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Thread: Wendy Richard has died

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    Elite Member Palermo's Avatar
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    Default Wendy Richard has died

    It’s hard to disentangle Wendy Richard from the part that brought her lasting fame: Pauline Fowler in EastEnders. Miss Brahms in Are You Being Served? seems like an aeon ago, her busty, Cockney sparra flirtiness long superseded by Pauline’s hatchet face and curdling insults to any who crossed her, or even dared a “Good morning Pauline, how are you today?” Pauline met even the most everyday entreaty with a scowl.

    By the time of her death in 2006, Pauline had morphed into the strangest character in soap. That is, she should have been a grand dame. Once you’ve done that length of time on a show — and gone through all the deaths, divorces, psychopaths, and every conceivable problem with your children — you should be a national treasure. Even if you’re a villainess.

    But for some reason, the writers made Pauline into one of the most irritating characters in popular drama. She wasn’t a scheming bitch, she wasn’t a cuddly matriarch. She was just a relentless cloud of misery, her lips pursed in judgment, forever castigating son Martin over being with his true love Sonia, or not committing to Joe, the perfectly nice guy who was (for some reason best known to him) in love with her. Richard said she had quit the show because she objected to the writers having Pauline marry him.

    All the warmth that Pauline had in the show’s early years, all that humanity — over Michelle’s teen pregnancy or her son’s HIV — was siphoned off. We first saw this darker side when she whacked her errant husband Arthur with a frying pan after he was caught cheating on her with Mrs Hewitt. At that moment we cheered. But after Arthur’s death the character folded in on herself and the audience’s affection for her dwindled.

    Possibly it’s because the plots ceased to centre around the Beale and Fowler families. Peggy Mitchell is not a nice character. She snarls, she’s intolerant, she’s forever mooning over her wretched, criminal, thuggish sons. But even at her most grating we see her vulnerability, especially now as she’s (as yet unwittingly) saddled with a partner who wants to control every part of her life. Other big female characters like Dot Cotton and Pat Evans have been to hell and back, but always with a fag in their mouth and bible in hand (Dot) or ridiculous earrings and frosted lipstick (Pat).

    Pauline eventually died in the snow in the middle of the Square right beside the bench dedicated to husband Arthur in a Christmas Day episode which saw a climactic confrontation with Sonia, and an abortive attempt to be reconciled with her son. It was a grand exit and it was beautifully acted by Wendy Richard, particularly a preceding scene she shared with June Brown as Dot as she desperately tried to remind Pauline what a warm person she had been and could be again.

    Like a frustrated Dot, the audience at home couldn’t quite work out where that character had gone wrong. But that was a fault of the show’s writers, rather than Richard’s as an actress. In an interview she said she wasn’t “too happy” about her character’s change of direction either. EastEnders fans miss Wendy Richard, but not the Pauline Fowler she became.

  2. #2
    Elite Member Palermo's Avatar
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    British actress Wendy Richard dead at 65

    Thursday, February 26, 2009

    (02-26) 10:09 PST LONDON, United Kingdom (AP) --

    British actress Wendy Richard, whose four-decade television career included roles as a sexy sitcom shop assistant and a working class matriarch on the soap opera "EastEnders," died Thursday after a long battle with breast cancer. She was 65.

    Richard's agent, Kevin Francis, said she died in a London clinic with husband John Burns by her side.

    Born Wendy Emerton, Richard was raised above the pub her parents ran in central London. She left school at 15 and worked at the Fortnum and Mason department store before studying drama.

    She had parts in several of the cheap-and-cheerful "Carry On" film comedies, and in TV shows including "Up Pompeii!" and "The Likely Lads" before becoming famous as Miss Brahms, a staff member of the fictional Grace Brothers department store in 1970s sitcom "Are You Being Served?"

    Richard was known to millions around the world as put-upon matriarch Pauline Fowler in "EastEnders," a long-running soap set in a close-knit east London neighborhood. Richard appeared in the show's first episode in 1985 and stayed for 21 years, depicting Pauline through trials that included her daughter's teen pregnancy, her son's HIV diagnosis and her husband's breakdown, imprisonment and death.

    Richard was diagnosed with cancer in the mid-1990s and again in 2002, and learned last year that the disease had returned and spread.

    She is survived by Burns, her long-term partner and fourth husband, whom she married in October.

    Funeral arrangements were not immediately available.

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    Elite Member sharon_b's Avatar
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    RIP Wendy ..you will be missed by many

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    Elite Member Palermo's Avatar
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    I sure enjoyed her as Pauline

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    Silver Member Heavenseventeen's Avatar
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    RIP. Can't believe it...
    I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and sky...

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    Friend of Gossip Rocks! buttmunch's Avatar
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    We posted within minutes of each other...me in Gossip, you here. Can mods please merge them?
    'Those who sacrifice liberty for security deserve neither.' Ben Franklin

    "When fascism comes to America, it will be wrapped in the flag and carrying the cross."
    --Sinclair Lewis

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    Elite Member AgentOrange's Avatar
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    That makes her & Mr Humpheries.

    [YOUTUBE]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FlCr6KsDYbw[/YOUTUBE]

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    Elite Member azoria's Avatar
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    .

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    Bronze Member warrior_al's Avatar
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    No doubt Mike Reid, Hilda Braid and Ross Davidson are all waiting for her.

    Don't want it to sound like a curse, but there have been quite a few ex-Eastenders going lately, sometimes all too soon...

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