Fenella Fielding 'Terribly Moved' To Be Awarded An OBE

Star of film and stage honoured for services to drama and charity

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Long time Chiswick resident Fenella Fielding has been awarded an OBE in the Queen's Birthday Honours List, for Services to Drama and Charity.

Fenella, who turned 90 in November 2017, said, “A huge surprise and it is a great honour for me. I’m terribly moved. It’s lovely to have my work acknowledged in a serious way… It would never have occurred to me that this might happen. But I’m very happy, as you can imagine.”

Fenella Fielding is best known for her film appearances in Carry On Screaming (1966), Doctor in Clover (1966) and Carry On Regardless (1961). She was the voice of the Blue Queen in Dougal and the Blue Cat (1970) and the telephone operator and loudspeaker voice in The Prisoner (1967).

fenella and simon
Pictured with Simon McKay in 2017

Her stage credits include the title roles in Hedda Gabler (1969) and Colette (1970). She's fondly remembered for a number of appearances on the Morecambe & Wise Show (1969-1972) as well as playing The Vixen in Uncle Jack (early 1990s). Her most recent TV appearance was Skins (2012).

Last year she celebrated her 90th birthday with a party filled with friends from her long career on stage and screen. It took place the day after she published her memoir (co-written with Simon Mc Kay) 'Do You Mind If I Smoke?'- the title is taken from one of her lines in Carry On Screaming in which she played vamp Valeria. The book is not a chronological tale of her life, but is divided into chapters with different themes.

Speaking about her seventy year career, Miss Fielding says, “I can’t believe it. It seems ridiculous. I haven’t lived that long!” Yet, she has, because she’s been appearing on stage professionally for sixty six years. Commenting on the stage work, she says, “I don’t think you can do anything really good without having done a lot of stage work. That’s because you realise the result of what you’re doing while you’re actually doing it; the effect. It’s crucial.”

Famous for her deep voice, she , “I’ve always enjoyed doing voice work. I really love it so I was happy I was asked to do it again and again.”

Miss Fielding has some interesting insights gained through her long radio career: “Radio work is lovely because you don’t have to be looking good, but the most marvellous thing is you’re given things to do that you wouldn’t have time to do if they were in the theatre; like doing Shakespeare. You don’t have four to six weeks of rehearsal like you would if it was a stage production… you might have six days and you work with such incredibly brilliant people, because radio has the pick of the bunch. It’s wonderful.”

fenellas books

Miss Fielding didn’t marry and she never had children. When asked if her personal life might have been different if she hadn’t spent sixty six years on stage, she said, “While I was doing it all, it never occurred to me. I was just doing what I wanted to do. You can fit these things in – marriage and children. People do, don’t they? But my instinct was just to work."

You can read our interview with Fenella Fielding where she talks about her memoir.

June 9, 2018

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