Patricia Hayes Archive

Scope and Content

This collection contains materials related to the life and work of Patricia Hayes. Items relate to her acting career across television, radio, theatre and film, as well as aspects of her personal life and marriage to Valentine Brooke. The collection comprises scripts, photographs, correspondence, press cuttings and diaries, alongside other material.

Administrative / Biographical History

Patricia Hayes was a 20th century character actor, with a career spanning television, radio, theatre and film. Born on 22nd December 1909, Hayes studied at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London where she received the Bancroft Gold Medal in 1928. Following this, she worked for 10 years in the repertory theatre and spent 2 years with Jevan Brandon-Thomas' touring company. Hayes was also an early member of the Players' Theatre in London, founded in 1936.

Hayes' first West End performance was in J.B. Priestly's When We Are Married (1938). Other later stage productions include Filumena (1978), The House of Bernard Alba (1987), Three Sisters (1990) and The Rose Tattoo (1991), directed by Sir Peter Hall CBE.

As well as her work on stage, Hayes regularly appeared on the radio throughout her career. In 1943 she starred in Norman and Henry Bones , a children's programme, but also worked on numerous radio comedies and dramas. In 1958 she collaborated with Tony Hancock for Hancock's Half Hour (1959-1960), which later transferred to television. Other radio work included The Men from the Ministry (1965) and Mostly Monkhouse (1974). She regularly worked with Ken Dodd and Ken Platt.

As well as theatre and radio, Hayes was a prolific television actor, appearing in shows including The Arthur Haynes Show (1956), The Benny Hill Show (1957-1963) and The Ken Dodd Show (1962-1967). She was also a recurring character in The World of Beachcomber (1968-1969), The Trouble with you Lilian (1971), and Till Death Us Do Part (1967-1975). Her most notable performance however, was as the lead character Edna, in Edna the Inebriate Woman , a BBC Play for Today (1971). For this performance, Hayes received the television BAFTA for Best Actress in 1972.

Later in her career Hayes also appeared in a number of films including Little Dorrit (1987), Willow (1988), and A Fish Called Wanda (1988). She posthumously appeared in Crime and Punishment in 2002.

In 1939, Hayes married fellow actor Valentine Brooke, with whom she had 3 children. However, they later divorced. In 1988, she was awarded an OBE in the Queen's New Year Honours List for services to drama. Hayes died in London on 19th September 1998 at the age of 88.

Access Information

This archive collection is available for consultation in the V&A Blythe House Archive and Library Study Room by appointment only.
Full details of access arrangements may be found here:

Access to some of these files may be restricted. These are identified at file level.

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here:

Acquisition Information

Given by Richard Brooke, 2018

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here:

Appraisal Information

This collection was appraised in line with the collection management policy.


No further accruals are expected.

Related Material

See also the core collections of the V&A Department of Theatre and Performance. Relevant material may be found in several collections, including the biographical, productions, company and photographs files.

Please ask for details.