Penelope Wilton
English actress
Penelope Wilton
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.
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<i>Brief Encounters</i>: What's a Little Frilly Lingerie Among Proper Brits?
Huffington Post - 4 months
The import series Brief Encounters proves again that while British actresses often seem as prim as their country's reputation, they also love a chance to get naughty every so often. You could call Brief Encounters a period piece of sorts, since it's set in the early 1980s, but this is a very different sort of costume drama. The outfits here run toward skimpy underwear, the type popularized in Britain by Ann Summers. The fashion style might be called Victoria's Secret, with a few electronic devices for accessories, and the marketing style was Tupperware. Bring a few friends into the house, show off the product, and encourage them to buy. The product here is a charming six-episode comedy that has been imported by Acorn ( and will be available starting Monday. Penelope Wilton (above) stands out in the ensemble cast as Pauline Spake, one of a loosely connected group of women who tumble into the Ann Summers business. Pauline is a middle-aged woman with ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Rebecca Hall 'Blown Away' By Steven Spielberg's On-Screen Adaptation Of 'The BFG'
Huffington Post - 8 months
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Huffington Post article
Watch: Penelope Wilton Talks 'The BFG' on 'GMA'
ABC News - 8 months
The "Downton Abbey" actress is live in Times Square to discuss her role in the new film based on the beloved novel of the same name.
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ABC News article
<i>Downton Abbey</i> & the Roar of Women Rising
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Downton Abbey, either the series or the fictional estate, might seem like an unlikely incubator for 20th century feminism. But by the time the most popular series in PBS history wraps up this March, empowered women could be one of its strongest legacies. "If anyone hadn't realized it by now," says creator and executive producer Gareth Neame, "women rule the roost on this show. The men may think they do, but it's the women who decide almost all of what happens." He's got a good body of evidence to support that assertion. Dowager Countess Violet (Maggie Smith) is an iron pillar, and her friend Isobel Crawley (Penelope Wilton) has shown an equally strong will. Cora Crawley (Elizabeth McGovern), also known as Lady Grantham, often must steer her sometimes befuddled husband Robert (Hugh Bonneville) in the right direction. The Grantham daughters (above), born into a society where their sole duty was ornamental, all stepped out of that boring box. The late Lady Sybil (Je ...
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Huffington Post article
Penelope Wilton Breaks Down Isobel and Violet as the Elder Stateswomen of 'Downton Abbey'
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Among many other things, the end of Downton Abbey this March will wrap up one of TV's most charming buddy relationships, between Maggie Smith's Dowager Countess Violet and Penelope Wilton's Isobel Crawley. Wilton says she'll miss it, too - and while she's at it, she would also like it to be remembered for its substance, not just its entertainment value. Fans have come to cherish the friendship, despite its comparatively modest amount of screen time, because what began as a beautifully played verbal duel between Isobel and Violet has been enriched by a deep and growing mutual respect and affection. Violet (above left) comes to their exchanges as the aristocrat, conscious and protective of her social status and that of her class. She sees most change, accurately, as the enemy of the world in which she lives. Isobel (above right) comes from the distant fringes of royalty and identifies more with the folks outside the gates of Downton. The tone for the relationship wa ...
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Huffington Post article
Steven Spielberg and Disney combine for first time on The BFG
Guardian (UK) - almost 2 years
The adaptation of Roald Dahl’s classic story will star Mark Rylance, Rebecca Hall and Penelope Wilton Steven Spielberg has found himself directing a Disney movie for the first time after the Hollywood studio joined upcoming Roald Dahl adaptation The BFG, reports Deadline. The first big-screen outing for Dahl’s whizzpopping giant - British firm Cosgrove Hall produced a much-loved David Jason-voiced film for television in 1989 - was announced last year. Stage icon and Wolf Hall star Mark Rylance will play the BFG, with newcomer Ruby Barnhill as Sophie. Related: The BFG needs careful handling, Mr Spielberg Continue reading...
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Guardian (UK) article
Richard Gere, David Strathairn Check Into 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2'
Huffington Post - about 3 years
The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel for the Elderly and Beautiful is open for business again, and this time it will feature a few new guests. Richard Gere, David Strathairn and Tamsin Greig ("Episodes") have officially checked into "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2," which Fox Searchlight Pictures reveals has started filming in India. Gere and the others join returning stars Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton, Dev Patel, Celia Imrie and Ronald Pickup for the sequel. In it, Sonny (Patel) is overwhelmed by the hotel's expansion, while Evelyn and Douglas (Dench and Nighy, respectively) explore their new relationship and Madge (Imrie) must choose between two eligible bachelors. All the while, crotchety Muriel (Smith) proves to be everyone's confidant in her role as co-manager of the hotel. Everything is further complicated by the arrival of Guy (Gere) and Lavinia (Greig), who must adapt to the hotel's limited vacancy. No release date is set for "Marigold Hotel 2," which h ...
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Huffington Post article
'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' Gets A Sequel
Huffington Post - over 3 years
You can check out anytime you like, but you can never leave: "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" is getting a sequel. Penelope Wilton, who played Jean Ainslie in the Golden Globe-nominated film, told Radio Times that the cast will come together once again in January. Judi Dench, Bill Nighy and Maggie Smith are among the cast members who will fly to India in January to begin filming a sequel. "We had a wonderful time shooting this film the first time and I am thrilled we will be going back in January to do another one. As far as I know everybody will be returning," Wilton said in the interview. It is also being reported that nearly all of the production team will return, with the second installment written again by Ol Parker. The 2011 film was a surprise box-office success; it's based on the 2004 novel "These Foolish Things" by Deborah Moggach. Watch the full trailer for "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel" below.
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Huffington Post article
'Shut The French Windows!'
Huffington Post - about 4 years
LOS ANGELES — Quotes from the 19th annual Screen Actors Guild Awards. ___ "I'm just so thrilled I have dental." – Best supporting actress winner Anne Hathaway after accepting her Screen Actors Guild award for her role in "Les Miserables." ___ "Just tape the `Big Bang Theory' for once, for crying out loud." – Best supporting comedy actress winner Tina Fey, whose show "30 Rock" is ending its run this week and is going up against a show more popular in the ratings. ___ "If I made him laugh a couple of times, I think he'd be happy enough with that." – Best actor winner Daniel Day-Lewis on what President Abraham Lincoln might think of his performance. ___ "To me this has nothing to do with me, it has to do with the incredible people who were in this movie." – Ben Affleck, whose film "Argo" won for best movie cast. ___ "You can probably tell from my public speaking that I haven't gotten that much advice. I'm still waiting to get a couple tips on ...
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Huffington Post article
The Surprising Person Who Introduced Shirley MacLaine To 'Downton Abbey'
Huffington Post - about 4 years
Shirley MacLaine learned about "Downton Abbey" from her hairdresser. MacLaine told "The New York Times" she wasn't aware of the program beforehand, but that hairdresser gossip brought her into the world of Lord Grantham and Co. "I didn’t know 'Downton Abbey,'" MacLaine said. "I learned about it at my hairdresser. Really. I look at PBS for news ... [A]ll the girls were talking about it. They were trying to figure out who was Elizabeth McGovern’s mother, and whether she was a Rothschild, whether she was Jewish. The next thing I knew I got a call from my agent about playing Elizabeth McGovern’s mother. I’d better look at this. And whoa -- I got addicted for a full week." MacLaine admitted to falling hard for one character in particular: Mr. Bates (Brendan Coyle). That's why she met with creator Julian Fellowes about taking the role. "I think I wanted to meet Bates, basically. And of course Julian, being so wily, arranged a lunch at which nobody else was there but Bates," sh ...
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Huffington Post article
Maureen Ryan: The Case For And Against 'Downton Abbey'
The Huffington Post - about 4 years
This court will now come to order. In the dock today, we find "Downton Abbey" (Sunday, January 6 at 9 p.m. EST on PBS), a phenomenon whose popularity rivals that of Justin Bieber and "Homeland" put together. (If you get bored as you read this brief for and against the British import, you're allowed to wonder what "Homeland" would be like if Bieber guest-starred on it. You're welcome.) You probably won't be able to avoid the third season of "Downton," even if you'd wanted to, so we might as well review the show's strengths and sins together. Oh yes, there are sins to be found, or rather, a series of mostly avoidable mistakes that are almost up there with mistaking the shrimp fork for the dessert fork. I kid, because I know what "Downton Abbey" is -- it's unquestionably one of television's most contrived confections, and there's nothing wrong with contrivances as long as they serve a greater purpose. But what is that purpose, exactly? I wish I could ignore those ...
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The Huffington Post article
Geoff Cox’s guide to new DVDs: The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and more
The Bucks Herald - over 4 years
WHEN I booked into THE BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL (12: Twentieth Century Fox) at my local multiplex in February, I didn’t expect any surprises. This manipulative charmer does exactly what it says on the posters and TV ads. It may be slightly predictable, yet this poignant tale never strays from satisfying, feel-good magic. Seven English pensioners looking for a fresh start are drawn to an advert for an hotel in the Indian city of Jaipur and plan to spend their retirement there. Lured by the promise of cheap luxury at the establishment of the title, the hotel, run by ever-optimistic manager Sonny Kapoor (Dev Patel), turns out to be a dump. Sonny’s enthusiasm wins them over and the pensioners’ shared experiences and their own adventures in the city has a transformative effect. Muriel (Maggie Smith) won’t eat anything that she can’t pronounce, but her xenophobia mellows, while Douglas (Bill Nighy), henpecked by wife Jean (Penelope Wilton), finds himself and Evelyn (Judi Dench) is fac ...
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The Bucks Herald article
Retirees Find Hope, Love & Adventure in Exotic Indian Hotel
CNN iReport - almost 5 years
What do you get when you mix a powerhouse of gifted British actors, a brilliant director and an exotic Indian hotel? You get one of the best films you will ever want to see! Academy Award-winning actress (and “M” persona) Dame Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Maggie Smith, Tom Wilkinson, Penelope Wilton, Ronald Pickup and Celia Imrie are thrust into a world that is so foreign yet so familiar in the new romantic comedy ”The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel” directed by the ingenious John Madden (Shakespeare in Love) The movie also stars super talented “Slumdog Millionaire” actor Dev Patel and beautiful newcomer, actress Tena Desea who plays Patel’s love interest. The story is based on the novel “These Foolish Things,” written by Deborah Moggach. Without giving much of the story line away, the film focuses on a group of recent retired British folks who decide go to India for a life of tranquility, serenity and relaxation. What they get in return is anything but and the glamorous hotel that they all ...
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CNN iReport article
This Week at the Movies
Bayside Patch - almost 5 years
“The Avengers” is, if nothing else, one of Hollywood’s most successful marketing triumphs of recent years. The picture, which grossed a whopping $200 million this past weekend, has drawn together comic book characters Iron Man (Robert Downey, Jr.), Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and The Hulk (Mark Ruffalo), each of whom have previously appeared in their own feature film. Add “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” creator Joss Whedon as director and throw a few minor characters into the mix – Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) – and there you have it - a cultural phenomenon. In this case, it’s a pretty decent one. While “The Avengers” does not live up to the near-deafening hype that has led up to its release, it’s a solid big budget action film. The film’s plot: Villain Loki (Tom Hiddleston), Thor’s wicked brother, arrives on Earth with plans of world domination, Fury gathers together the gang and ...
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Bayside Patch article
This Week In Movie Trailers: Ben Stiller's New Comedy Gets A Title Change In Light Of Trayvon Martin Shooting
Business Insider - almost 5 years
What a week for summer movies! Most of the trailers this week have been worthy of individual fanfare. You've seen the sneak peeks for "The Amazing Spider-Man," "The Expendables," "The Dark Knight Rises" and "Prometheus" but now it's time for the smaller budget fare and the red-band comedies.  This week we have an eclectic selection of movies. Ben Stiller's old "Neighborhood Watch" has just become "The Watch" thanks to the unfortunate similarities the name shares with the Trayvon Martin shooting. The poor film hasn't even gotten the proper advertising fanfare because of it.  We also have a mixture of weird "Tree of Life"-style documentary to a dramedy about old, white, British people in India.  "The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel"– May 4th  First up is the trailer for this coming-of-old-age dramedy. Dame Judi Dench, Dame Maggie Smith, Penelope Wilton ("Downton Abbey"), Tom Wilkinson and more elderly British actors star in this film about a group of old people who want to rediscov ...
Article Link:
Business Insider article
A Who’s Who Guide to ‘The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel’
BBC Blogs- America - almost 5 years
The cast of 'The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel' - including Bill Nighy (left) Dame Judi Dench (center), Dev Patel (6th left) and Celia Imrue (right) arriving for the UK premiere. (Yui Mok/AP Images) How many recognizable British stars, senior division, can you cram into one movie? The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel manages to feature more than a half dozen, and since most of these stars are getting on in years, better to praise them now rather than wait. The movie is a fun romp about a group of English geezers who move to a dilapidated hotel in Jaipur, India in hopes of living more cheaply in retirement. It opens today (Friday, May 4). Its impressive cast includes Dames Maggie Smith and Judi Dench, Tom Wilkinson, Penelope Wilton, Bill Nighy and Celia Imrie. (As a bonus, Julie Christie puts in a brief appearance near the end.) At the opposite end of the age curve is Dev Patel, the young Anglo-Indian actor who became a star in Slumdog Millionaire. In Marigold Hotel, he plays an ambi ...
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BBC Blogs- America article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Penelope Wilton
  • 2015
    Age 68
    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.
    More Details Hide Details Her film appearances include Clockwise (1986), Cry Freedom (1987), Calendar Girls (2003), Shaun of the Dead (2004), Match Point (2005), Pride & Prejudice (2005), The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel (2012), The Girl (2012) and The BFG (2016). Wilton was born in Scarborough, North Yorkshire, the daughter of Alice Travers, a tap dancer and former actress, and Clifford William Wilton, a businessman. She is a niece of actors Bill Travers and Linden Travers and a cousin of the actor Richard Morant. Her maternal grandparents owned theatres.
  • 2012
    Age 65
    In 2012, she received an honorary doctorate from the University of Hull's Scarborough Campus. Between 1975 and 1984, Wilton was married to the actor Daniel Massey.
    More Details Hide Details They had a daughter, Alice, born in 1977. Before this, the couple endured the trauma of a stillborn child.
    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.
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  • 2008
    Age 61
    She was the castaway on BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs in April 2008.
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  • 2005
    Age 58
    Wilton appeared on television as Barbara Poole, the mother of a missing woman, in the BBC television drama series Five Days in 2005; and in ITV's drama Half Broken Things (October 2007) and the BBC production of The Passion (Easter 2008).
    More Details Hide Details Since 2010, she has appeared as Isobel Crawley in the hit period drama Downton Abbey.
    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.
    More Details Hide Details This guest role was written especially for her by the programme's chief writer and executive producer Russell T. Davies, with whom she had worked on Bob and Rose (ITV, 2001). The character of Jones returned as Prime Minister in the Doctor Who 2005 Christmas special "The Christmas Invasion". In the first part of the 2008 series finale, "The Stolen Earth", she made a final appearance, now as the former Prime Minister who sacrifices herself for extermination by the Daleks so that the Doctor's companions can contact him. She appeared in four episodes.
  • 1991
    Age 44
    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.
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  • 1984
    Age 37
    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.
    More Details Hide Details She played Ann, long suffering wife of Martin (Briers), an obsessive and pedantic "do-gooder".
  • 1972
    Age 25
    Her television acting career began in 1972, playing Vivie Warren in Mrs. Warren's Profession opposite Robert Powell.
    More Details Hide Details She then had several major TV roles, including two of the BBC Television Shakespeare productions (as Desdemona in Othello and Regan in King Lear). Wilton's film career includes roles in The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981), Cry Freedom (1987), Iris (2001), Calendar Girls (2003) and Shaun of the Dead (2004), Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice (2005), Woody Allen's Match Point (2005), and in The History Boys (2006).
  • 1971
    Age 24
    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.
    More Details Hide Details She had previously appeared in both plays at the Royal Court Theatre. She played Ruth in the original 1974 London stage production of Alan Ayckbourn's Norman Conquests trilogy.
  • 1969
    Age 22
    Wilton began her career on stage in 1969 at the Nottingham Playhouse.
    More Details Hide Details Her early roles included Cordelia in King Lear, both in Nottingham and at The Old Vic.
  • 1965
    Age 18
    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.
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  • 1946
    Born on June 3, 1946.
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