Penelope Wilton

Born Jun 3, 1946

Penelope Alice Wilton, OBE is an English actress of stage, film and TV. Chiefly famous for starring opposite Richard Briers in the BBC situation comedy Ever Decreasing Circles, she has also appeared in Doctor Who and the period drama Downton Abbey, among many other productions. She has twice won the Critics Circle Theatre Award. Wilton has been married to two distinguished actors, Daniel Massey and Ian Holm.… Read More

related links

News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Penelope Wilton.


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Penelope Wilton.


1946 Birth Born on June 3, 1946.


1965 19 Years Old She and her sisters, Rosemary and Linda, attended the convent school in Newcastle upon Tyne, at which their mother had previously taught. She attended the Drama Centre London from 1965 to 1968.


1969 23 Years Old Wilton began her career on stage in 1969 at the Nottingham Playhouse. … Read More
1971 25 Years Old She made her Broadway debut in March 1971 when she played Araminta in the original Broadway production of The Philanthropist, and made her West End debut in August 1971 opposite Sir Ralph Richardson, in the John Osborne play West of Suez at the Cambridge Theatre. … Read More
1972 26 Years Old Her television acting career began in 1972, playing Vivie Warren in Mrs. Warren's Profession opposite Robert Powell. … Read More


1984 38 Years Old She did not become a household name until she appeared with Richard Briers in the 1984 BBC situation comedy, Ever Decreasing Circles, which ran for five years. … Read More


1991 45 Years Old In 1991, Wilton married Ian Holm (in 1998, after he was knighted, she became Lady Holm) and they appeared together as Pod and Homily in the BBC's 1993 adaptation of The Borrowers. They were divorced in 2001.


2005 59 Years Old 1 More Event
In 2005, Wilton guest starred as Harriet Jones for two episodes in the BBC's revival of the popular TV science-fiction series Doctor Who. … Read More


2008 62 Years Old She was the castaway on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs in April 2008.
2012 66 Years Old 1 More Event
In December 2012 and February 2013, she was the narrator in Lin Coghlan's dramatisation of Elizabeth Jane Howard's The Cazalets, broadcast on BBC Radio. Wilton was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2004 New Year Honours and a Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2016 Birthday Honours, both for services to drama.
2015 69 Years Old Wilton has had an extensive career on stage, receiving six Olivier Award nominations. She was nominated for Man and Superman (1981), The Secret Rapture (1988), The Deep Blue Sea (1994), John Gabriel Borkman (2008) and The Chalk Garden (2009), before winning the 2015 Olivier Award for Best Actress for Taken at Midnight. … Read More
Original Authors of this text are noted on
Text is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.