Josephine Tewson

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An English stage and television actress. She is best known for her roles in British television sitcoms, such as Elizabeth in Keeping Up Appearances (1990) and Miss Davenport in Last of the Summer Wine.

Tewson was born in Hampstead, London, England in 1931. Her father, William, was a professional musician and played the double bass in the BBC Symphony Orchestra; her mother, Kate (née Morley, born 1908), was a nurse. After grammar school, Tewson studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art from which she graduated in 1952. She was briefly married to actor Leonard Rossiter; they divorced in 1961.

A regular comedy performer in sketches featuring Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker on David Frost on Sunday and Hark at Barker (1970), she later appeared in Mostly Monkhouse, a BBC Radio comedy programme with David Jason supporting Bob Monkhouse. She also appeared a few times in Z-Cars (1963-69) and The Charlie Drake Show (1968). Tewson played Edna Hawkins (usually referred to as Mrs H by Shelley) in the first six series of the British sitcom Shelley (1979-82). Later, she played Jane Travers in Ronnie Barker’s sitcom Clarence (1988), which he also wrote, and was his last starring television role before his retirement.

Tewson is best known for her role as Elizabeth, neighbour and confidant of Hyacinth Bucket in Keeping Up Appearances. Tewson appeared in nearly every episode for the 5 series run, providing an often rattled but pragmatic counter to the scattered and clueless “Mrs Bouquet”.

Tewson starred with John Inman in Odd Man Out (1977), a sitcom, where they played half-brother/half-sister roles.

Tewson appeared semi-regularly as Miss Davenport in Last of the Summer Wine (2003-10), a series written by Roy Clarke who also wrote Keeping Up Appearances. She has also appeared in two episodes of the documentary series Comedy Connections, talking about her work in Keeping Up Appearances (2004) and opposite The Two Ronnies (2005). In 2009, she played the role of Iris in the radio drama Leaves in Autumn written by Susan Casanove, produced by the Wireless Theatre Company.

Other television appearances were in an episode of Heartbeat (“Closing The Book”, 2002) and as the competition judge, Samantha Johnstone, in an episode in the mystery drama Midsomer Murders (“Judgement Day”, 2002). Later she was featured in two episodes of Doctors as kleptomaniac, Audrey Wilson, (“Now You See It…”, 2009) and as Marjorie Page, a woman in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease (“The Bespectacled Bounder,” 2012).

In 2012 Tewson launched her one-woman show Still Keeping Up Appearances? touring the UK.


  • Birthname: Josephine Ann Tewson
  • Born: February 26, 1931
  • Born Place: Hampstead, London, England, UK
  • Height: 5' 5½" (1.66 m)
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