For those of us who passionately consume a large amount of British entertainment content, we tend to see a number of familiar faces pop up again and again in the TV shows and movies we love. In the case of the incredibly talented Welsh actress, Pam Ferris, chances are you’ll recognize her from a few VisionTV shows while being surprised by some of the other memorable performances she’s given throughout her illustrious career. If you’ve ever wondered why Pam Ferris looks so familiar, here’s where you may have seen her before!
In one of her more recent roles, Ferris portrayed the tough and uncompromising Sister Evangelina for 5 seasons in Call The Midwife. After dealing with several health issues and eventually suffering a stroke, Ferris’ character passed away in the finalé of the fifth season, devastating her fellow Nonnatus House residents and fans alike. Behind the scenes, Ferris reportedly decided to part ways with the series due to a hectic production schedule and not having enough time for her home life.
“Making the decision to leave Call the Midwife was a wrench,” said Ferris. “Because I then became involved with telling the story to the best of my ability, there was no time to feel regret. I’ll miss my friends on set – in front of and behind the camera – and I’ll miss my habit which is so well worn and comfortable. But I shan’t miss my wimple!”
The second Pam Ferris series currently airing on VisionTV is the mystery drama Rosemary & Thyme starring Ferris as Laura Thyme, one half of a gardening detective duo skilled at solving crimes while tending to gorgeous gardens in the English countryside. Laura and Rosemary Boxer, played by Felicity Kendal, can’t help but get sucked into confounding mysteries while on the job, aided by their clever sleuthing skills and tendency to fly under the radar.
Both deeply beloved series with active fan bases, Rosemary & Thyme and Call The Midwife provided Ferris with rich and exciting roles as an older actress, which unfortunately can be all too rare. “Felicity Kendal once said to me: It’s not a question of trying to stay young; it’s being the best 50, 60, 70-year-old you can be,” said Ferris. “I have no desire to be younger than I am, but I have a great wish to fulfil myself at this stage in my life.”
While Ferris has a keen ability to play bold, brash yet ultimately lovable characters, she’s also had the opportunity to inhabit some truly despicable people while clearly having a ton of fun with it. You might remember her brief but unforgettable appearance in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban as the unpleasant Aunt Marge. A bit of accidental magic from Harry causes Marge to inflate like a balloon while the family scrambles to stop her from floating away.
But Ferris’ talent really shines in the 1996 film adaptation of Matilda in which she plays the villainous Miss Trunchbull. Ferris is almost unrecognizable as the cruel principal who terrorizes the school children by locking them in tiny rooms, swinging them around by their pigtails, or forcing them to eat an entire chocolate cake in one sitting. While we may remember Ferris for her more gentle characters, it’s the hallmark of a great performer to be to play the hero and the villain, and be equally great at both.
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Some of Pam Ferris’ other notable roles include Ma Larkin in The Darling Buds of May and Peggy in Where the Heart is. She also co-starred with Clive Owen and Julianne Moore in Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men, and most recently in the J.R.R.Tolkien biopic, Tolkien, as Mrs. Faulkner, one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s foster parents.
Watch for Pam Ferris on Wednesdays on VisionTV as she stars in our premiere presentation of Rosemary and Thyme Seasons 2 & 3 Wednesdays at 8pm ET through April 8 and our encore of Call the Midwife Season 6 Wednesdays at 10pm ET through March 10.