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Rose Hill

Actress Rose Hill was best known to television viewers for her role as the bedridden Fanny in the hit BBC1 comedy series ‘Allo ‘Allo. She began playing the part when she was almost 70 and continued through the entire ten-year run of the series.

Born in London on June 5, 1914, Hill won a scholarship to study at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama. She began her career as an opera singer and worked at the Glynde-bourne and the Sadler’s Wells Theatre Company.

She later decided to become a straight actress and appeared in small roles in productions such as The Diary of a Nobody (Arts) and Terence Rattigan’s Separate Tables (Criterion).

Throughout the sixties and seventies she was rarely off television screens, playing a variety of small but notable character parts in series such as Steptoe and Son (1965), Dad’s Army (1970) and Happy Ever After (1976).

She had a meatier role as Fay Bridge in Thingummy-bob (1968) in which she appeared opposite Stanley Holloway. Later she played Annie in Born and Bred (1978, 1980) with the comedian Max Wall who she had appeared with on stage, some years earlier, in a production of Arnold Wesker’s The Old Ones (Royal Court).

She made several films including the second Pink Panther picture, A Shot in the Dark (1964), Every Home Should Have One (1970) with Marty Feldman and she played Miss Martingale in the abortive revival of the St Trinian’s films, The Wildcats of St Trinian’s (1980).

Her later stage work included appearances with the Royal Court Theatre and notably with the RSC when she played both Miss La Creevy and Mrs Gruden in the award-winning production of Nicholas Nickleby (1982).

In 1986 she played Fraulein Blumenblatt in the National Theatre’s production of On the Razzle.

Patrick Newley

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