DoctorDoctor Who Guide

Pauline Collins OBE

Last updated 27 July 2014


Pauline Collins OBE
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Pauline Collins OBE

Born: Tue 3rd September 1940 (age: 74)

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Pauline Collins  is an English actress, best known for playing  Sarah Moffat in Upstairs, Downstairs and its spin-off Thomas & Sarah during the 1970s. 

She later drew acclaim for playing the title role in the play Shirley Valentine for which she received Laurence Olivier, Tony, and Drama Desk awards. She reprised the role in a 1989 film adaptation, winning a BAFTA and garnering Golden Globe and Academy Award nominations.

Collins played Samantha Briggs in The Faceless Ones and Queen Victoria in Tooth and Claw, making her one of the few actresses to star in both the classic and new series of Doctor Who.

She was heavily solicited to convert Samantha into a regular companion to replace Polly. Despite personal appeals by Innes Lloyd and even Frazer Hines, however, she declined the offer.

Collins was born in Exmouth, Devon. She made her stage debut at Windsor in A Gazelle in Park Lane in 1962 and her West End debut in Passion Flower Hotel in 1965.

Other early TV credits include the UK's first medical soap Emergency - Ward 10 (1960), and the pilot episode and first series of The Liver Birds, both in 1969.

Collins first became well known for her role as the maid Sarah in the 1970s ITV drama series Upstairs, Downstairs. The character appeared regularly throughout the first two series, the second of which also starred her actor husband, John Alderton, with whom she later starred in a spin-off, Thomas & Sarah (1979), and the sitcom No, Honestly, as well as in a series of short story adaptations called Wodehouse Playhouse (1975–78).  She co-narrated the animated British children's TV series Little Miss with husband John Alderton in 1983.

In 1988, Collins starred in the one-woman play Shirley Valentine in London, reprising the role on Broadway in 1989 and in the 1989 film version. 

After Shirley Valentine, Collins again starred alongside her husband in the popular ITV drama series Forever Green in which the couple escape the city with their children to start a new life in the country. It ran from 1989 to 1992 over 18 episodes.

Collins' film credits include City of Joy (1992, co-starring Patrick Swayze), My Mother's Courage (1995 in Germany as Mutters Courage, released in the USA in 1997), Paradise Road (1997, with Glenn Close and Cate Blanchett), and Mrs Caldicot's Cabbage War (2001), another appearance with Alderton. In 1999 and 2000, Collins starred as Harriet Smith in the BBC television drama Ambassador, where she played the lead role of the British ambassador to Ireland. Other television credits include The Saint, The Wednesday Play, Armchair Theatre, Play for Today, Tales of the Unexpected, Country Matters and The Black Tower.

In 2002, she guest starred in Man and Boy, the dramatisation of Tony Parsons' best-seller. In 2005 she appeared as Miss Flite in the BBC production of Charles Dickens' Bleak House.






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