Honours list: ‘Icing on the cake of life’ for Dame June Whitfield

June Whitfield, who has been made a Dame in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.
June Whitfield, who has been made a Dame in the Queen's Birthday Honours List.
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FOR MORE than 60 years her name has been on the list of credits at the end of the best comedy programmes, and there are few in the business with whom she has not worked.

“June Whitfield is the Duracell of comedy,” the Leeds-born scriptwriter Barry Cryer observed. Her contribution has now been recognised with her elevation to Dame, an award she described as the “icing on the cake of life”.

The 91-year-old has been honoured for services to drama and entertainment.

“It’s amazing and a great honour,” she said.

Perhaps best known to modern audiences as Edina Monsoon’s mother in Absolutely Fabulous, a role she reprised last year in the spin-off movie, she has moved in entertainment’s upper circles since the days of steam radio.

It was as the dithering Eth, perpetual fiancée to Ron Glum in Frank Muir and Denis Norden’s radio classic Take It From Here, that she made her name. She went on to appear with Tony Hancock on his TV debut and with Morecambe and Wise, among many others.

In the 1970s she was a household name for her partnership with the late Terry Scott in the BBC sitcom, Terry and June, and she was a regular in the Carry On films.

Offering advice to would-be comic actresses, she once said: “Just remember your lines and don’t bump into the furniture.”