Prunella Scales

Prunella Scales

Jun. 22nd, 1932
Born in
Sutton Abinger, Surrey, England, UK
5' 3 1/2

Prunella Scales' Main TV Roles

Show Character(s)
Fawlty Towers (UK) TV Show
Fawlty Towers (UK)
A History of Britain (UK) TV Show
A History of Britain (UK)
Look at the State We're In! (UK) TV Show
Look at the State We're In! (UK)
Emma 1996 TV Show
Emma 1996
Seven Of One (UK) TV Show
Seven Of One (UK)
After Henry (UK) TV Show
After Henry (UK)
Jackanory (UK) TV Show
Jackanory (UK)
The Big Knights (UK) TV Show
The Big Knights (UK)
Marriage Lines (UK) TV Show
Marriage Lines (UK)
Searching (UK) TV Show
Searching (UK)
S.W.A.L.K. (UK) TV Show
S.W.A.L.K. (UK)
The World Of Lee Evans (UK) TV Show
The World Of Lee Evans (UK)
Unnatural Causes (UK) TV Show
Unnatural Causes (UK)

Main Movie Roles

Guest TV Roles

[none found]


Throughout her long career, Scales has often been cast in comic roles. Her early work included the second UK adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (1952), Hobson's Choice (1954) and Room at the Top (1959).
Her career break came with the early 1960s sitcom Marriage Lines starring opposite Richard Briers. In addition to Fawlty Towers, she has had roles in BBC Radio 4 sitcoms, notably After Henry, Smelling of Roses and Ladies of Letters; on television she starred in the London Weekend Television/Channel 4 series Mapp & Lucia based on the novels by E. F. Benson. She played Queen Elizabeth II in Alan Bennett's A Question of Attribution. In 1973, Scales teamed with Ronnie Barker in the (original) one-off Meat, which aired as One Man's Meat as part of a series called Seven of One, also for the BBC. Her film appearances also include the BBC Shakespeare's Merry Wives of Windsor as Mistress Page (1982), The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1987), Stiff Upper Lips (1997), Howards End (1992), and BBC Theatre Night in Joe Orton's farce What the Butler Saw (1987) playing Mrs Prentice, where the cast included husband Timothy West with Dinsdale Landen and Tessa Peake-Jones, as well as a cameo in The Boys From Brazil (1978).
For ten years, Prunella appeared with Jane Horrocks in advertisements for UK supermarket chain Tesco. In 1997, Scales starred in Chris Barfoot's science-fiction film short Phoenix which was first aired in 1999 by NBC Universal's Sci Fi Channel.[5] Scales played 'The Client', an evil government minister funding inter-genetic time travel experiments.
In 2003, she appeared as Hilda, "she who must be obeyed", wife of Horace Rumpole in four BBC Radio 4 plays, with Timothy West, her real-life husband playing her fictional husband. Prunella Scales and Timothy West toured Australia at the same time in different productions. Scales appeared in a one-woman show called "An Evening with Queen Victoria", which also featured the tenor Ian Partridge singing songs written by Prince Albert.

  • She was awarded the C.B.E. (Commander of the Order of the British Empire) in 1992 for her services to drama while her husband Timothy West was awarded his C.B.E. in 1984.
  • She played Queen Victoria in _Looking for Victoria (2003) (TV)_ (qv). Her son 'Samuel West (I)' (qv) had previously played Prince Albert Victor Edward, Prince of Wales, the future Edward VII and Queen Victoria's son, in both _"Edward the Seventh" (1975)_ (qv) and _The Ripper (1997) (TV)_ (qv) while her husband 'Timothy West' (qv) also played the role in the former.
  • Mother of 'Samuel West (I)' (qv)
  • Mother of 'Joseph West (II)' (qv).
  • Has a step-daughter named Juliet West.
  • British classical stage actress trained at both the Old Vic Theatre School in London and the Herbert Berghof Studio in New York.
  • She was awarded the Patricia Rothermere Award at the 2001 London Evening Standard Theatre Award for her contributions to British Theatre.
  • In October of 2003, she became seriously ill and was taken to the hospital for emergency heart operation (angioplasty).

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