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Thelma Barlow

Last updated 27 July 2014


Thelma Barlow
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Thelma Pigott

Born: Wed 19th June 1929 (age: 88)

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helma Barlow is an English television actress and writer, most famous for her roles as Mavis Wilton in the long-running ITV soap opera Coronation Street and as Dolly Bellfield in the sitcom Dinnerladies.

Thelma Barlow was born in MiddlesbroughNorth Riding of Yorkshire in 1929, the younger of two daughters.Her father Tommy, a cabinet maker, died of pneumonia five weeks before her birth, so Barlow was brought up by her mother Margaret. During her childhood, the family moved to Huddersfield and Thelma Barlow left school at 15 and went to Huddersfield Technical College to study shorthand and typing. Her first job, as a secretary, she held for eight years and at the same time belonged to an amateur dramatics group. In 1960, Barlow joined the West of England Theatre Company followed by the Bristol Old Vic Theatre Company In Bristol, she ran a boarding house for fellow actors. In 1956 she married set designer Graham Barlow, and they had two children, Clive and James. They later divorced.

Thelma Barlow's first television appearance was in 1970 in A Stranger on the Hill The following year while performing in Liverpool, she was asked to audition for the soap opera Coronation Street for the role of Mavis Riley. She was successful and her first episode was transmitted on 14 August 1971 though the character only appeared regularly from 1973, when she joined the staff of "The Kabin". Barlow remained in the series for 26 years, and nearly 2,000 episodes, until she left after the departure of her on-screen husband Derek. Her final episode went out on 10 October 1997 when Mavis moved to the Lake District.[4] During her time on Coronation Street Barlow shared a flat with co-starHelen Worth and later moved to Settle, where she later did a TV show from her garden

Barlow's next major role was that of Dolly Bellfield in Victoria Wood's sitcom dinnerladies. This comedy lasted for two series in 1998 to 2000. Around the same time she appeared in Murder Most Horrid (1999) and David Copperfield (also 1999). Since then Thelma Barlow has appeared as one-off characters in several television shows, including Fat Friends (2000), Doctors (2002), The Royal (2004), Where the Heart Is (1997), My Dad's the Prime Minister (also 2004), Marple(2006) and the Midsomer Murders episode "Last Year's Model" (also 2006). In 2005 she appeared in her first film Mrs Henderson Presents and in 2007 she played Lady Thaw in the Doctor Who episode "The Lazarus Experiment". She also appeared in a 2008 episode of Doc Martin For her role in Mrs Henderson Presents she was nominated for "Most Promising Newcomer" in the British Independent Film Awards 2005.[7] Since her departure from Coronation Street Barlow has also made stage appearances, with roles such as Madame Arcati in Blithe Spirit, Mam in Alan Bennett's Enjoy and as Abby Brewster in Arsenic and Old Lace in 2003 on the West End stage. Barlow has also acted on radio. In 2003, she moved to the Isle of Purbeck.

Biography from the Wikipedia article, licensed under CC-BY-SA