Eleanor Bron

Last updated 09 January 2020

Eleanor Bron
(this image appears for illustrative purposes only and no attempt is made to supersede any copyright attributed to it)

Eleanor Bron

Born: Monday 14th March 1938 (age: 86)


Eleanor Bron is an English stage, film and television actress and author.

Bron appeared in a brief scene in the Doctor Who serial City of Death (1979) alongside John Cleese as art critics in Denise Rene's art gallery in Paris. The pair are admiring the TARDIS, thinking it to be a piece of art, when the Doctor (Tom Baker), Romana (Lalla Ward) and Duggan (Tom Chadbon) rush into it and it dematerialises. Bron's character, believing this to be part of the work, states that it is "Exquisite, absolutely exquisite!" Later, she had a more substantial guest role in another Doctor Who television serial, Revelation of the Daleks (1985). Bron also appeared in a Doctor Who radio dramaLoups-Garoux (2001), in which she played the wealthy heiress Ileana de Santos.

Bron was born in 1938 in StanmoreMiddlesex. Before her birth, her father Sidney had legally shortened the surname from Bronstein to Bron as an effort to enhance his newly-founded commercial enterprise, Bron's Orchestral Service. Her brother Gerry explained the change simply: "Bronstein's Orchestral Service was a bit of a mouthful."

Bron was the longtime partner of noted architect Cedric Price until his death in 2003; they had no children.[4] Her elder brother is record producer Gerry Bron.[5]She attended North London Collegiate School and Newnham College, Cambridge: the latter she would later characterize as "three years of unparalleled pampering and privilege.2

Bron began her career in the Cambridge Footlights revue of 1959, entitled The Last Laugh, in which Peter Cook also appeared. The addition of a female performer to the Footlights was a departure, having been until that point all-male, with female characters portrayed in drag.

Her film appearances include the role of Ahme in the Beatles film, Help! (her given name inspired Paul McCartney while composing "Eleanor Rigby"). Other roles included the doctor who grounds the Lothario played by Michael Caine in Alfie, the unattainable Margaret Spencer in Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's film Bedazzled, and Hermione Roddice in Ken Russell's Women in Love.

She appeared in the film Two for the Road alongside Albert FinneyAudrey Hepburnand William Daniels. More recently she has appeared in the film adaptations of A Little PrincessThe House of MirthBlack Beauty and in Wimbledon.

Eleanor Bron's earliest work for television included appearances on David Frost'sNot So Much a Programme, More a Way of LifeMy Father Knew Lloyd Georgeand BBC-3, where she performed in sketches with John Fortune; they had already worked together at Peter Cook's Establishment Club. Later, her work included such programmes as Where Was Spring? (1969) and After That, This (1975) – the one with the "egg" timer in the opening credits.

She collaborated with novelist and playwright Michael Frayn on the BBCprogrammes Beyond a Joke (1972) and Making Faces (1975).

She appeared in a 1982 episode ("Equal Opportunities") of the BBC series Yes Minister, playing a senior civil servant in Jim Hacker's Department. Hacker plans to promote her — ostensibly to strike a blow for women's rights — only to be sorely disappointed.

Bron played an art critic again in 1990, appearing on the BBC sketch comedy showFrench and Saunders in a parody of an Andy Warhol documentary.[14] Later she made frequent appearances on Jennifer Saunders' television series Absolutely Fabulous (1992–present). Bron played, via flashback, the recurring character of Patsy's mother, an exuberantly horrible woman who "scattered bastard babies across Europe like a garden sprinkler". After giving birth, she would always say "Now take it away! And bring me another lover."

In 1975 she appeared in the West End musical The Card. Throughout the 1980s she appeared in Amnesty International's Secret Policeman's Balls live benefit shows, working alongside Peter Cook and Rowan Atkinson. In 2005 she appeared in the Liverpool Empire Theatre in the musical play Twopence To Cross The Mersey. She appeared in the role of an abbess in Howard Brenton's play In Extremis, staged in Shakespeare's Globe in 2007. She also appeared in the dramatized version of Pedro Almodovar's film All About My Mother which opened at the Old Vic theatre in the late summer of 2007.

Bron also gave the premiere performance of The Yellow Cake Revue (1980),[15] a series of pieces for voice and piano written by Peter Maxwell Davies in protest against uranium mining in the Orkney Islands.

In 1985, Bron was selected for her authoritative tone to become "the voice of BT" and can still be heard on various error messages such as "Please hang up and try again" and "The number you have dialled has not been recognised".[4]

In 2001 and 2002 she has appeared in the BBC radio comedy sketch show, The Right Time, along with Graeme GardenPaula WilcoxClive Swift and Neil Innes. Another notable radio appearance was in The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes in the 2002 episode "The Madness of Colonel Warburton". In 2001 she played the great-grandmother in the seven-part ITV series Gypsy Girl, based on books by Elizabeth Arnold.

In 2006 she narrated the BBC Radio 4 adaptation of the Craig Brown book 1966 and All That. Other work includes a recorded tour of Sir John Soane's Museum in London, England.

In April 2010, Bron, along with Ian McKellen and Brian Cox, appeared in a series of TV advertisements to support Age UK,[19] the charity recently formed from the merger of Age Concern and Help the Aged. All three actors gave their time free of charge.

She is the author of several books, including Life and Other Punctures, an account of bicycling in France and Holland on an early Moulton bicycle; and Cedric Price Retriever, an inventory of the contents of the bookshelves of her partner, the architect Cedric Price.

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