I love that English actress Alison Steadman’s career seems to have most taken off in middle age — we need more middle-aged and older ladies represented on screen and in our frock flicks! She’s iconic in our world for her role as Mrs. Bennet in THE Pride and Prejudice (1995), and she’s popped up in other things … so I wondered what else she was in? Well, here you go!
Tartuffe, or The Impostor (1983)
A televised version of the Royal Shakespeare Company version of the 17th-century Molière play. Steadman played Elmire.
A Private Function (1984)
A British comedy film about food rationing just post-World War II. Steadman played Mrs. Allardyce.
The Singing Detective (1986)
A BBC miniseries about a mystery writer who enters a noir dreamworld. Steadman plays the author’s mother and “Lili.”
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1988)
A wild, bizarre fantasy film sort of set in the late 18th century. It’s directed by Terry Gilliam (Time Bandits, Brazil, 12 Monkeys) so that should give you a sense. Steadman plays the minor role of “Daisy.”
Pride and Prejudice (1995)
THE iconic BBC miniseries adaptation of the Jane Austen novel. Steadman plays THE iconic Mrs. Bennet!
No Bananas (1996)
All I can find it out is it’s a BBC miniseries set during World War II.
The excellent movie about the first production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s “The Mikado.” Steadman has a tiny role as Madame Leon, I think a costume designer.
Let Them Eat Cake (1999)
A HILARIOUS Dawn French and Jennifer Saunders (from Absolutely Fabulous) TV series set at Versailles just prior to the French Revolution. One of the funniest things I’ve seen in a while. Steadman plays Saunders’ character’s arch-rival, Madame de Plonge.
Fanny Hill (2007)
An adaptation of the smutty 18th-century novel about a good girl who ends up a prostitute. Steadman plays Mrs. Brown, the madame who gets Fanny going in her first brothel.
Marple: Ordeal by Innocence (2007)
Steadman was in one episode of the 1950s-set Agatha Christie series.
The Great War: The People’s Story (2014)
A docu-drama about World War I. Steadman plays “Hallie Miles,” and I can’t tell if that’s a real person or not?
Dad’s Army (2016)
A comedy movie about the older men who signed up to defend the home front during World War II. Steadman plays Mrs. Fox, “a Walmington-on-Sea housewife.”
Roald & Beatrix: The Tail of the Curious Mouse (2020)
A TV movie inspired by the true story of a six-year-old (future author) Roald Dahl meeting his idol Beatrix Potter. Steadman plays “Dora.”
The King’s Man (2021)
An Edwardian-set action/spy/thriller movie. Steadman has a brief role as one of the various servants who are doubling as spies.
What’s your favorite of Alison Steadman’s frock flick roles?
Not a frock flick, but my favorite Steadman role was in “Nuts in May,” an early television movie by her then-husband, Mike Leigh; she plays an adorably naive young granola-head off on a camping trip with her obnoxious husband.
Her Mrs. Bennet really is iconic! Also, I know it is not a frock flick, but I loved her in Shirley Valentine.
Oh god, I LOVE Shirley Valentine.
P’tang, Yang, Kipperbang! A British TV movie set in the late 1940s about a teenage boy and his first crush. Alison plays a teacher who is worried that she’s pregnant and will lose her job.
Almost vintage………”Abigail’s Party” check out the 70’s fashion
Thank you for highlighting this actress!
Mrs Bennett. Need I say more?
Excellent actress. I love her in all films I saw with her. P&P was such an eye-opener. Most of the ladies and gents in the production were great and it was nice to see them again in other films and mini-series.
I loved her in “Fanny Hill” too.
While I saw TOPSY-TURVY, I really only know Alison Steadman from Mrs. Bennet in PRIDE AND PREJUDICE– one of my favorite performances in an Austen adaptation and, as you say, iconic.
But the glowing recommendation for French & Saunders’ LET THEM EAT CAKE made me decide to finally track it down, and I’m glad I did!
I hope it’s okay to mention that Internet Archive.org has– for now, anyway– a page with all six episodes of the series posted, and in rather good condition, too! (The site did gag and rebuffer a few times while I was watching, but at least there’s no commercial interruption.) Run a Google video search of the series title and you’ll find it.
I watched the first episode, “Pox,” last night, and Steadman was an excellent foil for French & Saunders! She’s hilarious! Some might find the humor a smidge too obvious (the old “spying through eyes in a portrait on the wall” gag makes an appearance), but it moves fast enough that it all works. Maybe not at the same level of the first run of ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS or the entire run of BLACKADDER, but still worth a view!
(And was that episode strangely timely right now… !!!)
One other thing: I barely recognized Stephanie Beacham in that shot from NO BANANAS. For once no melons, either, apparently.
Also not period, but as Pam in Gavin and Stacey, she is an absolute scream. Echoes of a modern day Mrs Bennett
The British TV series “The People’s War” is the dramatisation of the diaries, letters and memoires of people directly involved in WWI, either as serving military personnel or civillians.
So Hallie Miles (was a real person!!👌🏻) was married to an Olympic sportsman and owned a vegetarian restaurant in London. She observes the militarisation of the local community. ✌🏻