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Joanna Lumley    

Joanna Lumley

Purdey, The New Avengers, 1976-77

by David K. Smith

Born on 1 May 1946 (7:30 PM IST) in Srinagar, Kashmir, India, Joanna Lamond Lumley was the daughter of a high-born British military major. Upon moving to Britain in her teens, she trained as a dancer and, after failing her RADA audition, she did a modeling stint, although she was once told that she was "too fat and too ugly." One of her first acting opportunities was a bit part in On Her Majesty's Secret Service (a coincidence in that it starred Diana Rigg).

Her career followed in the same unremarkable vein for several years until she won the role of Purdey in The New Avengers, and the considerable effort it took to do so paid off by finally gaining her some decent exposure. Her career continued smoothly, if unspectacularly, until she wound up on the sitcom Absolutely Fabulous playing the notorious Patsy Stone, at which point critics and fans declared that she had staged a "comeback." Whether or not this was actually the case, her AbFab character nevertheless had become so popular that she was being imitated in TV commercials by John Cleese, and she has been quite busy ever since.

Joanna married comedy writer Jeremy Lloyd in 1971 and divorced soon after. Currently married to Steven Barlow, she is a vegetarian and an animal rights crusader, and has a son named Jamie.


  • BAFTA (2000) for The Avengers
  • BAFTA (1995) for Absolutely Fabulous
  • OBE (1995)


 Books available for purchase

  • Joanna Lumley in the Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon
  • Girl Friday
  • Forces Sweetheart
  • Stare Back and Smile
  • Joanna Lumley: The Biography (Ewbank and Hildred)


1995  The Letter

Leslie Crosby

1992  Who Shall I Be Tomorrow?

1990  Vanilla

Miralda Sumac

1990  In Praise of Rattigan

1987  An Ideal Husband

Mrs. Cheveley

1986  Blithe Spirit


1984  Hedda Gabler

Hedda Gabler

1982  Noel and Gertie

Gertrude Lawrence

1981  Private Lives


1980  As You Like It

Amanda Prynne

1975  Othello


1975  The End of Me Old Cigar

1971  Don't Just Lie There, Say Something

Miss Parkyn

1971  Not Now Darling



2005  Tim Burton's Corpse Bride

Voice of Maudeline

2005  The Magic Roundabout

Voice of Ermintrude

2004  Ella Enchanted

Dame Olga

2004  Euro Trip

Hostel Clerk

2004  Standing Room Only

Last in Line

2001  The Cat's Meow

Elinor Glyn

2000  Maybe Baby


2000  Whispers: An Elephant's Tale

Voice of Half Tusk

1999  Mad Cows


1998  Little Miracles

1998  Parting Shots


1997  Prince Valiant

Morgan Le Fey

1996  James and the Giant Peach

Aunt Spiker

1995  Innocent Lies, a.k.a. Halcyon Days

Lady Helena Graves

1995  The Forgotten Toys

Voice of Annie

1989  Shirley Valentine

Marjorie Majors

1983  Curse of the Pink Panther

Countess Chandra

1982  Trail of the Pink Panther

Marie Jouvet

1980  Lady Chatterley vs. Fanny Hill

1974  The Satanic Rites of Dracula

Jessica van Helsing

1973  Don't Just Lie There, Say Something

Giselle Parkyn

1971  Two Girls

1971  Tam Lin, a.k.a. The Devil's Widow


1971  The Breaking of Bumbo


1970  Games That Lovers Play

Fanny Hill

1970  The House That Dripped Blood

1969  On Her Majesty's Secret Service

The English Girl

1969  Some Girls Do

unbilled bit part


 Teleplays/TV Movies

2001  Masterpiece Theatre: The Cazalets (Producer)

2000  Mirrorball

Jackie Riviera

1999  Nancherrow

Diana Carey-Lewis

1999  Alice in Wonderland

Voice of Tiger Lily

1998  Coming Home

Diana Carey-Lewis

1998  The Tale of Sweeney Todd

Mrs. Lovett

1998  A Rather English Marriage

Liz Franks

1996  Absolutely Fabulous: The Last Shout!

Patsy Stone

1995  Cold Comfort Farm

Mrs. Smiling

1990  A Ghost in Monte Carlo

Lady Drayton

1984  The Glory Boys


1984  Oxbridge Blues: That Was Tory


1983  That Was Tory

1983  The Weather in the Streets


1979  The Plank


1969  The Mark 2 Wife


 TV Series

1999  Willoughby M.D.

Donna Sinclair

1999  Foxbusters


1998  The Forgotten Toys

1997  Joanna Lumley in the Kingdom of the Thunderdragon


1994  Class Act

Kate Swift

1994  Girl Friday


1992  Absolutely Fabulous

Patsy Stone

1992  A Perfect Hero (miniseries)

Loretta Stone

1991  Cluedo, a.k.a. Clue

Mrs. Peacock

1991  In Search of the White Rajahs (documentary)


1984  Mistral's Daughter

Lally Longbridge

1979  Sapphire and Steel


1976  The New Avengers


1973  Coronation Street

Elaine Perkins

1972  Call My Bluff

Regular panelist

1971  It's Awfully Bad For Your Eyes, Darling

Samantha Ryder-Ross

1965  Hector's House

Voice of Zsazsa the Cat


 TV Guest Appearances

2004  Agatha Christie's Marple

"The Body in the Library"

Dolly Bantry

2004  Top Gear


2004  The Late Show


2004  This Morning


2004  Parkinson


2003  My Dad's the Prime Minister

"The School Play"


2003  Richard & Judy


2002  Friday Night with Jonathan Ross


2001  This Hour has 22 Minutes

Herself (unbilled)

1999  Comic Relief, "Doctor Who and the Curse of Fatal Death"

Herself, The 13th Doctor

1999  Parkinson

1999  Des O'Connor Tonight


1998  French and Saunders



1998  Ruby


1998  Late Lunch


1997  Clive and Anderson All Talk


1997  The Mrs. Merton Show


1996  Roseanne

"Satan, Darling"

Patsy Stone

1996  How To Be Absolutely Fabulous


1994  The Full Wax

Series 4, Program 2


1993  Saturday Zoo


1993  The Full Wax

Series 3, Program 1


1993  Comic Relief: Invasion of the Comic Tomatoes


1992  The Full Wax

Series 2, Program 1


1992  Lovejoy

"No Strings"

Victoria Cavero

1992  Lovejoy

"Out to Lunch"

Victoria Cavero

1992  Lovejoy

"Friends in High Places"

Victoria Cavero

1991  The Full Wax

Series 1, Program 4


1989  Wogan (talk show)

Guest Host

1988  Ruby's Celebrity Bash


1984  Alas Smith and Jones

Herself (unbilled)

1983  Children In Need

1983  The Kenny Everett Show

1981  The Morecambe & Wise Show


1977  Robin's Nest

Marion Nichols

1976  The Cuckoo Waltz


1975  Are You Being Served?

"German Week"

German Lady

1975  General Hospital

6 episodes

Flirty Patient

1973  Are You Being Served?

"His and Hers"

His/Her Girl

1972  Steptoe and Son

"Loathe Story"

Bunty Kennington-Stroud

Joanna Lumley on video

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Page last modified 3 March 2007.

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