June Whitfield Archive

Scope and Content

The archive comprises scrapbooks documenting June Whitfield's childhood amateur performances, her career and some personal events. There are also annotated scripts and associated production information from Radio, TV, Film and Theatre, production photographs, business contracts and agents correspondence, newspaper and magazine cuttings and general correspondence.

Administrative / Biographical History

Dame June Whitfield was born in Streatham, south west London on November 11 1925. After graduating from RADA in 1944 she began her theatrical career in repertory and in 1947 was chosen to play Cinderella opposite Wilfred Pickles' Buttons in pantomime. Appearances in numerous West End plays, revues and musicals followed and in 1953 she joined the hit radio comedy series Take It From Here, creating the character of Eth in The Glums'. From 1984-2001 she joined Roy Hudd in The Huddlines on Radio 2 and in 2015 was heard in her own series And June Whitfield . During the 1960s – 1980s she worked extensively on television with well-known comedians including Arthur Askey, Benny Hill, Dick Emery, Frankie Howerd and Ronnie Barker and in 1961 played the Nurse opposite Tony Hancock in The Blood Donor . In 1969 her most famous and longest on screen partnership began with Terry Scott in Scott On…, continuing with Happy Ever After and Terry and June which ended in 1987. She has been a regular character in television series throughout her long career and in 1992 was invited by Jennifer Saunders to play the character of Mother in Absolutely Fabulous which led to her appearing in all five series and the film in 2016. Television guest appearances have included Dr Who (2009) Coronation Street (2010) and EastEnders (2016). In December 2009 she was the subject of an evening of tribute programmes on BBC2. West End theatre credits include A Bedfull of Foreigners (1973) with Terry Scott, Over My Dead Body (1989) with Sir Donald Sinden, Bedroom Farce (2002) with Richard Briers and English National Opera's production of On The Town (2007). She has also appeared in numerous pantomimes and several films including three Carry On films (1959 – 1973). Awards include the 1994 British Comedy Awards' Lifetime Achievement Award and the 2013 Aardman Slapstick Comedy Legend Award. In 1995 she received the OBE, in 1998 the CBE and in 2017 was appointed a DBE. Two biographies of her life, And June Whitfield and June Whitfield at a Glance were published in 2000 and 2009 respectively. June Whitfield died in December 2018.

Arrangement

This archive is arranged into the following series:

  • Scrapbooks THM/495/1
  • TV Productions THM/495/2
  • Radio Productions THM/495/3
  • Theatre Productions THM/495/4
  • Film THM/495/5
  • Contracts, Commission Notes and Associated Correspondence THM/495/6
  • Events, Concerts, Charity and Personal Appearances THM/495/7
  • Photographs THM/495/8
  • Newspaper and Magazine Cuttings THM/495/9
  • Personal and Professional Correspondence THM/495/10
  • Training THM/495/11
  • Spoken Word Recording Scripts and Associated Correspondence THM/495/12
  • Training Films and Advertisements THM/495/13
  • Sheet Music and Lyrics THM/495/14
  • Proposals and Not Performed THM/495/15

Conditions Governing Access

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: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/archives/

Access to some of the material may be restricted. These are noted in the catalogue where relevant.

Acquisition Information

Given by June Whitfield, 2017.

Separated Material

Some costume items have been removed and added to the Theatre and Performance Costume Collections.

Conditions Governing Use

Information on copying and commercial reproduction may be found here: http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/a/archives/

Appraisal Information

This collection was appraised in line with collection management policy.

Custodial History

This archive has been organised and kept by June Whitfield before being gifted to the V&A.

Accruals

Further accruals are likely.

Related Material

See also the core collections of the V&A Department of Theatre and Performance. Related material may be found in the Ronnie Barker Collection (THM/407) and Malcolm Chapman's Tony Hancock and British Comedy Collection (THM 432) as well as productions, company and photograph files. Please ask for details.