Saturday, September 25, 2010

Felicitations Felicity Kendal

The secret to sitcom success is in the ensemble, which is what makes The Good Life (better known as Good Neighbors in North America) the classic that it is. Stuffy Jerry, self-righteous Tom, snobbish Margo, and sweet Barbara appeared together, amazingly enough, in only 30 episodes. Yet they are thirty very rich episodes indeed, and to watch them in their entirety on DVD (as I've recently done) is to feel fed in some way as well as entertained...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket Though she performed Shakespeare throughout India with her family as a child (later the subject of Merchant Ivory's first major film Shakespeare Wallah, written by Ruth Prawer Jhabvala), and despite playing herself in that film, Felicity Kendal - born on this day in 1946 - struggled to find a footing in her career. The Good Life made both a star and a sex symbol out of her; she was known as 'the thinking man's crumpet' in the 1970s, and throughout the 1980s and 90s she appeared in the West End's glittering London in the plays of Tom Stoppard.

Having completed Rosemary & Thyme (which finished its own three-year run in 2007), Kendal next appeared in an episode for an obscure little show nobody's ever heard of called Doctor Who entitled The Unicorn and the Wasp opposite David Tennant and Catherine Tate, and then spent her springtime on the West End stage, appearing in Noel Coward's play The Vortex, which wrapped in June 2008.  She then undertook roles in the plays The Last Cigarette and Mrs Warren's Profession before switching it up by agreeing to appear in Strictly Come Dancing*.

*As part of the show's new series, which began 14 days ago.
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