Not in the Diary

Thora Hird, one of Britain’s best-known TV personalities, died at the age of 91 in March 2003 ending a career that had lasted almost a century.

She was born in Morecambe, Lancashire, the daughter of theatrical parents. At the end of July 1911 Thora Hird trod, or rather was carried on, the boards for the first time at the tender age of eight weeks old.

Alan Bennett's Talking Heads cameos were proof of her remarkable talent as a 'serious' performer and won her a BAFTA award for Best Actress. She also starred in the staggering 1999 drama Lost for Words, which won an Emmy. Thora's appearances in everything from Memento Mori to Victoria Wood's Dinnerladies have endeared her to a nation. But her influence and popularity have been evideent right through the formative years of British comedy and she has been a significant inspiration for many contemporary writers and actors.

She married James Scott and had a daughter, Janette Scott, the film actress. James died in 1994 after nearly sixty years of marriage. She became a Dame in 1993.

Thora had a grasp of her character immediately. She didn’t have to work herself into a state to get it right. She has a huge trust in her own ability and quite rightly so. She is a naturally funny woman whose comedy is on the edge of tragedy. It’s instinctive and very understanding of life itself.
Alan Bates