WCW: Miriam Margolyes

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Miriam Margolyes is one of those actresses who is in everything but a frustratingly small amount of her roles show up as images when you search for them. I think I cut out about half the period films attached to her name simply because I couldn’t find images of her online. So, if you don’t see something like Being Julia or Cold Comfort Farm or any one of a dozen other historical films listed on her IMDB page, it’s because there’s just no images online of those roles. Annoying, yes. But them’s the breaks.

 

Blackadder (1983)

 

Yentl (1983)

 

Oliver Twist (1985)

 

Blackadder II (1986)

 

Little Shop of Horrors (1986)

 

Little Dorrit (1987)

 

Blackadder’s Christmas Carol (1988)

The Age of Innocence (1993)

 

Immortal Beloved (1994)

 

Vanity Fair (1998)

 

Being Julia (2004)

 

Marple: Murder at the Vicarage (2004)

 

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (2012-2015)

 

Plebs (2016)

 

The Man Who Invented Christmas (2017)

 

Mirette (2018)

 

Call the Midwife (2018)

 

The Windsors (2020)

 

What’s your favorite of Miriam Margolyes’ historical costume movie and TV roles?

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About the author

Sarah Lorraine

Website

Sarah discovered her dual passion for history and costume right around the age of twelve. Dragged kicking and screaming to her first Renaissance Faire at Black Point, she was convinced she was going to hate it, but to her surprise, she fell head over heels in love with the world of reenactment and dress up immediately. Her undergraduate degree is in Clothing & Textile Design, and she has a Master's in Art History and Visual Culture. When she’s not hauling crap to SCA events and ren faires, Sarah enjoys reading true crime books, writing fiction, and sewing historical clothing from the Middle Ages through the 20th-century. One of these days, she might even start updating her old costuming blog again.

43 Responses

    • Richard Crossman

      there are lots of pics on the net of Pomona Sprout from Harry Potter!

      Reply
  1. MoHub

    Her Victoria in Blackadder’s Christmas Carol is my all- time favorite portrayal of the Queen, as well as my favorite Margolyes costume role. Not a period piece, but she was hilarious in a quick bit as Kevin Kline’s mother in I Love You to Death.

    Reply
    • Karen K.

      I forgot she was in I Love You To Death! I just remember being struck by the resemblance between Tracey Ullman and Joan Plowright who played her mother.

      Reply
  2. Sharon in Scotland

    Mad as a box of frogs, really good value on chat shows, completely unpretentious, fiercely intelligent, very funny………….on my “worship and adore” list

    Reply
      • Kathleen Julie Norvell

        OMG! she is freaking hilarious on the various Graham Norton shows. Totally unfiltered. You never know what she is going to say. My fave is Blackadder, but I’ve certainly been enjoying her as Aunt prudence on the Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries. She plays a character just the opposite of herself.

        Reply
        • Karen K.

          Miriam was the guest on my all-time favorite episode of Graham Norton, with Greg Davies and Will.I.Am. There’s a bit where she tells Will to stop using “like” and it is the best combination of guests I have ever seen.

          Reply
          • bunchesofun

            I LOVE that episode. Will.I.Am is hesitant about her at first but by the end of the episode you can tell he really likes and respects her and vice versa. It’s really a great episode.

            Reply
          • Sheryl

            That is my favorite episode of any chat show ever! I literally fell off my sofa laughing at Miriam and Will.I.Am and just lay on the floor for 10 minutes trying to get myself under control. The way he kept looking at her as he was talking to see if he was saying things properly. And the look in his eyes when he heard this jolly granny-looking woman telling raunchy stories!

            Reply
  3. cljhansen

    Age of Innocence for me, all the fantastic fabric and lace, in repose with her dogs, I want to be that when I grow up.

    Reply
    • M.E. Lawrence

      Agreed, although I’m biased because it’s one of my favorite movies. And, of course, M.M. is also the ultimate Dickens eccentric: truly a great character actress (I tend to like them as much, often better, than the stars).

      Reply
    • M.E. Lawrence

      Yes! My god, I’d forgotten about her being in “Babe.” That voice.

      Reply
  4. LydiaR

    I adore her in every role I’ve seen her in, particularly Blackadder and Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries. And while it’s not a frock flick, I love her as Professor Sprout – she was perfectly cast!

    Reply
    • LydiaR

      And now I need to find Cold Comfort Farm. It’s been ages since I watched it!

      Reply
  5. Lynne Connolly

    I love her so much! Her recent documentaries are amazing. She went into the Chicago gang territory in The Big American Adventure, just her and her cameraman and sound person and talked to the gang members. Actually talked to them, rather than holding them up as a Terrible Example.
    I can’t pick a favourite. But recently, adding her to the Call The Midwife cast has been a brilliant choice. She is one of those actresses who inhabits what she wears. Makes them look as if she’s always worn them.

    Reply
  6. Constance

    I never knew her name but enjoyed her in many of the above films. Am still hoping for a WCW for Susan Hampshire, of The Pallisers, Barcester, Forstye Saga, First Churchills, The Grand and more..she is a favorite of mine.

    Reply
    • Trystan L. Bass

      Maybe? I’ll note that the problem with a lot of actors who’ve done mostly TV costume dramas is finding decent pictures of them is HARD, & it gets harder when you go back to the 1980s & earlier.

      Reply
  7. SarahV

    Being Julia is one of my favorite movies!!!!!!!! Jeremy Irons never looked so dashing, and Annette Benning never looked so glamorous! Plus, Bruce Greenwood ….

    Reply
  8. Gill

    She was a temendous Nurse in the Baz Lurhman Romeo+Juliet, which is sorta costume?

    Reply
    • Terry Towels

      I so agree, it was my first thought. Thanks, you saved me from IMDB.

      Reply
  9. Alexander Sanderson

    Miriam Margolyes is an absolute legend! I am so chuffed you have done a WCW on her. If I had to pick a favourite role that she’s played, which is pretty damn difficult considering she is amazing in everything, I think it would have to be Miss Crawley in Vanity Fair. She is also fantastic on stage, as well as being an amazing performer of poetry/spoken word. All hail Miriam!

    Reply
    • Boxermom

      It’s funny, I had the opposite reaction. I remembered her in many of these roles but forgot about Harry Potter!

      Reply
  10. Frannie Germeshausen

    My reaction seeing her face was “OH HELL YEAH!” We love seeing Aunt Pru (her Miss Fisher role) pop up other places, and she’s always awesome. Amazing human as well.

    Reply
  11. JO-ANN. LAMONICA. ONEONTA. NEW. YORK

    I respect and enjoy this lady. However went too far about he remark about the prime minister when he was so sick. Went too far!!!!!!

    Reply
  12. Joyce

    I love everything I have seen her in, so can’t pick. I have had the great fortune to have met her at a comic con. i went along with friends, not knowing who was going to be there and so was unprepared. I had my photo taken with her and we look like twins in almost identical dresses. She looked at me and asked “Are you Jewish?” (I’m not). When I went to have the photo autographed it was cash only. They told me where an atm was supposed to be but I would have had to leave the venue and walk completely around the building — with a walker! I found this out as I was about to leave the building. So I went back to the table to explain why I couldn’t proceed. Well Miriam goes to her purse, and pays the difference between what cash I had, and the cost of the autograph! I couldn’t believe it. That is someone who loves her fans.

    Reply
  13. Richard Crossman

    there are lots of photos of Miriam as Pomona Sprout in the Harry Potter Series!!!

    Reply
  14. The Scrivener

    She was also Mrs Beetle in Cold Comfort Farm! Her costumes are farmwife basic, but Kate Beckinsale gets some great ’30s knitwear and Joanna Lumley glams it up good.

    Reply
  15. Kelly

    Flora Finching (in Little Dorrit) all the way!! I show her first scene to my theatre students, twice: the first time they watch her, and the second time they watch Arthur Clennam (Derek Jacobi) reacting to her. They have a completely different reaction to her the second time around. And if you have the DVD of Little Dorrit, she is absolutely delightful on a “chat w/the actors” extra.

    Reply
  16. Jay

    First noticed (and loved) her as Miss Amelia (the nicer sister of the headmistress) in the beautiful 80s WonderWorks version of A Little Princess…

    Reply
  17. Erin E.

    Cracking up about The Windsors being a Frock Flick, but it certainly works In this situation.

    Reply
  18. Popka Superstar

    Looking at these, she can really pull off those overdecorated 19th century fashions. You look at those and wonder who on earth that would suit, but here’s the answer. And she’s not at all twee and girlish in her personality, so it’s not what I expected.

    Reply
  19. Saraquill

    Don’t think I’ve seen those episodes of Call the Midwife yet, but I’ve definitely seen her in Miss Fisher.

    Reply

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