I first noticed Penelope Wilton as Harriet Jones, MP, in Doctor Who, where she was smart and funny and had a great storyline through a couple seasons. Then she showed up in Downton Abbey as an excellent foil for the Dowager Countess, and finally I started noticing her everywhere in frock flicks. Like many British actors, she started on the stage and has performed a fair amount of Shakespeare, plus roles in most any British TV show you can imagine. At age 75, she’s still acting in film and TV, so let’s give Dame Penelope Wilton her WCW due!
Rachel Sullens in Country Matters, “The Sullens Sisters” (1972)
Vivie Warren in Stage 2, “Mrs. Warren’s Profession” (1972)
Mrs. Wilson in Joseph Andrews (1977)
Desdemona in Othello (1981)
Regan in King Lear (1982)
Lady Angela Forbes in The Monocled Mutineer (1986)
Lady Ottoline Morrell in Carrington (1995)
Mrs. Hamley in Wives and Daughters (1999)
Delfina / Paulina in The Strange Case of Delfina Potocka: The Mystery of Chopin (1999)
Princess Mary Louise Victoria, Duchess of Kent, in Victoria & Albert (2001)
Mrs. Gardiner in Pride & Prejudice (2005)
Mary in The Passion (2008)
Carrie Louise Serrocold in Agatha Christie’s Marple, “They Do It With Mirrors” (2009)
Mrs. Beddows in South Riding (2011)
Lady Mary Murray in Belle (2013)
Isobel Crawley in Downton Abbey (2010-2015)
Denise Austin in Zoo (2017)
Amelia Maugery in The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society (2018)
Isobel Grey, Baroness Merton, in Downton Abbey (2019)
Older Alice in Summerland (2020)
Watch for Penelope Wilton in Downton Abbey: A New Era (March 18, 2022) and a World War II movie called Operation Mincemeat (completed, 2022).
What’s your favorite historical costume movie or TV role of Penelope Wilton’s?