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Noël Dyson
Noel Dyson as Ida Barlow.jpg
Elsie Noël Dyson

(1916-12-23)23 December 1916
Died29 June 1995(1995-06-29) (aged 78)
Years active1938–1995
TelevisionCoronation Street
Spouse(s)Kenneth Edwards
Harry Judge

Elsie Noël Dyson (23 December 1916 – 29 June 1995) was an English character actress.[1]

Dyson played a number of roles in theatre and films (including in telemovies) but is best remembered as a versatile television character actress in serials who became a familiar face to British viewers in a career spanning almost 50 years from 1949 until her death. Dyson's best remembered roles are as matriarch Ida Barlow, one of the original characters in the long-running soap opera Coronation Street (1960–61), and Nanny in the sitcom Father, Dear Father (1968–73).

Early life and career

Dyson was born into a wealthy Manchester family (she was given the middle name Noel because she was born two days before Christmas), and was educated at the prestigious Roedean School in Brighton. Following a period at a finishing school in Paris, she enrolled at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, from which she graduated in 1938.[2] She initially performed in repertory companies around Britain, in Birmingham, Oxford and Windsor and elsewhere, before moving on to London's West End.[3]

During the Second World War, Dyson temporarily ceased acting to become a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse. She returned to the acting profession, initially mainly in stage productions, then from the late 1940s started to become involved with television productions. Dyson's first known TV credit came in a 1949 BBC production The Guinea Pig, and for the next decade or so she would appear, mainly in one-off supporting roles, in a number of TV programmes as well as a handful of films.[4][1] Her most significant roles in this period included seven appearances in the series The Vise (first broadcast in the U.S. between October 1954 and December 1955, but not shown on TV in the UK until 1957-59) and a BBC adaptation of The Secret Garden in 1960.[5]

Coronation Street

In 1960 Dyson was cast in the role of Ida Barlow in the newly commissioned Coronation Street set in a fictional working class district of Salford.[6] Ida was married to Frank Barlow, a postman, and had two sons, Ken and David. She was written as a calm-natured, placid character who frequently had to act as mediator between her hot-headed husband and Ken, whose upwardly-mobile aspirations were seen by Frank as a rejection of his family background.

The initial commission for Coronation Street ran to 13 episodes.[7] The first episode was transmitted on 9 December 1960 and was panned by TV critics, who predicted a short-lived ignominious fate for the programme.[citation needed] However, the series became an instant hit with viewers. By March 1961 Coronation Street was topping the British TV ratings with an estimated 75% of all television-owning households in the UK tuning in, and it was decided to extend its run indefinitely.[8] This proved to be a problem for Dyson, who had only envisaged a limited commitment to the programme. Coronation Street was produced in Manchester by Granada TV while Dyson's home and family were now in London, and she did not feel able to commit to ongoing lengthy absences, so when her contract came up for renewal she declined to sign. The programme's producers decided that rather than replacing Dyson with another actress, which they felt would be unpopular with viewers, Ida would be the first regular character to die. No death scene was filmed, but in the episode of 6 September 1961 it was announced that Ida had been knocked down and killed by a bus.

Later career

During the 1960s Dyson continued to appear regularly on TV, but was cast in either one-off productions for strands such as the BBC's The Wednesday Play and ITV's Play of the Week or supporting roles in popular shows such as Z-Cars, Dixon of Dock Green and The Likely Lads.[9] However, she took the role of Nanny in the Thames Television sitcom Father, Dear Father which ran for seven series between 1968 and 1973 and also spawned a spin-off film in 1973.[10] Her only other long-running TV role came as the long-suffering wife of Arthur Lowe's character in the sitcom Potter between 1979 and 1983, but she continued to make cameo appearances in many top-rated shows such as Me and My Girl, London's Burning, Bergerac, Prime Suspect and Casualty until shortly before her death.[11][9] Dyson also appeared as John Hurt's mother in the 1983 film Champions.[12] Her last credit was an episode of Heartbeat, broadcast posthumously in September 1995.[13]

Personal life and death

Dyson was married twice, to actor Kenneth Edwards, in 1949, and school teacher Major Harry Judge.[14][15] She died of cancer on 29 June 1995, aged 78.[16] A service of thanksgiving was held on 2 October 1995 at St Paul's, Covent Garden. The service was officiated by Canon Bill Hall, Senior Chaplain of the Actors' Church Union, and attended by many friends, including William G. Stewart, with a reading from Judge.[17] Judge died in 2003, aged 90.[15]


Year Title Role Notes
1949 The Guinea Pig Mrs Read TV movie
1950 Chance of a Lifetime Tea Lady Uncredited
1951 The Concert Miss Vesey TV movie
1952 Emil and the Detectives Mrs Tichburn Episode: "The Man in the Bowler Hat"
1952 Huckleberry Finn Aunt Polly Episode: "Back to the River"
1953 Stranger in the House Mrs Benfield TV movie
1953 Seven Women Mrs Tovey TV movie
1954 Eight O'Clock Walk Gallery Regular
1954 Bless this House Mrs Bevan TV movie
1954 The Gay Dog Lecturer
1955 Patrol Car Cora Episode: "Written in the Dust"
1955 The Women on the Beach Madame Suzette TV movie
1956 A Girl Called Jo Mrs March TV movie
1956 Non de Plume Queen of Bavaria Episode: "The Courtesan"
1956 Adventure Theatre Episode: "The Wilful Widow"
1956 Tomorrow May Be Fine Anne Wright TV movie
1956 Bill Radford: Reporter Mrs Barry Episode: "Missing from Home"
1956 Joan and Leslie Mrs Henshaw TV Series
1957 Scotland Yard (film series) ('The Lonely House' episode) English Spinster Short (January release; filmed 1956)
1957 Dick and the Duchess Pamela Culberson Episode: "The Hospital"
1957–1959 The Vise Emma Pine / Ella / Stella / Mrs Mayes / Princess Dariana / Jean / Mrs Watson 7 episodes
1958 ITV Television Playhouse Meg Cooper Episode: "The Voyagers"
1958 Private Investigator Mrs Landon Episode: "The Villa St. Yves"
1958 The Voyagers Meg Cooper TV movie
1959 Three Crooked Men Uncredited
1959 Emergency Ward 10 Mrs Haines 2 episodes
1959 The Gay Dog Maggie Gay TV movie
1951–1959 BBC Sunday Night Theatre Boney / Mrs. Ellis 2 episodes
1959 Probation Officer Mrs West 1 episode
1959 The Young Lady From London Pamela Hamilton-Huntley 1 episode
1959 Please Turn Over Mrs Brent
1959–1966 ITV Play of the Week Laura Priolleau / Mrs. Tartleton / Anne / MrsForbes / Mrs Phillips / Isabel 6 episodes
1960 The Secret Garden Mrs Sowerby 4 episodes
1960 Carry On Constable Vague Woman
1960 Man from Interpol Countess Salon / Martha 2 episodes
1960 Annual Outing Maud Higgins TV movie
1960 Saturday Playhouse Miss Minney / Maud Higgins 2 episodes
1960–1961 Coronation Street Ida Barlow 41 episodes
1961 Jacks and Knaves Alice Hitchins Episode: "The Great Art Robbery"
1961 The Middle Course Maria Gerard
1962 The Silent Invasion MM Veroux
1962 Studio 4 Dorrie Robinson Episode: "Look Who's Talking"
1962 Z-Cars Elsie Heskeith Episode: "The Best Days"
1962 No Hiding Place Landlady Episode: "Unfinished Business"
1962–1963 BBC Sunday-Night Play Mrs Peck / Alice Preston / Mrs Woodbridge 3 episodes
1962–1964 Compact Mrs Jean Henderson 4 episodes
1963 The Odd Man Mother Eve Episode: "The Double Image of Mother Eve"
1963 Gutter Girls Muriel Donahue
1963 Carry On Cabby District Nurse
1964 First Night Gracie Episode: "The Bedmakers"
1964 The Villains Flo 2 episodes
1964 Taxi! Sandra's mum Episode: "Two-Five-Two"
1964–1965 Thursday Theatre Annie Parker / Rhoda Lucas 2 episodes
1964–1966 Sergeant Cork Mrs. Bellamy / Mrs. Stebens 2 episodes
1965 Gideon's Way Mrs Lane Episode: "Subway to Revenge"
1965 Londoners Vesta Bardell Episode: "A Little Touch of Henry"
1965 Comedy Playhouse Episode: "Hudd"
1965 Jury Room Mrs Whiteside - The Juror Episode: "The Chess Player"
1965 Dixon of Dock Green Mrs Egan Episode: "Act of Violence"
1965 Theatre 625 Emma Moxen Episode: "Portraits from the North: Bruno"
1966 The Likely Lads Mrs Perrin Episode: "Friends and Neighbours"
1966 Press for Time Mrs Corcoran
1965–1966 Meet the Wife Cousin Olive 2 episodes
1967 Turn Out The Lights Mrs. Wennington Episode: "One for Yes, Two for No"
1967 The Newcomers Mrs Wilberforce 1 episode
1967 Mister Ten Per Cent Mrs Gorman
1968 Softly, Softly Anne Anderson Episode: "The Good Girl"
1968 The First Lady Betty Haynes Episode: "Worked Out"
1968 Scene Mrs. Smith TV Series documentary
1968-1980 ITV Playhouse Mrs. Rankling / Clara Dixon 2 episodes
1968–1973 Father, Dear Father Nanny 45 episodes
1969 Hark at Barker Episode: "Meet Lord Rustless"
1969 Fraud Squad Mrs. Keever Episode: "The Biggest Borrower of All"
1969 The Wednesday Play Mrs. Dyson Episode: "The Last Train through Harecastle Tunnel"
1969 All Star Comedy Carnival Nanny TV movie
1970 The Main Chance Janet Harrison Episode: "A View from the Chair"
1970 Play for Today Jane Budd Episode: "A Distant Thunder"
1971 The Ronnie Barker Yearbook TV movie
1971 Persuasion Mrs. Musgrove 3 episodes
1972 Thirty-Minute Theatre (TV series) Mrs. Proctor / Mrs. Trant 2 episodes
1972–1985 The Two Ronnies Jacks wife / Rose Spooner / Woman with Dog / Mrs. Thompson 4 episodes
1973 Father, Dear Father Nanny
1974 Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads? Mrs. Chambers Episode: "Heart to Heart"
1974 Late Night Drama Kitty Episode: "Silver Wedding"
1976 ...And Mother Makes Five Auntie Betty Episode: "Love Is a Most Confounded Thing"
1976 The Molly Wopsies Mrs. James Episode: "Arrowing Times"
1977 Jackanory Playhouse Miss Jordan Episode: "The Apple of Discord"
1977 Second City Firsts Patricia Episode: "Waifs and Strays"
1978 An Englishman's Castle Mrs. Worth 3 episodes
1979 Secret Orchards Netta Ackerley TV movie
1979 BBC2 Playhouse Mrs. Fly Episode: "Virginia Fly Is Drowning"
1979–1983 Potter Aileen Potter 20 episodes
1983 Partners in Crime Mrs. Kingston Bruce Episode: "The Affair of the Pink Pearl"
1984 Love and Marriage Mrs. Rodgers Episode: "A Matter of Will"
1984 Champions Mrs Champion
1985 Summer Season Mrs. Nesbit Episode: "Paris"
1986 The Practice Ada Fielding 1 episode
1986 The Life and Loves of a She-Devil Brenda 2 episodes
1986–1987 All in Good Faith Barbara Lambe 2 episodes
1987 Me and My Girl Winifred Spalding Episode: "A Star Is Gorn"
1987 C.A.T.S. Eyes Old Lady Episode: "A Naval Affair"
1987 Rainbow Mrs. Smith Episode: "Borrowing"
1988 London's Burning Mrs. Sims 1 episode
1988 Executive Stress Miss Pledger 1 episode
1989 May to December Mrs. Arlett Episode: "Anything You Can Do"
1990 Bergerac Mrs. Williams Episode: "My Name's Sergeant Bergerac"
1990 Never the Twain Vera Episode: "Happy Holiday"
1991 Prime Suspect Mrs. Tennison Episode: "Price to Pay: Part 1"
1993 Casualty Mary Episode: "Getting Involved"
1994 The Knock Barbara Simmons 2 episodes
1994 Super Grass Gran Short
1995 Heartbeat Netty Pickard Episode: "Wishing Well"


  1. ^ a b "Noël Dyson". BFI.
  2. ^ "Noel Dyson — RADA".
  3. ^ "Noel Dyson | Theatricalia".
  4. ^ "The Guinea Pig". 11 September 1949. p. 42 – via BBC Genome.
  5. ^ "The Secret Garden: 4: The Door in the Wall". 24 January 1960. p. 8 – via BBC Genome.
  6. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Coronation Street - The 1960s Credits".
  7. ^ Donohue, Simon (16 September 2010). "Corrie: A history". Manchester Evening News.
  8. ^ "Coronation Street 50 Years: Who has had the most weddings?". Manchester Evening News. 30 September 2010.
  9. ^ a b "Noel Dyson".
  10. ^ "Patrick Cargill: obituary". The Independent. 18 September 2011.
  11. ^ "Noel Dyson". British Comedy Guide.
  12. ^ "Champions (1984) - John Irvin | Cast and Crew".
  13. ^ "Heartbeat Season 5". Radio Times.
  14. ^ "Index Entry". Retrieved 18 January 2022.
  15. ^ a b Obituary: Major Harry Judge, The Daily Telegraph, 13 December 2003
  16. ^ "BFI | Film & TV Database | DYSON, Noël". 15 January 2009. Archived from the original on 15 January 2009.
  17. ^ "Miss Noel Dyson - Memorial service". The Times. 3 October 1995.

External links

This page was last edited on 5 April 2022, at 00:34
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