WCW: Cherie Lunghi


Honestly, I love English actress Cherie Lunghi for her emotionally resonant performance as governess Laura Testvalley in The Buccaneers, but that’s selling her short. She’s been in SO many frock flicks, many of which were a surprise to remember (Excalibur, anyone??)! So let’s appreciate her, shall we?


Edward & Mrs. Simpson (1978)

She played Lady Thelma Furness, mistress to the Prince of Wales (later Edward VII) before he met Wallis Simpson.

1978 Edward & Mrs. Simpson

Great marcel wave and low chignon.


The Misanthrope (1980)

A BBC “play of the month,” I assume an adaptation of the 17th century Molière play.

1980 The Misanthrope

Set in the 1930s, I presume?


Excalibur (1981)

As Guinevere in this crazy take on the King Arthur legend. I can’t believe Sarah hasn’t reviewed this one.

1981 Excalibur

Clearly not committed to historical accuracy.

1981 Excalibur

But definitely committed to sparkle motion!

1981 Excalibur

#headnecklace (and sari fabric)

1981 Excalibur


Oliver Twist (1982)

She played Nancy in this TV adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic.

1982 Oliver Twist

Too poor for hairpins.


The Agatha Christie Hour: The Manhood of Edward Robinson (1982)

A TV series based on Agatha Christie novels.

1982 The Agatha Christie Hour- The Manhood of Edward Robinson 1982 The Agatha Christie Hour- The Manhood of Edward Robinson


The Sign of Four (1983)

A TV movie adaptation of the Sherlock Holmes novel.

1983 The Sign of Four

Lovely soutache trim!

1983 The Sign of Four

Multiple capelets on her cloak.

1983 The Sign of Four

A cute Edwardian hat!


Master of the Game (1984)

A TV miniseries adaptation of a Sidney Sheldon (shlock writer extraordinaire) novel. The beginning is set in South Africa, and I think Lunghi’s character gets seduced by a guy who wants to get revenge on someone else (her father?).

1984 Master of the Game

Is she Amish?


Much Ado About Nothing (1984)

A BBC TV adaptation of the Shakespeare play. Lunghi plays Beatrice, of course.

1984 Much Ado About Nothing

I like her hair, it’s very 16th c. Florence.

1984 Much Ado About Nothing

As are the style lines of this dress, although I question the fabric choices.


Strangers and Brothers (1984)

A British TV series, I think set in the 1930s?

1984 Strangers and Brothers

Given the hat.


King David (1985)

HOW did I not know this existed?? Richard Gere as the biblical King David! Cherie as his wife, Michal!

1985 King David

Rockin’ the cornrows!

1985 King David

(C) Paramount/courtesy Everett Collection


Letters to an Unknown Lover (1985)

A TV movie set during World War II, in which soldiers escape from a POW camp.

1985 Letters to an Unknown Lover 1985 Letters to an Unknown Lover


The Mission (1986)

I actually tried to watch this recently, so look for it in our next Oh the Bad Movies series. Jesuit missionaries in South America try to convert an indigenous tribe, while various political and religious issues play out in the background. Lunghi plays Carlotta, who’s choices spur one of the lead characters to change his life.

1986 The Mission

Sadly, back-lacing dresses abound, despite stomachers.

1986 The Mission

Hey, her hair is up! ©Warner Bros.

1986 The Mission

I didn’t get far enough to know what’s up here, I assume she’s in mourning? (c) Warner Brothers


The Monocled Mutineer (1986)

A BBC TV movie about a mutiny during the First World War.

1986 The Monocled Mutineer


The Lady’s Not for Burning (1987)

A TV adaptation of the 1948 play, set during the Middle Ages and involving an accused witch (Lunghi).

1987 The Lady's Not for Burning

This looks very “medieval-oid” | Photo by ITV/Shutterstock


The Man Who Lived at the Ritz (1989)

An American painter lives at the Ritz during the German occupation of Paris (World War II). Lunghi plays “Lili Gloebocka.”

1989 The Man Who Lived at the Ritz


Strauss Dynasty (1991)

Per IMDB: “A dramatisation of two generations of the Strauss family of Vienna, whose dance music and operettas dominated much of Europe and beyond for most of the 19th century.” Lunghi plays “Jetti.”

1991 Strauss Dynasty

Maybe this needs a Snark Week recap?


Covington Cross (1992)

A TV series about a 14th century English family. Lunghi plays the matriarch of the family.

1992 Covington Cross

I think that guy got lost from a New Romantic video?

1992 Covington Cross

Reasonable, minus the hair!


Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994)

Lunghi plays Frankenstein’s now-dead mother in flashbacks of his happy childhood.

1994 Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

That’s a reasonable take on a 1780s hairstyle.

1994 Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

And dress! Although shouldn’t we be back-dating, given the “present” of the movie is the 1780s?

1994 Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

(C) TriStar Pictures/courtesy Everett Collection


The Buccaneers (1995)

As the sensitive, understanding governess to a rich American girl trying to find her way in 1870s England.

The Buccaneers (1995)

Gotta take tea!

The Buccaneers (1995)

With her charge.

The Buccaneers (1995)

Miss Testvalley understands!! And has a great hat!


David Copperfield (1999)

She plays Mrs. Steerforth in this adaptation of the Dickens novel.

1999 David Copperfield

ROCKING the 1830s hair!


Horatio Hornblower: The Duchess and the Devil (1999)

She plays a widowed duchess who is not quite what she seems in this episode of the Napoleonic Wars-set naval story.

1999 Horatio Hornblower- The Duchess and the Devil

I like that pointy collar!

1999 Horatio Hornblower- The Duchess and the Devil

Stripes! Hat! Feathers! (Cute boy!)

1999 Horatio Hornblower- The Duchess and the Devil

I’m not so much a fan of the tied-down hat though.


Back to the Secret Garden (2000)

A sequel to The Secret Garden, set in England in the 1940s.

2000 Back to the Secret Garden

Yet another lovely hat, and very summery!


Viper in the Fist (2004)

An adaptation of a famous 1940s French novel that I’ve never heard of (the shame)!

2004 Viper in the Fist

I can’t decide if this is actually Lunghi, but it’s the only visual I can find.


Casualty 1906, 1907, & 1909 (2006-09)

She plays the hospital matron in the Edwardian versions of the long-running British soap (and also guested repeatedly on the modern version).

2008 Casualty 1907

I’m guessing this is one of those “you girls will be clean and orderly” speeches.

2009 Casualty 1909

There’s a lot of great details in Lunghi’s costume here, from the pleated neck detail to the watch and glasses.

2009 Casualty 1909

Which is your favorite Cherie Lunghi frock flicks roles?

25 Responses

  1. SarahV

    I love Cherie Lunghi! Excalibur</i< is indeed whackadoodle (it’s a John Boorman project), but there is so much to say for it! Cherie Linghi’s performance in which she convincingly ages up, the AMAZE_BALLS costumes, Beautiful, beautiful men. Nigel Terry as the gorgeous Arthur, Nicol Williamson as the sexy unhinged Merlin, Nicholas Clay at the height of his gorgeousness (and naked!), a slinky, young Helen Mirren as Morgan le Fey with the most amazing patchwork leather dress, as she consumes everything – young beautiful Lian Neeson, young beautiful Patrick Stewart!

    • Roxana

      Oh God yes! Total eye candy! But those knights wear chrome armor everywhere, even to bed. Even when sharing that bed.

      • SarahV

        I also forgot that a young, beautiful Gabriel Byrne is also in this movie!

        re: armor in bed

        well, we know that Lancelot sleeps in the nude ;)

        • Roxana

          I seem to recall Uther swiping Igraine in the upper half of his armor. Obviously Lancelot is much more considerate! 😁

    • SarahV

      Oh. I am so sorry – I was trying to be retro and use html tags while posting from my phone –

      I love Cherie Lunghi! Excalibur is indeed whackadoodle (it’s a John Boorman project), but there is so much to say for it! Cherie Lunghi’s performance in which she convincingly ages up, the AMAZE_BALLS costumes, Beautiful, beautiful men. Nigel Terry as the gorgeous Arthur, Nicol Williamson as the sexy unhinged Merlin, Nicholas Clay at the height of his gorgeousness (and naked!), a slinky, young Helen Mirren as Morgan le Fey with the most amazing patchwork leather dress, as she consumes everything – young beautiful Lian Neeson, young beautiful Patrick Stewart!

    • Elizabeth J. Healas

      The 1985 King David was infamous at the time for Richard Gere’s interpretive dancing in a Man Diaper.

      • SarahV

        THAT’s what that is from!

        (it’s available on YouTube ;))

    • M.E. Lawrence

      “Excalibur” is a very silly movie, but great visual fun, and I should see it again, especially Nicol Williamson as Merlin.

    • florenceandtheai

      Whackadoodle, confusing, and so, so good. Sparkle motion for the win!

    • Tui Hill

      “Whackadoodle” is the best description I’ve ever seen of one of my absolute favourite bad movies. Beautiful men, bizarre accents, and more sari fabric and metallic netting than you’d believe possible. Uther and Ygraine (?) conceive Arthur in a sex scene that when I saw it caused the entire theatre to hoot with laughter – she’s wearing what I recall as a nylon negligee, and he’s on top of her… still wearing full plate armour. It was the first time I remember seeing Cherie Lunghi and yes, she’s really moving as well as rivetingly beautiful.

  2. Roxana

    Absolutely lovely, and she aged beautifully too. But small correction: she wasn’t the matriarch in Covington Cross she was the hunky father’s love interest from the next castle. 😄
    I loved that show. Yeah the costumes all wrong and the history worse but Nigel Terry! In a beard!! Not to mention the seriously cute sons. I just decided the show was set in an alternate 1392 and it was fine.

    • MoHub

      Thanks for making the correction regarding her role in CC. You beat me to it.

  3. Elizabeth Kerri Mahon

    I think the phone from The Viper in the fist is actress Catherine Frot not Cherie Lunghi.

  4. Kris McDermott

    She was one (along with Jeffery Dench, Dame Judi’s brother) of the four-member RSC educational touring company that visited my uni in 1980, just before Excalibur came out. She was so friendly & kind to our group of clueless Anglophile drama majors, and helped us with our terrible English accents for our production of Noel Coward’s Hay Fever.

    • Kay H

      Omigosh, I saw them, too! We went four nights in a row. No costumes, they sat on stools onstage and performed excerpts from Shakespeare. On the fourth night they did Welsh accents in Dylan Thomas/Under Milkwood. Fascinating! So I’ve been a fan of hers since, esp. in The Buccaneers.

  5. Gray

    Ahhh yes…. “King David” is almost as funny as “The Ten Commandments”.

    And “Excalibur” approaches it all as fantasy so of course it’s not accurate. I like Bob Ringwood. Like Danilo Donati, the designs can be way out there, but usually interesting.

    “The Buccaneers” is great fun and looks marvelous. I may have to watch it again.

    and “David Copperfield” looks good. I must check that one out.

  6. Gill

    She’s an exceptional actress. Interesting to see how often she’s worked with Robert Lindsay too – he’s brilliant as well, BTW. That “Much Ado” was one of the best of the BBC Shakespeares. She was in a few of the others in that series, and in ‘Tis Pity She’s A Whore around the same time. Like most British actors of renown she is also a distinguished stage performer.

    Her Wikipedia entry suggests a lot of other historical flicks and TV for her.

    • Julia

      I remember seeing her as Perdita in the RSC’s 1976 “The Winter’s Tale”, with Ian McKellen as Leontes.

  7. Susan Pola Staples

    My favourite is The Buccaneers and Excalibur. Great casting for each and Boorman’s fantasy telling of King Arthur. It had besides Lunghi Dame Helen, Sirs Nigel and Patrick and the costumes were gorgeous.
    I maybe the only Buccaneers fan whosefavourite characters were Miss Testvalley and Virginia St. George and Conchita —Mira Sorvino’s role. But I will hope that King David will be a snark week feature.

    • SarahV

      was Virginia the older sister of Carla Gugino’s Annabelle, the one who snagged herself a lord, only to find out he was still in love with Jenny Agutter (and also I remember something about syphilis?)

      I also have great memories of the whiskey-honey-sandpaper voice of Elizabeth Ashley as Conchita’s mother.

  8. florenceandtheai

    I’ve seen The Buccaneers (honestly don’t remember much about it), Excalibur, Hornblower, and Covington Cross. I loved CC (I was 10) but I also knew, even then, it would last very long. She’s fun in the Hornblower episode. She plays a (soi disant) duchess who may or may not be a secret agent for the British during the Napoleonic wars. I haven’t seen her Shrew, but she is STUNNING in that first still.

    • florenceandtheai

      edit: *wouldn’t last very long (Covington Cross). Sorry, hit send too soon.

  9. Orian Hutton

    The tied down hat is probably because she is onboard ship. Wouldn’t want the wind to carry it off, so I would think a very sensible solution. What I really enjoyed in this review was seeing all the younger versions of other actors.

  10. Mrs. D

    The New Romantics guy from Covington Cross is Glenn Quinn from Roseanne.