Obituary

Lynda Baron 1939-2022Bookmark and Share

Monday, 7 March 2022 - Reported by Marcus
Lynda Baron (Credit: BBC Studios)

The actress Lynda Baron has died at the age of 82.

Lynda Baron was best known for playing Nurse Gladys Emmanuel in the BBC Comedy series Open All Hours. She took part in 7 episodes of Doctor Who, one of the select few who appeared in both the original and the revived series. 

 

Lynda Baron was born Lilian Baron in March 1939 in Urmston, Lancashire. She trained at the Royal Academy of Dance and after graduating worked in reparatory theatre and in London's West End. 

It was hard work because you were constantly doing one drama, rehearsing the next one and learning the lines of the one after that. It was a great education and I am so glad to have gone through that."

Her first television appearance was in 1958, appearing in Theatre Night, the BBC series of 45-minute extracts from plays. Small roles followed including playing June in The Rag Trade and Madame Kronstadt in the thriller Breaking Point. 

Her first encounter with Doctor Who came in the 1966 story The Gunfighters. Baron played the role of narrator. Out of vision, she sang The Ballad of the Last Chance Saloon to guide the audience through the plot. 

May small roles on television followed including parts in Z-Cars Her big break came in 1976 when she was cast as Nurse Gladys Emmanuel, opposite Ronnie Barker and David Jason, in the BBC TV sitcom Open All Hours. As the object of corner shop owner Albert Arkwright's affections, Baron was a vital part of the team, appearing in all four series of the show. 

She told The Sunday Post

Working with Ronnie Barker and David Jason was unbelievable - two great actors in a brilliantly scripted sitcom. There was never a day when we did not have a great laugh ourselves and that carried on when Still Open All Hours became a series

The success of the series led to many more comedic roles including parts in Last of the Summer Wine,  Oh No, It's Selwyn Froggitt, Grundy and A Roof Over My Head.

Her second role in Doctor Who came in 1983, playing Captain Wrack, one of the Eternals, in the last two episodes of the Fifth Doctor story Enlightenment

In the 1990's she played Auntie Mabel in the 1990s BBC children's show Come Outside and played Grandma in the pre-school series Fimbals. Other appearances included roles in Doctors, The Upper Hand, Come Outside, Coronation Street, Down to Earth, Fat Friends and Chasing Shadows.

In 2000 she played opposite Bernard Cribbins in the BBC One drama Down to Earth about a couple who move to a farm in Devon.

Her third appearance in Doctor Who came in 2011 alongside Matt Smith playing Val Cane in the story Closing Time.

At Christmas 2013 she reprised her most famous role, playing Nurse Gladys in a one-off sequel to Open All Hours called Still Open All Hours. The show was watched by over 12 million viewers, almost a 40% share in audience figures on Boxing Day, and its success led to a series being commissioned. Baron would return to the role for a further 12 episodes. 

Throughout her career, she made many stage performances. In 1987 she was in the West End version of the musical Follies, and later appeared in the stage version of 2007's In Celebration alongside Orlando Bloom. Other theatre shows included An Inspector Calls, Stepping Out and The Full Monty.

She was nominated for a Bafta Award in 2011 for her role in The Road To Coronation Street, a one-off drama about the early days of the soap, playing actress Violet Carson. 

She was still working at the age of 80 appearing in the film Dream Horse, about a racehorse breeder

Lynda Baron's death was announced by her agent who said

Her iconic roles were loved by all generations, she was a leading light of our world.

We extend our deepest condolences to her daughter Sarah, her son Morgan and all her family,