Babs pays a radio salute to our Dora

A locally-born comedy star of the stage, screen and airwaves is to be the subject of a new documentary.

Friday, 13th January 2017, 1:37 pm
Updated Friday, 13th January 2017, 2:41 pm
Dora Bryan

Dora Bryan, who was born in Parbold, gets her own radio showcase next week in a programme presented by another comic legend, Barbara Windsor.

The veteran actress died in 2014 aged 91, leaving a rich legacy of work stretching back seven decades.

She had latterly been best known for her roles in TV’s Last Of The Summer Wine and Absolutely Fabulous. But there was so more before, not least starring roles in classic British movies including A Taste Of Honey for which she won a BAFTA.

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Glenda (Sarah Thomas), Pearl (Janette Kaplan), Roz (Dora Bryan), Nora (Kathy Staff) and Ivy (Jane Freeman) in Last Of The Summer Wine

Born Dora May Broadbent in the village on the outskirts of Wigan, she made her stage debut as a child in a Manchester panto and joined the Oldham Repertory while still a teenager and later moved to London to develop her stage career.

Cast in a production of Noël Coward’s Private Lives, she was encouraged to adopt a stage name by Coward himself who was famously a big fan of hers.

Dora went into film acting, at first generally playing “dumb blondes.” After A Taste of Honey, she recorded the Christmas song All I want for Christmas is a Beatle which made it into the top 20. She played a headmistress in The Great St Trinian’s Train Robbery (1966), and in 1968 she starred in her own British TV series, According to Dora. Stage work included Gentleman Prefer Blondes and Hello, Dolly!

She made her Broadway debut as Mrs Pierce in Pygmalion (1987), starring Peter O’Toole and Amanda Plummer. Other notable credits include her first Shakespearean role, Mistress Quickly in The Merry Wives of Windsor (1984), Mrs Hardcastle in She Stoops to Conquer (1985), Carlotta Campion (singing “I’m Still Here”) in the 1987 London production of the Stephen Sondheim-James Goldman musical Follies.

Dame Barbara Windsor

The episode of Barbara Windsor Celebrates featuring Dora takes place this Tuesday on Radio 2 at 10pm.

Glenda (Sarah Thomas), Pearl (Janette Kaplan), Roz (Dora Bryan), Nora (Kathy Staff) and Ivy (Jane Freeman) in Last Of The Summer Wine
Dame Barbara Windsor