As I’ve been working my way through The Duchess of Duke Street (1976-1977), a familiar face popped up. Zelah Clarke was in numerous historical films and TV shows in the 1970s and 1980s, to the point where I was like, “Oh yeah, she was in that, too!” when I looked her up on IMDB. The trouble is (as with most of the BBC output from this era) that there are very few photos of Zelah in any one particular film, so I’m going to include the images I can find on the internet of films she’s in, whether or not the images are of her particularly. Because honestly, there are a lot of really good flicks to her name!
The Triple Echo (1972)
Just a bit part in this WWII-era film. She plays “First Girl.”
How Green Was My Valley (1976)
She’s plays Ceinwen Lloyd in this adaptation of Richard Llewellyn’s novel of the same name.
Zelah plays Kath, the overworked kitchen maid of an understaffed manor. She doesn’t have a particularly large role, but I recognized her immediately.
A Christmas Carol (1977)
Obviously, this is a photo of Michael Horden as Ebenezer Scrooge, and John Le Mesurier as Bob Marley’s Ghost. Zelah plays Martha Cratchet, one of the Cratchet children in this adaptation of Charles Dickens’ timeless Christmas classic.
The Lost Boys (1978)
Also not Zelah Clarke, who has a brief role as Wendy in this miniseries about J.M. Barrie. The costumes are wonderful, though, and it’s currently available in fairly good resolution on YouTube, starting here.
Dombey & Son (1983)
I think that’s her in the background. Lots of really great 1830s costumes in this miniseries adaptation of one of Dickens’ less well known novels.
This film ranks right up there with Amadeus (1984) as the top costume flick I was convinced had amazing costumes right up until I rewatched it as an adult. Doesn’t really matter, though. I will always love it. Zelah plays Lady Anne Wharton, a lady in waiting to Princess Mary.
What’s your favorite film on this list? Tell us in the comments!
“John Le Mesurier as Bob Marley’s Ghost”. Wowza! Now there’s a sight to conjure up. Perhaps it was just our old friend and saviour AutoCorrect rearing its ugly head, but if it was your own error Sarah, then I am in love with you already.
Now I want to see a version of A Christmas Carol with the soundtrack comprised of all Bob Marley songs!! I saw Lady Jane ages ago, but I’m do for a re-watch. I’ve never seen the Timothy Dalton version of Jane Eyre, but I want to. And yes, he is dreamy!!! But I feel like Rochester is always attractive in the movies. And whenever I read the book, I always imagine him to be physically attractive even though he isn’t described as such. Am I the only one.
It took me a second to realize “The Lost Boys” up there wasn’t vampire related :P
Lady Jane did have amazing costumes. Just not amazingly authentic! 😁
Timothy Dalton does seem too handsome for Rochester but when you read the detailed description of Rochester’s face, as Jane draws a portrait, you see that Dalton actually corresponds very well.
I’ve only seen The Duchess of Duke Street, which is far overdue for a rewatch — I saw the original series back when it aired in the 1970s. My mother would let me stay up past my bedtime to watch it with her, much to the chagrin of my father (long before we owned a VCR). I bought the box set a few years ago but still haven’t unwrapped it, I’m a little afraid it won’t hold up to my lovely memories.