Her career spanned nearly 50 years and, although famous for playing Cockney battleaxes was actually born in Middlesbrough. Today we finally said farewell to a British icon. Wendy Richard, perhaps best known as the uber-matriarch Pauline Fowler in Eastenders, succumbed to breast cancer at the age of 65.
As a northerner I have never been a particular fan of the show. For me Wendy Richard will always be remembered as the dizzy young shop assistant, Miss Brahms, in the 1970s comedy classic Are You Being Served? Now at the age of 36 I am beginning to realise just how many people I associate with my childhood who have passed on. Take AYBS? as an example. John Inman, Arthur English, Harold Bennett and Arthur Brough are no longer with us. However, who would have thought, looking at a relatively youthful Wendy Richard standing beside blue-rinsed, middle aged Mrs Slocombe played by Mollie Sugden, that the latter would still be going strong at the age of 87?
Wendy Richard began her acting career in the early Carry On films. She also had a very brief singing career, featuring on a record that shot straight to the top of the UK charts (it didn’t chart in America) in June 1962. I’ll leave you with Wendy vocally accompanying a romantically-inclined Mike Sarne on that very song entitled ‘Come Outside’.
Wendy Richard – 1943 – 2009 – RIP.