HODGE, PATRICIA

British Actor

Patricia Hodge is a versatile and familiar face in British television comedy and drama. Her credits extend from the situation comedy Holding the Fort to supporting roles in long-running drama serials, such as Rumpole of the Bailey, and leading parts in specials and mini-series like The Life and Loves of a She-Devil.

Hodge's abilities as an actress were evident even before she completed her training at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, where she won the Eveline Evans Award for Best Actress. Prior to establishing herself in television and film she gathered valuable stage experience, appearing in major productions of plays as varied as Rookery Nook, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Hair and Look Back in Anger. With her vivacious good looks, half-closed eyes and distinctive, sharp-lined mouth, she proved herself equally adept at playing sultry temptresses and outraged harpies with a cruel streak, among other contrasting roles. The one single factor common to the majority of her characters has been their patently aristocratic birth.

As a television performer, Hodge was warmly received as well-spoken barrister Phyllida Trant in support to a rascally Leo McKern in Rumpole of the Bailey, a role in which she reappeared many times. Her first starring parts came in the situation comedies The Other 'Arf, in which she was MP John Standing's snobbish spurned partner Sybilla Howarth, and Holding the Fort, a somewhat lacklustre series in which she was paired with Peter Davison as a newly married young mother experimenting with role reversal, going back to work while her restless husband stayed at home to do the chores.

By now established as a player of ladies of distinctly elevated backgrounds, Hodge was an obvious choice for Lady Antonia Fraser's aristocratic amateur sleuth Jemima Shore in Jemima Shore Investigates, sniffing out crimes among the nobility. Hodge's playing was widely recognized as the best feature of an otherwise very ordinary effort, which despite her contribution was fated to be only short-lived. Also wealthy and well-connected was her character in Fay Weldon's far more successful The Life and Loves of a She-Devil -- the arrogant and man-stealing best-selling novelist Mary Fisher finally brought low by the vengeful Ruth Patchett (played by Julie T. Wallace). Also worthy of note have been her performances as Julia Merrygrove in Rich Tea and Sympathy and guest appearances in shows ranging from Softly, Softly, The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes and Inspector Morse to Victoria Wood: Staying In and The Full Wax, in which she showed a refreshing readiness to allow herself to be made fun of.

-David Pickering

 


Patricia Hodge
Photo courtesy of British Film Institute

PATRICIA HODGE. Born in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire, England. 29 September 1946. Attended Wintringham Girls' Grammar School, Grimsby; St Helen's School, Northwood, Middlesex; Maria Grey College, Twickenham; London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, Eveline Evans Award for Best Actress. Married: Peter Owen in 1976; children: Alexander and Edward. Worked as a teacher; stage debut at the Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, 1971; popular leading lady in television drama series. Address: Michael Foster, ICM Ltd, Oxford House, 76 Oxford Street, London W1R 1RB, England.

TELEVISION SERIES

1978-90 Rumpole of the Bailey
1978     Edward and Mrs Simpson
1979-82 Holding the Fort
1979-80, 1981 The Other 'Arf
1980     Nanny
1981     Winston Churchill: The Wilderness Years 1982     Jemima Shore Investigates
1986    The Life and Loves of a She-Devil
1991    Rich Tea and Sympathy
1992    The Cloning of Joanna May

TELEVISION SPECIALS

1975 The Girls of Slender Means
1975 The Naked Civil Servant
1984 Hay Fever
1985 The Death of the Heart
1986 Hotel du Lac
1988 Heat of the Day
1989 The Shell Seekers
1989 The Secret Life of Ian Fleming

FILMS

The Disappearance, 1978; Rosie Dixon--Night Nurse, 1978; The Waterloo Bridge Handicap, 1979; The Elephant Man, 1980; Heavy Metal, 1981; Riding High, 1981; Betrayal, 1983; Behind Enemy Lines, 1985; Dust to Dust, 1985; Skin, 1986; The Second Stain, 1986; 92 Grosvenor Street, 1987; Sunset, 1987; Falcon's Maltester, 1987; Thieves in the Night, 1988; Just Ask for Diamond, 1988.

STAGE

No-One Was Saved, 1971; Rookery Nook, 1972; Popkiss, 1972; Two Gentlemen of Verona, 1973; Pippin, 1973; Hair, 1974; The Beggar's Opera, 1975; Pal Joey, 1976; Look Back in Anger, 1976; Then and Now, 1979; The Mitford Girls, 1981; As You Like It, 1983; Benefactors, 1984; Lady in the Dark, 1988; NoŽl and Gertie, 1989-90; Shades, 1992; Separate Tables, 1993; The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie, 1994.