WCW: Gemma Jones


I intended to write a really good article today about Gemma Jones and how much I adore her. Then a family we are friends with had to emergency evacuate from their homes due to the Caldor Fire in El Dorado County, which is right up the road from us, so we dropped everything to open our home to them. Because I can only keep three important tasks in my head at any given time (hello, ADHD), the emergency basically erased everything else from my brain and I wasn’t able to write the in-depth article that Gemma deserves. We now have two more adults, one teenager, and two dogs who don’t like our cats under one very stressed out roof, so I apologize to everyone who is disappointed as a result.

Anyhoo, Gemma Jones is one of my favorite actresses of all time. She’s been in so many of my favorite films and TV shows, and chances are good that even if you don’t recognize her name, you will recognize her face, because she’s been in EVERYTHING. Here are the highlights from her lengthy career, spanning 55+ years.


Spoils of Poytnon (1971)


The Devils (1971)


Fall of Eagles (1974)


The Duchess of Duke Street (1976-1977)


Merchant of Venice (1980)

The Jim Henson Hour: The Heartless Giant (1988)


On the Black Hill (1988)


Sense and Sensibility (1995)


Jane Eyre (1997)


Wilde (1997)


The Winslow Boy (1999)


Shanghai Knights (2003)


Poirot: Five Little Pigs (2003)


Ballet Shoes (2007)



The Secret Diaries of Miss Anne Lister (2010)


Merlin (2008-2012)


The Lady Vanishes (2013)


Rocketman (2019)


Gentleman Jack (2019-)


Ammonite (2020)



Do you love Gemma Jones? Tell us about it in the comments.

16 Responses

  1. Fran in NYC

    The Spoils of Poynton was the first time I saw her. She’s great in everything!

    • M.E. Lawrence

      Yes, agree with loving Gemma J. (those eyelids…), and time for Tyzack.

  2. Katie O.

    I love her in Sense and Sensibility. I think you get a great sense of Mrs Dashwood as a person, not just as a mother. There are subtle moments where you can tell that she was perhaps more like Marianne as a young girl, which I thought was an interesting choice.

  3. Orian Hutton

    Had the privilege of seeing her as Mrs Malaprop in The Rivals. She was brilliant. Sheridan might have written the part for her.

  4. Sharon in Scotland

    I’m a woman of a certain age and she will always be “The Duchess of Duke Street”, if I see her in anything else my mind always goes to the scene where she is walking down the stairs of her hotel, dressed up for her first date with the Prince of Wales/Edward the VII.
    Hope your friends are okay and get back home safely.

    • MrsC (Maryanne)

      Absolutely same, Sharon! As soon as I see an image that marvellously jaunty theme comes into my head! She was magnificent in that series and it was so good. My 16 year old self lapped it all up.

  5. Frances Germeshausen

    First, hoping your friends’ home survives. I know other people who are packed and ready to run – too sad. Second, we recently (yeah, slackers) watched “Duchess of Duke Street” for the first time, and hubs said “Why do I know her?” and I said “She’s everyone’s mother in Jane Austen.” She’s so great in everything.

  6. Susan Pola Staples

    First of all, hope you and your friends are ok and will remain ok. Same with dogs and cats. I, too, love her work. My favourites and go-to are The Duchess of Duke Street, Gentlemen Jack and Poirot and Wilde. And would love to see her as BOTH Mrs Bennett and Lady Catherine in P&P.
    Need anything for the friends?
    And please do Margaret Tysack. She’s my favourite Queen Anne and her teacher to Inspector Allyn is an all time favourite.

    • Fran in NYC

      I third the request for Margaret Tyzack! Cousin Bette, Forsyte Saga, The First Churchills, to name a couple.

      • MoHub

        And Claudius’ mother in I, Claudius. Also a boatload of Agatha Christies.

  7. susan l eiffert

    I love her too. A great great actress. Just saw her again last night in an episode of Unforgotten(Yes, she IS in everything). She played a senior w/ dementia perfectly.
    I wish your friends well. What a good friend you are to them. I’m from SF like one of you, (nnow in MA) but also lived in Butte Co. These fires the last few years are effecting so many of my friends. I mourn for CA.

  8. Roxana

    I really miss your snarky captions under the images. But succoring friends in distress come first. I hope the fire doesn’t get any closer.

  9. SarahH

    She was magnificent in Rocket Man – she just projected so much warmth and class and sensibility in a very small role.

    It occurs to me looking at the oeuvre listed above that she has been in 2 separate projects about Anne Lister!

  10. Lily Lotus Rose

    Gemma Jones is totally awesome. FrockFlicks-wise, I loved her in Sense and Sensibility and as Madam Pomfrey in the Harry Potter movies. But she will always hold a special place in my heart as Bridget Jones’s mom!

    Best of luck to you, your friends, and all of your pets.