her characters’ colourful one-liners.

Amongst her many and varied on screen credits, Margaret starred in the BBC's 1960 adaptation of Richard Llewellyn's novel How Green Was My Valley as Bronwen and had a brief spell in soap opera Coronation Street in 1965.

She appeared in four episodes of Z Cars in 1967 and played Megan Jones in three episodes of the Doctor Who adventure Fury From The Deep in 1968.

In the late 1960s and early 1970s appearances included BBC dramas The First Lady, Softly Softly, Dixon Of Dock Green and also Emmerdale Farm.

The late 1970s saw her play Marian Owen in Crossroads, and from 1984 she starred in the medical drama The District Nurse alongside fellow Welsh actor Nerys Hughes.

Highlights in the 1990s include roles in Sherlock Holmes dramas Sherlock Holmes and the Leading Lady and Incident At Victoria Falls, Lovejoy and the Ruth Rendell Mysteries.

Appearances in The Mighty Boosh and Little Britain followed before she once again starred in Doctor Who, The Idiot's Lantern in 2006 - 39 years after her initial role in the series.

Recently she appeared in medical dramas Casualty and Doctors, the Welsh-set BBC drama Framed with Trevor Eve and Eve Myles, the second series of BBC Three drama Being Human, as well as the fourth series of Skins. She was also seen in cinemas as the Kinky Granny in the BAFTA Cymru winning Valleys film comedy A Bit of Tom Jones.

Amongst her extensive radio credits Margaret did a year with the BBC Radio Rep Company, 12 series of King Street Junior, 2 series of Linda Smith’s Brief History of Time Wasting, 4 years on the radio soap Citizens, 3 years on the BBC Wales soap Station Road and has just recorded A BURDEN TO STRANGERS dramatising the Diaries of Rachel Minshall, for Radio 4.

In 2009 Margaret returned to the stage for the Vagina Monologues, alongside Joanna Page and Sian Lloyd.

Margaret worked tirelessly for charity; always happy to give her time and boundless energy to help others. She completed ‘the mile’ for Sport Relief; performed with ONLY MEN ALOUD and stuffed money into John Barrowman’s trousers for Children in Need and played drums for the GAVIN AND STACEY Comic Relief BARRY ISLANDS IN THE STREAM sketch. Locally, Margaret worked with the PDSA, the George Thomas Hospice and was the face of the Big Lottery Fund AdvantAGE campaign which aimed to create social opportunities for older people, to name but a few examples.

Professionally, Margaret was just as generous; consistently giving her time and expertise to help up and coming filmmakers.

Margaret received the Bafta Lifetime Achievement award in 2009 and was due to be awarded an honorary fellowship from the University of Swansea later this year.

Wednesday 2 February, 2011.