Wednesday 9 April 2014

Jennifer Daniel

Jennifer Daniel in 'Thriller'

Jennifer Daniel:

† May 23 1936 – Aug 16 2017

In the era of the dolly-bird actress, Jennifer Daniel radiated a seriousness and intensity that set her aside from other attractive blondes of the period. She was often cast in roles in thrillers and horrors that required a lot more reaction to disquieting situations and creeping paranoia than swinging a plastic bag down fun-loving, fancy-free Carnaby Street.

Early television roles included literary fare such as her portrayal of Ophelia in the 1961 ITV version of 'Hamlet' opposite Barry Foster, and as Dolly Varden in the previous year's 'Barnaby Rudge'. Her dignified good looks also found her playing Beauty in 'Beauty and the Beast' and Lady Edith in 'Richard the Lionheart'. As the '60s rolled on, there were more cop shows and ITC action series like the almost forgotten 'Ghost Squad' as well as 'Gideon's Way', 'Adam Adamant Lives!' and 'The Mask of Janus' with her then-husband Dinsdale Landen. She was also the female lead in the Francis Durbridge-penned detective serial, 'A Man Called Harry Brent' of which nothing seems to have survived*.

In the 'Thriller' episode 'Spell of Evil'

The British film industry's mini-boom of the '60s saw her appear in Hammer favourites like 'The Kiss of the Vampire' (1963) and 'The Reptile' (1966) in which she represented the opposite of her sensually dangerous co-star Jacqueline Pearce. As often seems to be the case with Hammer's female stars, a long period in the film wilderness followed, and perhaps persists, despite recent roles in the Juliette Binoche 'Wuthering Heights' (1992) and the film version of Ray Cooney's farce 'Run for Your Wife' (2012) with (shudder) Danny Dyer and Denise van Outen.

As Mrs Lennox, bewildered by Hyacinth in 'Keeping Up Appearances'.
As the '60s gave way to the '70s, a slew of middlebrow and mid-table TV appearances came and went, including: 'Doomwatch', 'Softly, Softly'-spinoff 'Barlow', 'Duchess of Duke Street', the interesting boarding-house drama 'Rooms', and the RF Delderfield's wartime saga 'People Like Us'. Less prestigious were her regular role in the medical soap 'General Hospital' and hectic kid's favourite 'Here Come the Double Deckers!'

More recently she's been seen in the Customs & Excise drama 'The Collectors', 'Keeing Up Appearances' and 'Rumpole of the Bailey'. She still seems to be working and I'm surprised she hasn't been snapped up by the 'Game of Thrones' or 'Downton Abbey' machines for her diamond-edged gravitas. Maybe that will come. 

Jennifer Daniel - imdb

(* update, Feb 2023, these stories are available on DVD. See comments below.)   

1 comment:

  1. A Man Called Harry Brent all exists. It was released in the Francis Durbridge boxed set.