Born: July 23, 1926; Died:May 2, 2012
Charlotte Mitchell, who has died aged 85 of pneumonia after suffering from breast cancer and myeloma, was an actress, writer and poet who was a revue star in the 1940s and 1950s but was best known for her portrayal of the housekeeper in the popular Sunday teatime series The Adventures of Black Beauty, from 1972 to 1974.
Born Edna Mitchell in Ipswich, Suffolk, she was the daughter of an engineer and a district nurse. Known to all as Bunty, she trained as a dancer but switched to acting after a knee injury and worked in rep before becoming a a revue star. She appeared in Tuppence Coloured (1947), alongside Joyce Grenfell, Oranges and Lemons (1948), Penny Plain (1951), and From Here and There (1955) with June Whitfield. She also contributed material to Airs on a Shoestring (1953), alongside Michael Flanders and Donald Swann, and Look Who's Here! (1960).
She also appeared in the Goon Show as Maid Marian in Ye Bandit of Sherwood Forest (1954) and Tales of Montmartre (1956) and Ian Carmichael's wife in The Small, Intricate Life of Gerald C Potter, and his mother in adaptations of Dorothy L Sayers' novels about Lord Peter Wimsey.
Besides Black Beauty, Mitchell took part in the sketch series And So to Bentley, in 1947, starring Take it From Here's Dick Bentley. She was also seen in Not in Front of the Children (1967-70) as well as And Mother Makes Five (1975-76), both with Wendy Craig.
As Amy Winthrop, the housekeeper in the ITV hit The Adventures of Black Beauty (which boasted the catchy theme tune, Galloping Home, written by Denis King and performed by the London String Chorale), she starred alongside William Lucas, who played Dr James Gordon, a widowed GP moving from London to set up a country practice. Her last regular role was as PC Phil Bellamy's grandmother in Heartbeat (1997-99).
In addition, Mitchell appeared in 18 feature films, including The Happiest Days of Your Life (1950), The Man in the White Suit (1951), Village of the Damned (1960) and The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981). She also carved herself a reputation as a poet, her work frequently receiving requests on BBC Radio 4's Poetry Please.
As a writer for television, Mitchell created the children's series The Kids from 47A (1973) and her plays included Summer and Winter (1965) and Buns for the Elephant (1976).
Her marriage in 1952 to the actor Philip Guard ended in divorce. She is survived by him and their three children, Christopher, Dominic and Candy.
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