65 (passed away Feb. 26th, 2009)
Jul. 20th, 1943
Middlesbrough, Cleveland, England, UK
Guest TV Roles
Miss Shirley Brahms
Born Wendy Emerton and went to the Royal Masonic School for Girls in Hertfordshire.
Following that Richard attended the Italia Conti Academy stage school, where she ‘caught the acting bug’, before moving into television and film work.
She made her debut, at age seventeen, in ‘Sammy Meets the Girls’ (1960).
Richard played a number of small roles in episodes of various television series in the 1960s, including ‘Harpers West One’ (1961), ‘Dixon of Dock Green’ (1962 and 1971), ‘Hugh and I’ (1962), ‘Danger Man’ (1964) and ‘The Likely Lads’ (1965). Her first memorable role was as Joyce Harker in ‘The Newcomers’ (1965 - 1969).
In 1962, the vocals Richard provided on Mike Sarne’s single ‘Come Outside’, achieved her a number one on the UK charts. Encouraged by this, Richard teamed up with her friend, hairdresser Diane Berry, to make another record in 1963. The A-side song, “We Had a Dream” was a close-harmony duet and the B-side, “Keep ‘Em Looking Around”.
Her next two film roles were also uncredited, the first as a nurse in the comedy ’Doctor in Clover’ (1966) and the second as a girl in a nightclub in the television drama ‘A Catching Complaint’ (1966). Next was a role in ‘The Making of Jericho’ (1966), filmed in black and white.
‘Richard starred in ‘The Voices in the Park’, a 1967 episode and was in a 1970 episode of the slapstick Roman comedy television series ‘Up Pompeii’. She played Clara in ‘No Blade of Grass’ (1970).
Richard landed roles in the family comedy ‘Carry On…’ films. She played the part of Kate in ‘Carry On Again Christmas’ (1970), was Miss Willing in ‘Carry On Matron’ (1972) and Ida Downs in ‘Carry On Girls’ (1973). She played the role of Anne Scott to rave reviews in Stephen Frears’ comedy crime caper ‘Gumshoe’ (1971). The following year, she was Carol in ‘Bless This House’ (1972). She made a guest appearance as EastEnders’ Pauline Fowler in ‘Doctor Who: Dimensions in Time’ (1993).
As well as her film roles, Richard appeared extensively in episodes of television series, including ‘Please Sir!’ (1971), ‘On the Buses’ (1971), both the television series and the film of the same name, ‘Both Ends Meet’ (1972) and ‘Z Cars’ (1973). She appeared as Private Walker’s girlfriend, Shirley, in two episodes of ‘Dad’s Army’, in 1970 and 1973. She also had roles in ‘Not on Your Nellie’ (1974), ‘Hogg’s Back’ (1975) and ‘Spooner’s Patch’ (1979).
Theatre work is another notch in Richard’s belt and her first commercial stage experience was in the early 1970s, as one of the delivery girls in ‘No Sex Please, We’re British’. In 1980, she toured for four months with the play ‘Blithe Spirit’. A single run with ’Let’s Go Camping’ in 1983.
Richard toured with the pantomime production of ‘Cinderella’ during the Christmas seasons of 1983 and 1986/7.
Over the years, Richard has worked or appeared as a guest on a number of British radio programmes, including ‘Some of These Days’, ‘Kaleidoscope’, ‘Steve Wright in the Afternoon’, ‘Dad’s Army’, ‘Just a Minute’, ‘Listening Corner’, ‘Legal, Decent, Honest and Truthful’ and more recently, ‘Michael Parkinson’ on the Sunday Show of 9 October 2005.
Richard is perhaps best known for two of her long-standing television roles. She played Miss Shirley Brahms, the rather slow sales representative with a strong Cockney accent in the 1970s BBC sitcom ‘Are You Being Served?’, for 13 years. As well as acting in the stage adaptation of the same name and in the cinematic version ‘Are You Being Served?: The Movie’ (1977), she also appeared in the short-lived sequel, ‘Grace and Favour’, in 1992 and 1993. Her most well known role however, was as Pauline Fowler in BBC’s soap opera ‘EastEnders’ (1985).
Richard played this role for nearly 22 years, from the first episode in February 1985. On 10 July 2006 the BBC announced Richard’s imminent departure from the sitcom.
Richard has had three spouses but divorced all of them. She was married to Leonard Blach from 1972 to 1974, to Will Thorpe from 1980 to 1984 and to Paul Glorney from 1990 to 1994. Her current partner is John Burns, who is also her personal assistant.
In recognition of her services to television drama, Richard was awarded an MBE in 2000.
- Was a fan of the television program _"Everybody Loves Raymond" (1996)_ (qv).
- Her parents ran a pub in central London. The family lived upstairs above the pub.
- She was awarded the M.B.E. (Member of the Order of the British Empire) by Her Majesty 'Queen Elizabeth II' (qv) in the 2000 Birthday Honours List for her services to television drama.
- She and her co-stars from the series _"Are You Being Served?" (1972)_ (qv) were all great friends and she remained very close with 'John Inman' (qv), 'Mollie Sugden' (qv), and 'Trevor Bannister' (qv).
- Told the British Press Association she was informed that she is dying of cancer confirmed on October 4, 2008. She had been told she had several useful years ahead of her but when she got the news she moved up her wedding date to October 10, 2008.
- She left school when she was 15, and worked in the fashions department of Fortnum and Mason, an upscale Piccadilly store.
- Diagnosed with breast cancer in the mid-1990s and again in 2002, she learned the disease had spread in 2008.
- Named cairn terrier "Miss Brahms" after her _"Are You Being Served?" (1972)_ (qv) role.
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