I really enjoyed meeting Joanna at Autographica in 2008. She had lots of time to chat to everyone and was very friendly. She signed two photographs for me and also my Jeff Marshall litho of On Her Majesty's Secret Service.
Along with everyone else, I signed her Gurkha petiton that she was soon to be handing in at 10 Downing Street.
Joanna Lamond Lumley was born in Kashmir, India in 1946. Her British father was a major serving with the 6th Gurkha Rifles. Joanna attended army schools in Hong Kong and Malaya where her father was posted. After Indian Independence in 1949, the Lumleys settled in Kent, England. Joanna was educated at St Mary's School in Sussex, England, and afterwards attended the Lucie Clayton finishing school.
She auditioned for RADA in 1962 but was not accepted so she turned instead to modelling. She was a particular favourite of famous fashion designer Jean Muir, and was photographed by top photographers including Patrick Lichfield.
Despite being a successful photographic model, her interest in acting remained and she had a series of small bit-parts, firstly in the film
Joanna Lumley in 1965
Joanna Lumley as The English Girl in
On Her Majesty's Secret Service
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969).
film Some Girls Do (1969), and then in the James Bond adventure
Joanna Lumley photographed by
Patrick Lichfield in 1965
Joanna Lumley as Purdey in
The New Avengers
Small parts in TV's Coronation Street and Are You Being Served brought her further public recognition and, when ITV
'pin-up' for countless men, and her hairstyle (known as the 'Purdey Bob') was copied by many women at the time. Lumley later played a similar role as the mysterious Sapphire in Sapphire & Steel (1979-82) opposite David McCallum as Steel.
Joanna Lumley in as The German Girl in
announced that a revival of TheAvengers was to be made called The New Avengers (1976-77), it was Joanna Lumley who landed the role of Purdey (a role for which more than 800 girls auditioned). She followed the likes of Honor Blackman and Diana Rigg as Patrick Macnee’s 'glamour puss' in 26 episodes! She became a
Are You Being Served
This show also achieved great popularity in America. Joanna Lumley won a British Comedy Award for Absolutely Fabulous in 1993 also two BAFTA awards for the same show. It received four further nominations in 1996, 97, 99 & 2002!
Little was seen of Joanna during the 1980s, but in 1992 came the iconic role of the chain-smoking, alcoholic fashion magazine editor Patsy Stone in the TV comedy Absolutely Fabulous (1992-2005). This amazingly successful comedy ran for 37 episodes over thirteen years and co-starred Jennifer Saunders and Julia Sawalha.
Joanna Lumley and David McCallum in Sapphire & Steel
Joanna Lumley signed this photo for me
It is a publicity shot for The New Avengers but
without her 'Purdey bob' hairstyle
Joanna hosts the BAFTA 60th
BAFTA award winner!
Jennifer Saunders & Joanna Lumley in
Other prominent TV work has included 14 episodes of Class Act (1994) in which Lumley plays Kate Swift ("I was a rich bitch! I was good at it! I liked it!"...); The Tale of Sweeney Todd (1997); A Rather English Marriage (1998) and Nancherrow (1999).
More recently she has appeared as Davina Jackson in 6 episodes of Sensitive Skin (2005) and as the elderly and eccentric church organist Delilah Stagg in six memorable epi-
Joanna Lumley's film roles have generally been smaller ones like Jessica van Helsing in The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973); Marjorie Majors in Shirley Valentine (1989); Aunt Spiker in James and the Giant Peach (1996); Elinor Glyn in The Cat's Meow (2001) and Dame Olga in Ella Enchanted (2004).
Joanna as Kate Swift in Class Act
Joanna as Diana in Nancherrow
Joanna Lumley as Davina Jackson in
Joanna Lumley as Delilah Stagg in
Jam & Jerusalem
sodes of the BBC's Jam & Jerusalem (2006) alongside Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders and Sue Johnston. She has also provided the voice for several animated TV productions including Annie the rag doll in The Forgotten Toys (1999) and Sims the chicken in the BAFTA award winning series The Foxbusters (1999).
Joanna Lumley as Elinor Glyn
in The Cat's Meow
Christopher Lee & Joanna Lumley in
The Satanic Rites of Dracula
Geraldine McEwan & Joanna Lumley in
Agatha Christie's The Body in the Library
Joanna Lumley made her stage debut in 1972 in the farce Not Now Darling in Canterbury. Another farce Don't Just Lie There, Say Something saw her team w
Joanna signing my Purdey photograph
An Ideal Husband, at Chichester. In 2007 she played Madame Renevskaya in Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard at the Crucibe Theatre in Sheffield.
up with Brian Rix and Alfred Marks at the Garrick Theatre. Other plays during the 1970s included Osborne's The End of Me Old Cigar and a national tour of Private Lives. In the 1980s she played the title role in Ibsen's Hedda Gabler in Dundee; Elvira in the West End production of Noel Coward's Blithe Spirit and Mrs Cheveley in Oscar Wilde's An
Joanna Lumley as Madame Renevskaya
In 1994 Joanna took part in the BBC programme Girl Friday in which she was left to fend for herself on a desert island for 10 days, during which time she famously used her bra to make into shoes!
In 2008 Joanna Lumley led a campaign to give all Gurkha veterans serving in the British Army before 1997 the same right to settle in Britain as those serving after 1997. She said, "My own father served with the Gurkhas for 30 years. Like so many people in Britain, I am ashamed at how successive governments
Joanna has signed this photo for me
in Chekhov's The Cherry Orchard
governments have failed these magnificent and loyal soldiers". In November 2008, Joanna took a petition, signed by over a quarter of a million people, to No. 10 Downing Street asking for justice for the Gurkhas.
Joanna also supports animal rights charities, is patron of the Born Free Foundation (in 1986 she gave away her 1986 Ferrari 328 GTS to raise £30,000 for the charity). She also supports the mental health charities MIND and SANE. She is very passionate about environmental matters too, and sponsors the Joanna Lumley Fellowship in Environmental Science at Oxford University.
Joanna campaigns for animal rights
Joanna was given an OBE in 1995, and in May 2000 she received a BAFTA Special Award for her role in The New Avengers. In 2000, she was awarded an hon-
Joanna Lumley takes her Gurkha petition to
orary degree from Oxford Brookes University, another from the University of St. Andrews in 2006 and an honorary doctorate from Queen's University, Belfast in 2008. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS).
No. 10 Downing Street
Joanna Lumley was very briefly married to the comedy writer Jeremy Lloyd in 1970 but now lives with her second husband, conductor Stephen Barlow whom she married in 1986. She has one son, James, who was born in 1967 from a relationship with the photographer Michael Claydon.
Joanna at Oxford Brookes to
receive her degree
Joanna Lumley has written several books including he
Joanna is a car enthusiast whose favourite TV programme is Top Gear, her favourite car being a Triumph Stag convertible! At the 2007 Chelsea Flower Show, she had a fuchsia named after her.
her memoir Stare Back and Smile (1989), her account of her ten days alone on a desert island Girl Friday (1994), and her rather quirky autobiography No Room for Secrets (2005).
Joanna Lumley at the Chelsea Flower
Show with a fuchsia that has been
named after her
No Room For Secrets
Click on a name below to take you to that page
Joanna Lumley celebrates her campaign success to give
equal rights to Gurkha veterans