On this day in history : 22nd December 1909 – The birth of BAFTA award winning actress Patricia Hayes – who appeared in so many much loved radio and television comedy shows….

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Patricia was born in Streatham, London…. Her father, George Frederick Hayes, was a civil service clerk and her mother, Florence Alice, was a school teacher…. After attending school in Hammersmith Patricia joined the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art at the age of 18 – having already made her stage debut when she was just 12 years old…. After her training she was to spend the next ten years in the repertory theatre….

She married actor Valentine Brooke in 1939 and they were to have three children, two daughters and a son, the actor Richard O’Callaghan…. Patricia and her husband were to divorce in 1951, she never remarried….

During the 1940s she appeared in numerous films, including Went the Day Well? in 1942 and Nicholas Nickleby in 1947 – but during the 1950s it was radio and TV comedy that she was to become well-known for…. Her work included Hancock’s Half Hour, The Benny Hill Show, The Arthur Askey Show and Till Death Us Do Part…. She was frequently cast in the roles of Cockney characters…. She would still occasionally undertake film work, appearing in films such as The Bargee in 1964, The NeverEnding Story in 1984, A Fish Called Wanda in 1988 and Willow in 1988….

Theatrical release poster for The NeverEnding Story

But it was in 1971 that Patricia took on a very different role to her usual comedy characters, when she stared in Jeremy Sandford’s Play for Today Edna, the Inebriate Woman…. Her powerful portrayal of the drunk and troubled Edna won her a BAFTA…. After this it would have been easy to alter the path of her career to follow a route of more serious roles – but Patricia chose to return to the comedy she did so well….

She was awarded with an OBE in 1987…. She continued acting well into the 1990s with appearances in ITV’s The Bill and the BBC’s Lovejoy…. Patricia died on the 19th of September 1998 in the Surrey village of Puttenham and is buried in Watts Cemetery, Compton…. Her last film Crime and Punishment was released posthumously in 2002….

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