WCW: Christina Cole

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Christina Cole may not be a household name, but she should be, as she excels at playing the icy, upper crust, blond bitch in any number of historical costume movies and TV shows. From Blanche Ingram to Caroline Bingley, Cole is frequently one of my favorite characters in a show. Let’s take a look at her work!

Foyle’s War: “Among the Few” (2003)

As “Violet Davies” in this episode of the World War II-era mystery series.

2003 Foyle's War - Among the Few

Sorry, this was the best I could find!

Agatha Christie’s Marple: “The Murder at the Vicarage” (2004)

As Lettice Protheroe, the teenage daughter of the victim; I think this is set in the 1930s, but I know you will correct me if I’m wrong!

2004 Agatha Christie's Marple- The Murder at the Vicarage

Fab cone-shaped bathing suit top!

He Knew He Was Right (2004)

Oh god, I hated this 1860s-set Anthony Trollope adaptation, so I can’t remember whether Cole was any good as Nora Rowley.

2004 He Knew He Was Right

It’s too bad, because I actually don’t hate this dress, and I usually hate this era.

2004 He Knew He Was Right

Looking more Edwardian than 1860s, but probably seeing the rest of what she’s wearing would help.

Jane Eyre (2006)

As Blanche Ingram, the fabulously upper crust competition to plain Jane.

2006 Jane Eyre

SO MUCH 1830S POUF

2006 Jane Eyre

Anyone with hair that good is scary.

Doctor Who: “The Shakespeare Code” (2007)

As Lilith in this late 16th century-set episode.

Doctor Who: "The Shakespeare Code" (2007)

It’s fuzzy, but I like it! She’s wearing an actual partlet! Her hair is up!

Lost in Austen (2008)

As Caroline Bingley (aka “Frosty Knickers”) in this time-traveling take on Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

Lost in Austen (2008)

The queen of resting bitch face.

Lost in Austen (2008)

I do have questions about this French braid, but I’ll keep them to myself.

2008 Lost in Austen

Taking on Mrs. Bennet and Wickham in a FABULOUS hat.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008)

I can’t remember Cole’s part (Charlotte Warren), but it looks like she’s in the fashion show scene?

2008 Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day

DAMN she does 1940s well!

Poirot: “Appointment with Death” (2008)

Yet another Agatha Christie murder mystery, set in 1937. Cole plays Sarah, a young doctor.

2008 Poirot- Appointment with Death

Going practical in trousers.

 

Emma (2009)

Another icy Austen bitch – the snobby Mrs. Elton!

2009 Emma

I love that color on her, and the spencer is super cute!

2009 Emma

FABulous, dahling!

2009 Emma

From the ball scene.

Partners in Crime (2015)

Yet MORE Agatha Christie, this time set in the 1950s!

2015 Partners in Crime

Yet more great hair.

SS-GB (2017)

A murder mystery set in an alternative history where the Germans have won World War II. Cole plays the sadly frumpy “Mrs. Sheehan.”

2017 SS-GB

Cast against type?

What’s your favorite of Christina Cole’s historical roles?

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About the author

Kendra

Website

Kendra has been a fixture in the online costuming world since the late 1990s. Her website, Démodé Couture, is one of the most well-known online resources for historical costumers. In the summer of 2014, she published a book on 18th-century wig and hair styling. Kendra is a librarian at a university, specializing in history and fashion. She’s also an academic, with several articles on fashion history published in research journals.

21 Responses

  1. Sam Marchiony

    I finally got around to watching Lost in Austen and boy, did I ever want to know what happened to Caroline in the end. Christina gave her a surprising amount of depth.

    Reply
  2. Julia B

    I remember her as the rather evil stepsister in What a Girls Wants with Amanda Bynes and Colin Firth. Haven’t watched that in years!

    Reply
  3. Bronwyn

    In Miss Pettigrew she’s the competing actress with Amy Adams’ character. They’re both sleeping with the young producer to get the role. Delysia calls her “the rabbit”. (Can you tell I watch this movie a lot? Ha!)

    Reply
  4. ljones1966

    Since the first thing I ever saw Christina Cole in was “Hex”, I never really associated her with bitchy roles.

    By the way, “The Murder at the Vicarage” was set in the early 1950s. And her hairstyle in “He Knew He Was Right” (a rather good production, I thought) does not look Edwardian to me.

    Reply
  5. Andrew Schroeder

    I liked the portrayal of Blanche Ingram in the 2006 version of Jane Eyre because they changed her from the stock bitchy mean girl she is in the book and actually gave her a modicum of self-awareness. Although they still fell victim to the “make the antagonist blonde to contrast with the brunette heroine” trope.

    Reply
  6. M.E. Lawrence

    Icy blond types don’t do it for me, but Cole is very skilled. She brings up a question, though: Why is Blanche Ingram so often cast as blond? Bronte describes her as tall, well built, and quite dark, “dark as a Spaniard,” or something like that. Speaking of which, is she the novel-to-film version of petite, fair-haired Katharine of Aragon, almost always played by a brunet?

    Reply
      • M.E. Lawrence

        Yeah, in the book, Jane Eyre is small and pale and has “irregular” features. So, as you point out, for contrast mean-girl Blanche is tall, dark and gorgeous. Being a smart guy, Mr. Rochester understands that Jane is admirable and his soul mate and all that, while Blanche is a gold-digging bitch.

        Bet it made the rather odd-looking Charlotte Bronte feel WONDERFUL to put all that on paper and see it become a best seller. I’ve never read a novel so fiercely on the side of its narrator and so skilled at winning the reader’s empathy as well.

        Reply

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