DEATH DID US PART
Actress Una Stubbs has died aged 84, slightly surprisingly, after a short illness. Stubbs was a rarity in being primarily a TV actress who became a household name with 3 successive generations. In the 1960s, she was Rita, daughter of Alf Garnett, in the classic comedy Till Death Us Do Part. (Yes, it’s dated nowadays, but it’s not the fault of Johnny Speight or Warren Mitchell that Reagan and Thatcher murdered satire…) In that show she married Tony Booth.
Then in the late 1970s/early 80s, she was Aunt Sally in the Jon Pertwee kids vehicle Worzel Gummidge, about the scarecrow that comes to life. (My first introduction to Una Stubbs came with her off the wall role as chanting teacher Miss Bat in The Worst Witch in the late 90s, another show based off a best selling series of books!) Aunt Sally is not the actual aunt from the book but is in fact a life sized fairground doll, as I think all you suspected, really. The show had all your favourites like Bernard Cribbins, Barbara Windsor, Geoffrey Bayldon and The Big Yin himself.
It was in her mid-70s she got the role that gave her international fame, and obits. As the landlady Mrs Hudson in the wildly popular Sherlock series, she was arguably the first actress who got to turn the role from being a cypher into being an actual character in its own right. She certainly turned out to be the dark horse breakout star for a younger generation, who adored her takes no shit mother hen approach to the role.
Una Stubbs also appeared in Summer Holiday with Cliff Richard, Fawlty Towers, Call the Midwife, and of course: Benidorm and Heartbeat. The latter is the UK equivalent of Murder She Wrote for 80s actors, a free episode appearance came with your Equity card.
She was picked by 5 teams: Grief Encounter, Not Going in a Black Cab, Powder Picks Em Off, Squid’s Stiffs and Batstarlord of the Whotreklock.
1 May 1937 – 12 August 2021