British stage and television character actress Josephine Ann Tewson has died at the age of 91.
Tewson was best known for her roles in British television sitcoms, such as Edna Hawkins aka “Mrs H” in Shelley; Elizabeth “Liz” Warden, the long-suffering next door neighbour of Hyacinth Bucket in Keeping Up Appearances (1990–1995); and Miss Davenport in Last of the Summer Wine (2003–2010).
Her agent, Jean Diamond of Diamond Management, said:
“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Josephine Tewson. Josephine passed away peacefully last night at Denville Hall at the Age of 91.”
A regular comedy performer in sketches featuring Ronnie Corbett and Ronnie Barker on David Frost on Sunday and Hark at Barker (1969), she later appeared in Mostly Monkhouse, a BBC Radio Comedy programme with David Jason supporting Bob Monkhouse. She also appeared a few times in Z-Cars (1963–69) and The Charlie Drake Show (1968). Tewson played Edna Hawkins (usually referred to as Mrs H by Shelley) in the first six series of the British sitcom Shelley (1979–82).
Later, she played Jane Travers in Ronnie Barker’s sitcom Clarence (1988), which he also wrote, and was his last starring television role before his retirement.
Tewson was known for her role as Elizabeth Warden, neighbour and reluctant confidant of social wannabe Hyacinth Bucket in Keeping Up Appearances. Tewson appeared in nearly every episode for the 5 series run, providing an often rattled but pragmatic counter to the scattered and clueless “Mrs Bucket”.
Other television appearances were in an episode of Heartbeat (“Closing The Book”, 2002) and as the competition judge, Samantha Johnstone, in an episode in the mystery drama Midsomer Murders (“Judgement Day”, 2000). Most recently, she was featured in two episodes of Doctors as kleptomaniac, Audrey Wilson, (“Now You See It…”, 2009) and as Marjorie Page, a woman in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease (“The Bespectacled Bounder,” 2012).
Tewson played a nanny in a 30-second commercial for Nabisco Fruit Newtons, first aired in 1997 in the United States. She also played a school teacher in a Sugar Puffs “I Want My Honey” advert during the late 1980s/early 1990s.
In 2012, Tewson launched her one-woman show Still Keeping Up Appearances? and toured across the UK until early 2019.