Joanna Lumley

Lumley in 2015
Joanna Lamond Lumley

(1946-05-01) 1 May 1946 (age 77)
Occupation(s)Actress, author, activist, presenter
Years active1967–present
(m. 1970; div. 1970)
(m. 1986)
PartnerMichael Claydon (1960s)

Dame Joanna Lamond Lumley DBE FRGS (born 1 May 1946) is a British actress,[1][2] presenter, former model, author, television producer, and activist. She has won two BAFTA TV Awards for her role as Patsy Stone in the BBC sitcom Absolutely Fabulous (1992–2012), and was nominated for the 2011 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for the Broadway revival of La Bête. In 2013, she received the Special Recognition Award at the National Television Awards, and in 2017 she was honoured with the BAFTA Fellowship award.

Lumley's other television credits include The New Avengers (1976–1977), Sapphire & Steel (1979–1982), Sensitive Skin (2005–2007), Jam & Jerusalem (2006–2008) and Finding Alice (2021–present) as well as playing Elaine Perkins in Coronation Street in 1973. Her film appearances include On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969), Trail of the Pink Panther (1982), Shirley Valentine (1989), James and the Giant Peach (1996), Ella Enchanted (2004), Corpse Bride (2005), The Wolf of Wall Street (2013), and Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (2016). She had roles in two episodes of Are You Being Served? (1973–1975) written by Jeremy Lloyd, whom she had married and divorced three years prior to her first appearance on the show.

Lumley is an advocate and human rights activist for Survival International and the Gurkha Justice Campaign. She supports charities and animal welfare groups, such as Compassion in World Farming and Vegetarians' International Voice for Animals. Lumley was made a Dame (DBE) in the 2022 New Year Honours for services to drama, entertainment and charity.

Early life

Joanna Lamond Lumley was born on 1 May 1946 in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, in British India. Her mother, Thyra Beatrice Rose (née Weir), was English. Her grandfather Lieutenant Colonel Leslie Weir had been born in Ghazipur and served as an army officer in Kashmir; he was a close friend of the 13th Dalai Lama.[3]

Her father, Major James Rutherford Lumley, was born in Lahore (now part of Pakistan) with Scottish and English ancestry. He was a direct descendant of Maj.-Gen. Sir James Rutherford Lumley and himself served as an officer in the British Indian Army's 6th Queen Elizabeth's Own Gurkha Rifles in Burma during World War II, most notably at the Battle of Mogaung.[4][5] His life was saved by Tul Bahadur Pun.[6]

Joanna Lumley's parents married in 1941. She has early memories of living in the tropics.[6]

The family went "home" on leave to England, travelling on the HMT Empire Windrush.[7] When her parents returned to Asia, she stayed, boarding at Mickledene School in Rolvenden, Kent. She was eight years old, which she later described as "paralysingly young". From 11 to 17 she attended Holmhurst St Mary's Convent School, the Ridge,[8] run by Community of the Holy Family:

"I especially loved my second boarding school, an Anglo-Catholic convent in the hills behind Hastings. The nuns wore blue stockings and were brainy and lovely. There were 70 boarders and I was happy as a clam."[9][10]

Lumley attended the Lucie Clayton Finishing School in London, after being turned down by the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art at the age of 16.[11]


Lumley on the set of On Her Majesty's Secret Service with George Lazenby (1969)

Lumley spent three years as a photographic model, notably for Brian Duffy, who photographed her with her son, born in 1967. That year she also appeared on the BBC Two programme The Impresarios: For Appearance's Sake.[12] She also worked as a house model for Jean Muir. Over forty years later, she participated in another photoshoot – again with her son – for Duffy as part of a retrospective of the photographer's work.[13]

Lumley appeared in an early episode of the Bruce Forsyth Show in 1966. She appeared in a British television advertisement for Nimble Bread first screened in 1969.[14]

Lumley did not receive any formal training at drama school. Her acting career began in 1969 with a small, uncredited role in the film Some Girls Do, and as a Bond girl in On Her Majesty's Secret Service, in which she had two lines as the English girl among the villainous Ernst Stavro Blofeld's "Angels of Death".[15] Lumley went on to have a brief but memorable role as Elaine Perkins in Coronation Street, in which her character turned down Ken Barlow's offer of marriage, as well as roles in other popular television series such as Are You Being Served?, Steptoe and Son and The Protectors. In 1973, she made another big screen appearance as Jessica Van Helsing in The Satanic Rites of Dracula, the last Hammer Dracula film to star Christopher Lee. She also had a role in the comedy film Don't Just Lie There, Say Something! (1974) alongside Leslie Phillips and Joan Sims.[16]

Major roles

Lumley alongside Christopher Lee in The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973)

Lumley has specialised in upper-class parts throughout her career, thanks to her voice and accent. Lumley's first major role was as Purdey in The New Avengers, successor to the secret agent series The Avengers, a role she played in all twenty-six episodes from 1976 to 1977.

In 1979, she appeared in another series which acquired a cult following: Sapphire & Steel, with David McCallum. Conceived as ITV's answer to Doctor Who, Lumley played a mysterious elemental being ("Sapphire") who, with her collaborator, "Steel", dealt with breaches in the fabric of time. In 1986, television producer Sydney Newman suggested Lumley for the role of the Doctor but his idea was dismissed.[17][18][19]

Over a decade later Lumley's career was boosted by her portrayal of the louche, selfish and frequently drunk fashion director Patsy Stone, companion to Jennifer Saunders' Edina Monsoon in the BBC comedy television series Absolutely Fabulous (1992–1996, 2001–2004, 2011–2012). Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie was released in 2016.

From 1994 to 1995, Lumley starred alongside Nadine Garner and John Bowe in the British television show Class Act, playing the part of Kate Swift, an upper-class lady who had fallen on hard times.[20]

Other work has included: Lovejoy as widow Victoria Cavero, In the Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon (1996), a film about a journey made by her grandparents in Bhutan, and A Rather English Marriage (nominated for a BAFTA for Best Actress 1999) and Dr Willoughby (1999). In 1995, she provided the voice of Annie the rag doll in the animated series The Forgotten Toys. In 1999, she also provided the voice for Sims the chicken in the BAFTA award-winning animated series The Foxbusters. In 2000, she co-produced a new drama series The Cazalets. She appeared in a TV series on Sarawak, where she spent time in her childhood.[21][22]

Lumley starred as the elderly Delilah Stagg in the 2006 sitcom Jam & Jerusalem with Dawn French, Jennifer Saunders, and Sue Johnston. In July 2007, she starred in the second series of the drama Sensitive Skin where she played the main character Davina Jackson. The BBC said this will be the final series of the dark comedy.[23]

She has worked with Tim Burton on two film projects, in James and the Giant Peach (1996) and Corpse Bride (2005). She has also appeared alongside Hugh Laurie in the British romantic comedy Maybe Baby (2000) and alongside Anne Hathaway in Ella Enchanted (2004). She has appeared twice as Mrs. Dolly Bantry in Agatha Christie's Marple, in the episodes: 'The Body in the Library' (2004) & 'The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side' (2009). In 2010, she appeared in a 4-episode guest arc on the BBC drama, Mistresses as Vivienne Roden.[24] In 2013, she appeared in the Martin Scorsese crime drama, The Wolf of Wall Street.[25]

She starred in David Hirson's La BêteComedy Theatre, London, 26 June – 28 August 2010 with David Hyde Pierce and Mark Rylance, directed by Matthew Warchus. She also starred in La Bête at the Music Box Theatre, Broadway, New York which opened on 14 October 2010.[26] She was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play, for her performance.

Media work

Lumley, who has one of the most recognised voices in the UK,[27] has gained prominence as a voice-over artist. Users of AOL in the United Kingdom are familiar with Joanna Lumley's voice. She recorded the greetings "Welcome", "You have email" and "Goodbye" for that company.[28]

From 2004 to 2006 she appeared in adverts for insurance brokers Privilege.[29][30]

Lumley appeared on the last run of ITV's Parkinson as a guest, on 27 October 2007, discussing the subject of young girls in the UK. She was asked to write the introduction to a revised edition in November 2007 of the book called The Magic Key to Charm written by the pioneering female journalist Eileen Ascroft.[31] This is a book of tips to women, first written by Ascroft in 1938 about how to be glamorous. "I thought it was absolutely enchanting, it's how young women were told how to behave in the old days and I think it might be just coming back for a bit of a revival", she explained in the interview.

"Because, I have to say I adore our young ones and I think we have got some of the prettiest and loveliest girls in the world but I think sometimes the behaviour gets a bit bad and I think the girls let themselves down. They are so pretty and so lovely but they should behave better, I think, then they will be more successful."[31]

In 1999 she appeared in the Comic Relief Doctor Who parody The Curse of Fatal Death as the final incarnation of the Doctor.[32] She also appeared with Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French and Sienna Miller in the French and Saunders pastiche of Mamma Mia for Comic Relief 2009 in which she played the role of Tanya (named Patsy in the spoof).[33]

In 2004 Lumley appeared as the "Woman with the Sydney Opera House Head" in Dirk Maggs's long-awaited radio adaptation of the third book of the Douglas Adams series The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy.[34]

In 2005 she published her autobiography, No Room for Secrets, which was serialised by The Times,[35] for which she was once a regular contributor.

In September 2008, the BBC aired Joanna Lumley in the Land of the Northern Lights, a documentary about her search to see the Northern Lights in northern Norway.[36][37]

In 2009 she portrayed a rock star, believed to have been dead for 35 years, and her twin, in the "Counter Culture Blues" episode of the British television mystery series Lewis (known in the U.S. as Inspector Lewis).[38]

In 2011, Lumley appeared in Uptown Downstairs Abbey, the Comic Relief parody of the critically acclaimed historical television dramas Downton Abbey and Upstairs Downstairs. Playing herself and the character of Mrs. Danvers, she starred alongside others including Jennifer Saunders, Kim Cattrall, Victoria Wood, Harry Enfield, Patrick Barlow, Dale Winton, Olivia Colman and Tim Vine.

In recent years, Lumley has worked extensively on ITV, and in 2010 Lumley was executive producer and presenter of Joanna Lumley's Nile, where she journeyed up the River Nile from sea to source in Rwanda, for ITV.[39] This was broadcast in four parts on ITV beginning on 12 April 2010, and repeated in June 2013.

Lumley travelled again for ITV in 2011, this time visiting Greece for a four-part series titled Joanna Lumley's Greek Odyssey. The series aired on ITV beginning on 13 October.[40] Once again, in 2012, Lumley travelled for ITV, now in search of Noah's Ark. The trip, which encompassed 3 continents and also involved an adventurous jaunt into Iran, aired in late 2012 as a single 90-minute documentary titled Joanna Lumley's Ark.[41][42]

In March 2014 she appeared in a BBC One hour-long documentary featuring American musician The programme was called Joanna Lumley Meets[43][44] In December 2014, she presented Bette Midler: One Night Only, a one-off ITV special.[45]

In 2015 she presented a three-part factual series for ITV called Joanna Lumley's Trans-Siberian Adventure.[46] The series saw Lumley travel 6400 miles from Hong Kong to Moscow, along the Trans-Siberian Railway.[47]

In September 2016, she presented Joanna Lumley's Japan, a three-part documentary series for ITV and in July 2017, she presented Joanna Lumley's India for ITV.

In 2018 she presented Joanna Lumley's Silk Road Adventure, a four-part travelogue covering eight countries which were part of the ancient trade route.[48]


Lumley is also known for her support for Gurkhas, the exiled Tibetan people and government, the Khonds indigenous people of India and the Prospect Burma charity, which offers grants to Burmese students, for whom she broadcast a BBC Radio 4 charity appeal in 2001.[49] Her father was a commanding officer of a troop of Gurkhas who fought in World War II.[50]

Gurkha Justice Campaign

Lumley with David Cameron, Bob Russell and the Liberal Democrat leader, Nick Clegg, celebrating the vote in favour of giving Gurkha veterans right of residence

Main article: Gurkha Justice Campaign

In 2008, Lumley became the public face of the Gurkha Justice Campaign, a campaign to provide all Nepalese origin Gurkha veterans who served in the British Army before 1997 the right to settle in Britain. Those serving following 1997 had already been granted permission, but the British Government had not extended the offer to all of the Gurkhas. On 20 November 2008, Lumley led a large all-party group including Gurkhas starting from Parliament Square to 10 Downing Street with a petition signed by 250,000 people.[51]

On 24 April 2009, she stated that she was "ashamed" of the UK administration's decision to affix five criteria to the Gurkhas' right to settle in the UK. With the support of both Opposition parties and Labour rebel MPs on 29 April 2009, a Liberal Democrat motion that all Gurkhas be offered an equal right of residence was passed, allowing Gurkhas who served before 1997 residence in the UK and access to housing, social security and healthcare.[52][53][54] Following the Government defeat, the Minister for Immigration Phil Woolas stated that a further review would be completed by the middle of July.

On 5 May 2009, Lumley said that she had received private assurances of support from "a senior member of the Royal Family",[55] and attended a meeting with Prime Minister Gordon Brown at 10 Downing Street the following day. Afterwards, she described the meeting as "extremely positive", and praised Mr Brown, saying, "I trust him. I rely on him. And I know that he has now taken this matter into his own hands and so today is a very good day."[56]

However, on the day following the meeting with Brown, five Gurkha veterans who had applied for residency in the United Kingdom received letters telling them that their appeals had been rejected – many saw this as a betrayal, despite the fact that for the letters to have been received the day after the meeting they might have been sent before it (and certainly following the 29 April Commons vote). Lumley confronted Phil Woolas at the BBC Westminster studios about the issue and, after her pursuing him around the studio, the pair held an impromptu press conference in which Woolas agreed to accept Gurkha Justice Campaign input in developing new guidelines by July while giving sympathetic treatment to Gurkhas not meeting the then current immigration guidelines before the development of new guidelines.[57]

Following a Commons Home Affairs Committee meeting in which talks were held between campaigners, the Ministry of Defence and the Home Office on 19 May,[58] all Gurkha veterans who had served four years or more in the British Army before 1997 were given the right to settle in Britain.[59]

Lumley's success in campaigning prompted calls for her to stand as a Member of Parliament at the 2010 UK general election. However, she has dismissed the suggestion.[60] During an appearance on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross on 29 May 2009, she reiterated that she had no desire to stand for election to the House of Commons.

In July 2009, Lumley went on a visit to Nepal. Upon her arrival at Tribhuvan International Airport, she was greeted by crowds of Gurkha supporters. Lumley said in a statement, "I feel so humbled by the fact I'm going to meet so many ex-Gurkhas and their families, and see where they are and how they live."[61] While there, Lumley was hailed 'Daughter of Nepal' by the crowds of fans at the airport.[62]

Work for Survival International

Main article: Survival International

Lumley has long been a supporter of Survival International and the cause of indigenous rights, and narrated Survival's documentary, Mine: Story of a Sacred Mountain.[63][64] The film tells the story of the remote Dongria Kondha tribe in India and their battle to stop a vast bauxite mine from destroying their land and way of life. In defence of the Dongria, she has said,

"It greatly disturbs me that a British company will be responsible for the destruction of these wonderful people. I urge the public to support the Dongria, who simply want to be allowed to live in peace. Unlike so many of India's rural poor, the Dongria actually live very well in the Niyamgiri hills, and it's a terrible irony that what Vedanta is proposing to do in the name of 'development' will actually destroy this completely self-sufficient people."[65]

Lumley also contributed her writing for the book We Are One: A Celebration of Tribal Peoples, released in October 2009 with profits going in support of Survival.[66] A collection of photographs, statements from tribal people and essays from international authors, the book explores the richness of the cultures of indigenous peoples around the world and the risks to their existence. In her essay for the book, Lumley speaks of the Dongria way of life and the threats they face in the name of corporate interests, and calls for action to stop such decisions.[67]

Other patronage

Since 1984 Lumley has been a Patron of Born Free Foundation founded in the same year by the stars of the popular wildlife film Born Free, Bill Travers and Virginia McKenna.[68] The Foundation (originally called Zoo Check), campaigns to 'keep wildlife in the wild'. She has fronted a number of the charity's campaigns, including the relocation of endangered giraffe in Kenya and, in 2020, narrating a short film entitled 'Protect Them, Protect Us', concerning the relentless exploitation and consumption of wildlife and the natural world, and its link with the COVID-19 pandemic. Following the death of Bill Travers in 1994, Lumley remains a close friend of McKenna and her eldest son, Will Travers, who is the charity's Executive President.[citation needed][69]

In May 2016, Lumley became a Patron of Population Matters, an organisation campaigning for the achievement of a sustainable global population size.[70]

Lumley has been a Patron of the UK charity Tree Aid,[71] since 1993. The organisation aims to enable communities in Africa's drylands to fight poverty and become self-reliant, while improving the environment.

Lumley is also a Patron of the Pastoral and Environmental Network in the Horn of Africa (PENHA). PENHA is an African inspired and led international nongovernmental organization (INGO) and research institute, founded in 1989 by a group of development practitioners concerned about the future of pastoralism in the Horn of Africa.[72][73]

Another charity which Lumley is a Patron of is Kids for Kids, helping children in Darfur, Sudan.[74]

Lumley is also a Patron of the Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust.[75] Moat Brae was the favourite place for author J. M. Barrie to play as a child and the house and gardens are said to have inspired Barrie to create Peter Pan. The trust is undertaking a £4 million fundraising project to renovate the Georgian house and gardens to operate as an educational and cultural centre for local schools and JM Barrie enthusiasts and scholars.[76][77]

Lumley is a Patron of the UK environmental charity Earth Restoration Service.[78] which supports environmental restoration programmes in UK schools, particularly by planting trees and wildflower meadows. In 2008, she spoke on behalf of the charity in the House of Lords to argue for a strong and more widespread environmental movement across the world, and in 2009 she provided the voice over for a short animated film produced by the charity.[79]

Lumley is Patron of the UK charity Trust in Children[80] which aims to help children from poor backgrounds to access education and opportunities for non-academic development.[81]

Lumley has a long association and interest in Nepal and its people that grew out of her father's service as an officer in 6th Gurkha Rifles. She agreed to become a Vice Patron of The Gurkha Welfare Trust in 2009.[82]

London Garden Bridge

Main article: Garden Bridge

Lumley first lobbied for a garden bridge across London's River Thames in the late 1990s as a memorial to the late Princess Diana; this campaign was unsuccessful. In 2002 she presented detailed plans ( produced by engineering group Arup ) for the bridge to then Mayor of London Ken Livingstone; this bid was also rejected. In 2012 days after the re-election of Boris Johnson as Mayor of London Lumley sent an effusive congratulatory letter to him outlining her proposal for the bridge.[83] It was later revealed that she felt confident of a favourable response from Johnson as she had known him "since he was four years old".[84] Thomas Heatherwick was proposed by Lumley as the designer for the bridge; he is mentioned favourably in her 2004 autobiography.[84]

The Johnson-chaired Transport for London body initiated a competition for a new central London cross-river footbridge. Three firms were invited to submit proposals and Heatherwick Studios won the competition despite having never previously built a bridge on the proposed scale unlike the losing practices which had built very many. This outcome proved highly controversial.[84] Equally the subsequent funding arrangements for the bridge attracted criticism. These included: "Unorthodox" circumvention of official procedures for public money use by then Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne. A £10,000 taxpayer-funded trip by Johnson, Heatherwick and Sir Edward Lister to Apple Computer in San Francisco seeking sponsorship for the bridge ( the bid failed ). Escalating cost estimates for the project topped out at around £200m[85] leading to withdrawal of pledged private sponsorship.[84]

This together with strong opposition from local residents created ever-greater scrutiny of the proposals. It became clear that the bridge would be closed at night, involve the felling of 30 mature trees and effectively privatise long-held public space in central London. Lumley also reversed her position on cycleway provision for the bridge.[84]

Johnson continued to support the failing project until his very last day in office; attempting to shore up its funding with last minute manoeuvring to guarantee public money for the by then £70m shortfall.[84]

Following the election of Sadiq Khan in 2016 Mayoral support for the project was withdrawn (finally in August 2017) in the face of lack of funds and persistent planning issues.

£46.4m of public money had been spent.[86] A Khan-commissioned report concluded that the "business case for the bridge was flimsy and that the procurement process in which Heatherwick Studio won the contract was “not open, fair or competitive”.[87]

Lumley made little comment on the fiasco until in 2017, interviewed by Rupert Murdoch's Times newspaper she stated that the cancellation was “absolutely shattering, devastating... The negativity troubles me in my heart. I hope we’re not turning into the sort of country that instantly says no before it considers saying yes. A nation that just pulls the shutters down. The silent majority still love the bridge, but of course they were not asked what they think."[88] Murdoch was on record as having supported both Johnson and the bridge project.

Research fellowship

In 1996, the Lumley Research Fellowship was established at Green College, University of Oxford. Sponsored by Friends Provident financial group, it was for a young researcher on "major environmental or wildlife issues, with particular reference to Africa". The candidates were interviewed by Lumley.[89]


In February 2013, Lumley was assessed as one of the 100 most influential women in the United Kingdom by BBC Radio 4's Woman's Hour.[90]

Personal life

Lumley's son, James (known as Jamie), was born in 1967.[91] His father is photographer Michael Claydon.[92] She was briefly married to actor Jeremy Lloyd during 1970.[93] She married the conductor Stephen Barlow in 1986; they live in London.[94] They also own a house near the village of Penpont, Dumfriesshire, in Scotland.[95]

Lumley supports over 60 charities, and has been a vegetarian for 40 years.[96] She has donated books to Book Aid International. She is patron of the Born Free Foundation[97] and passionate about the Free Tibet campaign.[98]

In May 2009 Lumley supported the Green Party during the 2009 European Elections campaign. For Lumley, the work of Green MEPs in the European Parliament in pursuing human rights and animal rights made the Green Party "the obvious choice" and urged UK voters "to cast a positive vote for a better future by voting Green in the European Elections."[99] Lumley also appeared in literature to support changing the British electoral system from first-past-the-post to alternative vote for electing Members of Parliament to the House of Commons in the Alternative Vote referendum in 2011.[100]

In 2010, Lumley donated £1,000 to Caroline Lucas's campaign to become the first Green Party MP during the 2010 General Election campaign.[101] She endorsed the parliamentary candidacy of Dr Lucas at the 2015 general election.[102]

In August 2015, Lumley backed children's fairytales app "GivingTales" in aid of UNICEF together with other British celebrities including Roger Moore, Stephen Fry, Ewan McGregor, Joan Collins, Michael Caine, David Walliams, Charlotte Rampling, Paul McKenna and Michael Ball.[103]

In July 2021, Lumley joined an international line-up of actors in backing calls for the Great Barrier Reef to be placed on a list of world heritage sites currently in danger.[104]

In 2023, Lumley attended the coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla. In July 2023, Lumley announced that she is suffering from prosopagnosia, a condition which impairs facial perception.[105][106]


Lumley was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 1995 New Year Honours and promoted Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) in the 2022 New Year Honours for services to drama, entertainment and charitable causes.[107][108][109]


Elected a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society (FRGS), Lumley was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters (Hon. D.Litt.) by the University of Kent in July 1994.[110] In 2002, she was awarded an honorary degree by Oxford Brookes University.[111] In 2006, she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters (Hon. D.Litt.) by the University of St Andrews.[112][113]

In July 2008, she was awarded an Honorary Doctor of the University (Hon DUniv) by Queen's University Belfast,[114][115][116] and in March 2019, she and her husband were both awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Chester.[117]



Year Title Role Notes
1969 Some Girls Do Second Robot Saboteur
On Her Majesty's Secret Service The English Girl
1970 The Breaking of Bumbo Susie
Tam-Lin Georgia
1971 Games That Lovers Play Fanny Hill
The House That Dripped Blood Film Crew Girl
1973 The Satanic Rites of Dracula Jessica Van Helsing
1974 Don't Just Lie There, Say Something! Miss Parkyn
1979 The Plank Model
1982 Trail of the Pink Panther Marie Jouvet
1983 Curse of the Pink Panther Countess Chandra
1989 Shirley Valentine Marjorie Majors
1995 Innocent Lies Lady Helena Graves
Cold Comfort Farm Mrs. Mary Smiling
1996 James and the Giant Peach Aunt Spiker
1997 Prince Valiant Morgan le Fay
1999 Parting Shots Freda
Mad Cows Gillian
2000 Maybe Baby Sheila
Whispers: An Elephant's Tale Half Tusk Voice
2001 The Cat's Meow Elinor Glyn
2003 Standing Room Only Last in Line Short film
2004 EuroTrip Hostel Clerk
Ella Enchanted Dame Olga
2005 The Magic Roundabout Ermintrude Voice
Corpse Bride Maudeline Everglot Voice
2006 Dolls Madame Muscat Short film
2009 Boogie Woogie Alfreda Rhinegold
Professor Layton and the Eternal Diva Stella Voice
2010 Animals United Giselle Voice
2011 Late Bloomers Charlotte
2013 The Wolf of Wall Street Aunt Emma
2014 Death Knight Love Story Lady Blameaux Voice
She's Funny That Way Vivian Claremont
2015 Absolutely Anything Fenella
2016 Me Before You Mary Rawlinson
Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie Patsy Stone
2017 The Man You're Not Joanna Lumley
Paddington 2 Felicity Fanshaw
Finding Your Feet Jackie
2020 Falling for Figaro Meghan Geoffrey-Bishop
2021 The Picture of Dorian Gray Lady Narborough


Year Title Role Notes
1969 The Wednesday Play Elsie Engelfield 1 episode
1971 It's Awfully Bad For Your Eyes, Darling Samantha Ryder-Ross All 7 episodes
1972 Steptoe and Son Bunty Episode: "Loathe Story"
1973 Are You Being Served? Miss French Episode: "His and Hers"
The Protectors Liz Episode: "Petard"
Coronation Street Elaine Perkins 8 episodes
1975 Are You Being Served? German Lady Episode: "German Week"
1976 The Cuckoo Waltz Harriet Paulden Episode: "Babysitter'"
1976–1977 The New Avengers Purdey All 26 episodes
BAFTA win – "Special Award" (2000)
1978 Whodunnit? Panelist TV Game Show
1979–1982 Sapphire & Steel Sapphire All 34 episodes
1981–1985 The Kenny Everett Television Show Various 5 episodes
1983 The Weather in the Streets Kate Television film
1984 Mistral's Daughter Lally Longbridge Miniseries
The Glory Boys Helen Television film
Oxbridge Blues Gigi Episode: "That Was Tory"
1986 The Two Ronnies Miss Dibley 1 episode
1990 A Ghost in Monte Carlo Lady Drayton Television film
1991 A Perfect Hero Loretta Stone Miniseries
1991–1994 The Full Wax 4 episodes
1992 Lovejoy Victoria Cavero 3 episodes
Absolutely Fabulous Patsy Stone All 39 episodes
British Comedy Award win – "Best Comedy Actress" (1993)
BAFTA win – "Best Light Entertainment Performance" (1993)
BAFTA win – "Best Comedy Performance" (1995)
BAFTA nomination – "Best Comedy Performance" (1996)
BAFTA nomination – "Best Comedy Performance" (1997)
BAFTA nomination – "Best Comedy Performance" (2002)
1993 Cluedo Mrs Peacock 6 episodes
1994 Girl Friday
1994–1995 Class Act Kate Swift All 14 episodes
1995 The Forgotten Toys Annie Voice; all 26 episodes
1996 Roseanne Patsy Stone Episode: "Satan, Darling"
1998 The Tale of Sweeney Todd Mrs. Lovett Television film
A Rather English Marriage Liz Franks Television film
BAFTA nomination – "Best Actress"
Coming Home Diana Carey-Lewis 2 episodes
1999–2000 Foxbusters Sims Voice; all 26 episodes
1999 Dr Willoughby Donna Sinclair All 6 episodes
The Curse of Fatal Death The Female Doctor Comic Relief special
Alice in Wonderland Tiger Lily Television film
Nancherrow Diana Carey-Lewis Miniseries
2000 Mirrorball Jackie Riviera Pilot
2002 Up in Town Madison Blakelock British Comedy Award nomination – "Best Comedy Actress"
2004, 2011 Agatha Christie's Marple Dolly Bantry 2 episodes (The Body in the Library and The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side)
2005–2007 Sensitive Skin Davina Jackson All 12 episodes
2006–2008 Jam & Jerusalem Delilah Stagg 6 episodes
2009 Lewis Esme Ford Episode: "Counter Culture Blues"
2010 Mistresses Vivienne Roden 4 episodes
2011 Uptown Downstairs Abbey Mrs. Danvers / Herself Comic Relief special
2012 Little Crackers Magazine Editor Episode: "Joanna Lumley's Little Cracker: Baby, Be Blonde"
The Making of a Lady Lady Maria Byrne Television film
2013 Jonathan Creek Rosalind Tartikoff Episode: "The Clue of the Savant's Thumb"
Gangsta Granny Queen Elizabeth II TV film
2017 Carnage Joanna Lumley Mockumentary
2019 Bodyguard Prime Minister Comic Relief special entitled Red Nose Bodyguard
2020 The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse Narrator Episode: "The Brave Little Squire"
2021 Finding Alice Sarah All 6 episodes
Motherland Felicity Christmas Special
2022 Motherland Felicity Christmas Special
2023 Summer Camp Island Susie McCallister (at 97 years old) Episodes: "Night Pockets" & "Retrace Our Hooves"
2024 Fool Me Once Judith Burkett Main role[118]

Non-acting television

Year Title Role Notes
1997 Joanna Lumley in the Kingdom of the Thunder Dragon Herself
2008 Joanna Lumley in the Land of the Northern Lights Herself Documentary
Ian Fleming: Where Bond Began Herself Documentary
2009 Joanna Lumley Catwoman Herself Documentary
2010 Joanna Lumley's Nile Herself Documentary series
2011 Joanna Lumley's Greek Odyssey Herself Documentary series
2012 Joanna Lumley: The Search for Noah's Ark Herself Documentary
2014 Joanna Lumley Meets Herself Documentary
Bette Midler: One Night Only Herself/host TV special
2015 Joanna Lumley's Trans-Siberian Adventure Herself/presenter Documentary series
Joanna Lumley: Elvis and Me Herself/presenter Documentary
2016 Joanna Lumley's Japan Herself/presenter Documentary series
2017 Ant & Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway Herself "The Missing Crown Jewels" mini-series
Joanna Lumley's Postcards Herself/presenter Documentary series
Joanna Lumley's India[119] Herself/presenter Documentary series
Joanna & Jennifer: Absolutely Champers Herself/co-presenter One-off documentary
Poetry Off the Page Narrator Television film
2018 71st British Academy Film Awards Herself/presenter
Joanna Lumley's Silk Road Adventure Herself/presenter Documentary series
2020 Joanna Lumley's Hidden Caribbean: Havana to Haiti Herself/presenter Documentary series
Joanna Lumley's Unseen Adventures Herself/presenter Documentary series
Heathrow: Britain's Busiest Airport Narrator Documentary series
2021 Joanna Lumley's Home Sweet Home – Travels in My Own Land (a.k.a. Joanna Lumley's Britain) Herself/presenter Documentary series
Joanna Lumley and the Human Swan Herself/presenter Documentary series[120]
2022 Joanna Lumley's Great Cities of the World Herself/presenter Documentary series[121]
RuPaul's Drag Race UK Guest judge Series 4, episode 1
2023 Joanna Lumley's Spice Trail Adventure Herself/presenter Documentary series[122]




As author

She has also narrated a number of audiobooks and provided forewords for works by other authors.

As subject

Home media


  1. ^ "Joanna Lumley | Biography, TV Shows, & Films". Britannica. 14 August 2023.
  2. ^ Passey, James (7 February 2012). "The fabulous campaigner: Joanna Lumley". Archived from the original on 20 April 2012. Retrieved 22 September 2016.
  3. ^ "Joanna Lumley's Indian journey came to a very moving end â€" review". The Telegraph. 19 July 2017. ISSN 0307-1235. Archived from the original on 11 January 2022. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  4. ^ Family detective: Joanna Lumley Barratt, Nick (4 August 2007). "Family Detective: Joanna Lumley". The Daily Telegraph. p. W16.
  5. ^ Pike, Francis (2016). Hirohito's War: The Pacific War, 1941–1945. Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 748–49. ISBN 9781472596710.
  6. ^ a b "Joanna Lumley: The avenger". The Independent. 2 May 2009. Archived from the original on 9 June 2022. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
  7. ^ "Joanna Lumley: 'Britain is not awful. We are good people'". You. 7 February 2021. Retrieved 13 February 2021.
  8. ^ "HOLMHURST ST MARY'S SCHOOL, Non Civil Parish – 1043422". Historic England.
  9. ^ "Joanna Lumley: "I have always loved getting older, so being 70 is fabulous"". The Big Issue. 4 July 2016. Retrieved 4 July 2020.
  10. ^ Miss Hortin-Smith by Joanna Lumley; 27 February 2015, Times Educational Supplement, access-date: 1 July 2020
  11. ^ "Joanna Lumley profile: She's nobody's Patsy". The Scotsman. Edinburgh. 9 May 2009. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  12. ^ "A youthful Joanna Lumley talks about working with photographer Brian Duffy". BBC. 16 March 2017. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  13. ^ Adams, Stephen (8 January 2010). "1960s photographer Brian Duffy picks up camera 30 years on". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 11 January 2022. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  14. ^ Sweney, Mark (14 September 2006). "Nimble Builds on Heritage". The Guardian (MediaGuardian). London. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  15. ^ White, Rosie R (2007). Violent Femmes: Women as Spies in Popular Culture. London: Routledge. p. 96. ISBN 978-0-415-37078-3.
  16. ^ White, Sheri (15 November 2018). "'The Satanic Rites of Dracula' (1973) New 2018 1080p HD Master". HORROR WORLD. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  17. ^ Horne, Marc (10 October 2010). "How Doctor Who nearly became the Time Lady". The Daily Telegraph. Archived from the original on 11 January 2022. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  18. ^ Peck, Matthew Wace (10 October 2010). "Joanna Lumley was set to be the first female Doctor Who". Digital Journal. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  19. ^ Peck, Matthew Wace (3 August 2013). "Op-Ed: Is the new Doctor Who a woman?". Digital Journal. Retrieved 13 April 2017.
  20. ^ "Class Act: The Complete Series". network. Retrieved 27 January 2021.
  21. ^ "Joanna through the looking glass". The Daily Telegraph. 18 February 2002. Archived from the original on 11 January 2022. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  22. ^ "You have to laugh, don't you?". The Daily Telegraph. London. 4 March 2002. Archived from the original on 11 January 2022. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  23. ^ "The renewed Avenger". The Times. London, UK. 25 June 2007.
  24. ^ "Mistresses, Series 3". BBC One Mistresses show-site. Retrieved 25 June 2016.
  25. ^ Joanna Lumley has Ab Fab time with Leo DiCaprio, The Daily Telegraph (London), 21 November 2012
  26. ^ "La Bête Will Play Broadway's Music Box Theatre" Archived 27 September 2010 at the Wayback Machine 24 May 2010,
  27. ^ Bio at IMDb
  28. ^ McVeigh, Tracy (9 May 2009). "Joanna Lumley: Never mess with an old Avenger". The Observer. Guardian Media Group. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
  29. ^ Pearlman, Julia (13 October 2005). "Female consumers turned off by 'tabloid fodder' endorsing brands". Brand Republic News. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  30. ^ "Privilege Insurance seeks direct shop to back TV drive". Brand Republic News. 1 March 2006. Archived from the original on 10 June 2013. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  31. ^ a b Kilkelly, Daniel (27 October 2007). "Joanna Lumley wants girls to behave better". Digital Spy.
  32. ^ Jackson, Trevor (24 October 2003). "G'day Daleks! An Australian to play the part of Doctor Who?". ABC Tasmania.
  33. ^ "French and Saunders parody 'Mamma Mia!' for Comic Relief". Hello! Magazine. 12 March 2009. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
  34. ^ Smith, Neil (21 September 2004). "Hitchhiker's Guide back on the air". BBC News. Retrieved 15 January 2012.
  35. ^ Absolute Secret The Times (London). 4 March 2005
  36. ^ Moran, Caitlin (6 September 2008). "Joanna Lumley chills out in the Land of the Northern Lights". The Times. London. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  37. ^ "Joanna Lumley in the Land of the Northern Lights". BBC Programmes. Retrieved 29 August 2017.
  38. ^ Holmwood, Leigh (14 April 2009). "TV ratings: Joanna Lumley in Lewis watched by 6 million". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
  39. ^ "Joanna Lumley's Nile". Tiger Aspect Productions. 12 April 2010. Archived from the original on 3 August 2011. Retrieved 17 January 2012.
  40. ^ Richards, Sam (13 October 2011). "Joanna Lumley's Greek Odyssey". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 15 January 2012. Joanna Lumley returns for a new travelogue and this time she's in Greece.
  41. ^ Neilan, Catherine (22 June 2012). "Lumley and Quentin to front ITV1 shows". BroadcastNow. Retrieved 17 August 2012. Clive Tulloh's new indie Burning Bright has secured two new celebrity-fronted commissions for ITV1.
  42. ^ Eden, Richard (18 March 2012). "Actress Joanna Lumley braves danger in search of Noah's ark in Iran". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 17 August 2012. Joanna Lumley, the actress, will defy Foreign Office advice and travel to Iran to film a documentary about Noah's ark.
  43. ^ John Crace. "Joanna Lumley Meets – TV review". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  44. ^ "Joanna Lumley Meets, BBC One, review". The Daily Telegraph. London. 28 March 2014. Archived from the original on 11 January 2022. Retrieved 30 March 2014.
  45. ^ Rigby, Sam (30 October 2014). "Bette Midler announced for ITV One Night Only special". Digital Spy.
  46. ^ "Joanna Lumley set to embark on Trans-Siberian Adventure". 13 July 2015.
  47. ^ "Burning Bright Productions".
  48. ^ "When is Joanna Lumley's Silk Road Adventure on TV?". Radio Times. Retrieved 6 December 2018.
  49. ^ "Home – Prospect Burma". Archived from the original on 21 August 2007. Retrieved 2 June 2009.
  50. ^ "Joanna Lumley: I'll quit Britain if there is no justice for Gurkhas". The Daily Telegraph. London. 19 September 2008. Archived from the original on 20 September 2008. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  51. ^ "About the Gurkha Justice Campaign: Campaign Organisers" Archived 1 October 2013 at the Wayback Machine Gurkha Justice web site
  52. ^ "Fury over Gurkha settlement plan". BBC News. 24 April 2009. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  53. ^ "Lib Dems challenge Gurkha ruling". BBC News. 26 April 2009. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  54. ^ "BBC 'Brown defeated over Gurkha rules'". BBC News. 29 April 2009. Retrieved 29 April 2009.
  55. ^ "No 10 denies Lumley 'Gurkha snub'". BBC News. 5 May 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2009.
  56. ^ "Lumley 'trusts' Brown on Gurkhas". BBC News. 6 May 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2009.
  57. ^ "Lumley in public clash on Gurkhas". BBC News. 7 May 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2009.
  58. ^ "Gurkhas in Britain: a timeline of their campaign to stay". The Daily Telegraph. London. 21 May 2009. Archived from the original on 26 May 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2009.
  59. ^ "Gurkhas win right to settle in UK". BBC News. 21 May 2009. Retrieved 23 May 2009.
  60. ^ McDowell, Lindy (23 May 2009). "How Joanna Lumley is leading the charge". The Belfast Telegraph. Retrieved 23 May 2009.
  61. ^ "Lumley mobbed by crowds in Nepal". BBC News. 26 July 2009. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  62. ^ Jolly, Joanna (26 July 2009). "Lumley greeted as 'daughter of Nepal'". BBC News. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  63. ^ "Mine: Story of a Sacred Mountain". 1 April 2009 – via IMDb.
  64. ^ International, Survival. "London protesters vow to stop British mine and destruction of tribe in India".
  65. ^ International, Survival. "Joanna Lumley narrates new film about remote tribe".
  66. ^ International, Survival. "We Are One".
  67. ^ Eede, Joanna (2009). We are One: A Celebration of Tribal Peoples. Quadrille Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84400-729-5.
  68. ^ "International Animal Welfare Charity". Born Free. Retrieved 8 March 2022.
  69. ^ "Bill Travers: "born free" star, Animal Conservationist". Los Angeles Times. 3 April 1994.
  70. ^ "Population Matters appoints Joanna Lumley as patron". Population Matters. Archived from the original on 10 June 2016. Retrieved 12 May 2016.
  71. ^ Info Tree Aid web site
  72. ^ "Welcome to Penha – Penha". Archived from the original on 9 January 2012.
  73. ^ "About us – PENHA". Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  74. ^ "Patrons and Endorsements". 22 May 2015. Archived from the original on 4 March 2021. Retrieved 10 March 2021.
  75. ^ "The Peter Pan Moat Brae Trust". Archived from the original on 4 September 2012.
  76. ^ "BDumfries Peter Pan house project launched". BBC News. 2 August 2011. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  77. ^ "Actress supports Moat Brae plans – Dumfries and Galloway Standard". Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  78. ^ "Supporters". Earth Restoration Service. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  79. ^ Hickman, Leo (24 June 2009). "Can Joanna Lumley make us listen when it comes to the environment | Leo Hickman". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  80. ^ Our patrons Trust in Children web site
  81. ^ "Charity overview". Retrieved 27 November 2018.
  82. ^ "Our Patrons | The Gurkha Welfare Trust | About Us". The Gurkha Welfare Trust. Retrieved 2 November 2018.
  83. ^ Townsend, Mark (23 May 2015). "How Joanna Lumley charmed 'dear Boris' to back her garden bridge dream". The Guardian. London.
  84. ^ a b c d e f Cockburn, Harry (3 March 2018). "A 'Garden Bridge: how the vision came crashing down". The Independent. London. Retrieved 5 August 2023.
  85. ^ Jack, Ian (13 February 2016). "Why is London's Garden Bridge worth as much as five Lancashire museums? Ask Joanna Lumley". The Guardian. London.
  86. ^ O'Ceallaigh, John (14 June 2013). "A 'Garden Bridge' across the Thames". The Daily Telegraph. London. Archived from the original on 15 June 2013. Retrieved 31 July 2013.
  87. ^ Cockburn, Harry (7 April 2017). "Boris Johnson's Garden Bridge project should be scrapped at cost of £46m, damning independent review finds". The Independent. London. Retrieved 5 August 2023.
  88. ^ Morrison, Jonathan (29 April 2017). "Lumley fights on for her fabulous bridge". The Times. London. Retrieved 5 August 2023.
  89. ^ "Joanna Lumley – Green College Oxford". Archived from the original on 6 March 2016. Retrieved 28 February 2016.
  90. ^ "Woman's Hour – The Power List 2013". BBC.
  91. ^ "Joanna Lumley: Her age, husband, son, career and other fascinating facts". Smooth. Retrieved 21 January 2021.
  92. ^ Article by Chris Byfield 2021-12-11 in Daily Express
  93. ^ "'Allo 'Allo! comedy writer Jeremy Lloyd dies at the age of 84". BBC News. 23 December 2014. Retrieved 12 January 2018.
  94. ^ Boucher, Caroline (5 March 1995). "How We Met : Joanna Lumley and Stephen Barlow". The Independent. Archived from the original on 26 December 2012. Retrieved 20 April 2023.
  95. ^ "Star billing for sleepy hollow". The Times. London. 8 May 2005.
  96. ^ Barton, Laura (31 August 2009). "Joanna Lumley: 'I don't make a very good goddess'". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 27 March 2010.
  97. ^ "Joanna Lumley". Archived from the original on 19 December 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  98. ^ "Joanna Lumley to join huge London demonstrations in support of Tibet | Free Tibet". 4 July 2023.
  99. ^ Morris, Nigel (28 May 2009). "Lumley goes Green in European elections". The Independent. London. Retrieved 17 January 2012. I urge you to cast a positive vote for a better future by voting Green in the European elections
  100. ^ "Benjamin Zephaniah 'airbrushed from Yes to AV leaflets'". BBC News. 3 April 2011.
  101. ^ Simon Hattenstone (3 April 2010). "Joanna Lumley: 'I'm a happy person. But injustice I loathe'". The Guardian. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  102. ^ Elgot, Jessica (24 April 2015). "Celebrities sign statement of support for Caroline Lucas – but not the Greens". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 23 July 2015.
  103. ^ "Roger Moore backs children's fairytales app in aid of Unicef". The Guardian. London. 18 June 2015.
  104. ^ "Joanna Lumley and Jason Momoa join prominent group backing Great Barrier Reef 'in danger' listing". The Guardian. 20 July 2021. Retrieved 29 July 2021.
  105. ^ "Tracks of My Years podcast: Dame Joanna Lumley". BBC. 25 June 2023. Retrieved 3 July 2023. around the 41:20 mark.
  106. ^ "Joanna Lumley living with face blindness like Brad Pitt: What is the rare condition?". Yahoo! News. 3 July 2023. Retrieved 3 July 2023.
  107. ^ "No. 63571". The London Gazette (Supplement). 1 January 2022. p. N8.
  108. ^ "New Year Honours: Whitty, Van-Tam and Blair knighted, Lumley and Redgrave made dames". BBC News. 31 December 2021. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  109. ^ "New Year Honours 2022: Lumley and Redgrave become dames". BBC News. 31 December 2021. Retrieved 3 January 2022.
  110. ^ "Honorary graduates 1990–99 – About Kent – University of Kent". 24 March 2011. Archived from the original on 9 November 2012. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  111. ^ The Times Higher Education, 15 September 2000."Glittering Prizes". Retrieved 22 April 2014
  112. ^ "Masterlist Honorary Graduates 1921–2012" (PDF) (Press release). Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  113. ^ "Ab Fab degree – Education". The Scotsman. 2 June 2006. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  114. ^ "Citation for Joanna Lumley By Pro-Chancellor Rotha Johnston" (PDF). Queen's University Belfast. 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 24 September 2015. Retrieved 25 April 2015.
  115. ^ "Lumley's honour is 'Ab Fab'". Belfast Newsletter. 4 July 2008. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  116. ^ "An absolutely fab day for graduates – Local & National, News". The Belfast Telegraph. 4 July 2008. Retrieved 21 October 2012.
  117. ^ "Honorary doctorates for Joanna Lumley and Patricia Routledge". ITV News. 15 March 2019. Retrieved 17 March 2019.
  118. ^ "Netflix Adapting Harlan Coben's 'Fool Me Once' With Star Michelle Keegan". The Wrap. 20 February 2023. Retrieved 21 February 2023.
  119. ^ "Joanna Lumley returns to India for epic new ITV documentary series".
  120. ^ "Joanna Lumley supports Human Swan Sacha Dench on daring circumnavigation of Britain by paramotor". 5 July 2021. Retrieved 11 September 2021.
  121. ^ "Joanna Lumley's Great Cities of the World". 2 March 2021. Retrieved 5 March 2022.
  122. ^ "Joanna Lumley's Spice Trail Adventure". Retrieved 28 June 2023.