Jenny Agutter

Jennifer Ann Agutter OBE (born 20 December 1952) is a British actress. She began her career as a child actress in 1964, appearing in East of Sudan, Star!, and two adaptations of The Railway Children—the BBC's 1968 television serial and the 1970 film version. In 1971 she also starred in the critically acclaimed film Walkabout and the TV film The Snow Goose, for which she won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama.

Jenny Agutter

Jenny Agutter (2).jpg
Agutter in 2014
Jennifer Ann Agutter

(1952-12-20) 20 December 1952 (age 70)
Taunton, Somerset, England
Years active1964–present
Johan Tham
(m. 1990)

She relocated to the United States in 1974 to pursue a Hollywood career and subsequently appeared in Logan's Run (1976), Amy (1981), An American Werewolf in London (1981), and Child's Play 2 (1990). During the same period, Agutter continued appearing in high-profile British films, such as The Eagle Has Landed (1976), Equus (1977)—for which she won a BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role)—and The Riddle of the Sands (1979). In 1981, she co-starred in The Survivor, an Australian adaptation of the James Herbert novel by that name, and was nominated for an AACTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role.

After returning to Britain in the early 1990s to pursue family life, Agutter shifted her focus to television, appearing in the 2000 version of television adaptation of The Railway Children, this time as the mother, and since 2012 she has had an ongoing role in the BBC's Call the Midwife. Her film work in recent years includes The Avengers (2012) and Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014), and in 2022, Agutter returned to the world of The Railway Children once more by reprising her role from the 1970 film 52 years later in a sequel, The Railway Children Return.

Agutter is married, and has one adult son. She supports several charitable causes, mostly ones related to cystic fibrosis, a condition from which her niece suffers, and for her service to those causes was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours.

Early lifeEdit

Agutter was born on 20 December 1952[1] in Taunton, Somerset, England.[2] She is the daughter of Derek Agutter (an entertainments manager in the British Army) and Catherine, and was raised Roman Catholic.[3][4] She has Irish ancestry on her mother's side.[5] As a child, she lived in Singapore,[6] Dhekelia (Cyprus) and Kuala Lumpur (Malaya). She was discovered at Elmhurst Ballet School, a boarding school she attended from ages eight to sixteen,[6] when a casting agent was looking for a young English-speaking girl for a film. She did not get that part, but he recommended her to the producers of East of Sudan (1964).


Television and filmEdit

Agutter and Richard Harris in The Snow Goose (1971)

Agutter became known to television audiences for her role in the twice-weekly BBC series The Newcomers. (She played Kirsty, the daughter of the new managing director of Eden Brothers, the fictional firm that is at the centre of the series.) Agutter could appear only during school holidays. At this stage of her career, she was listed in credits as “Jennifer”. In 1966, she portrayed a ballet pupil in Disney's film Ballerina. In 1968, she was featured in the lavish big-budget 20th Century Fox film musical Star! which featured Julie Andrews as Gertrude Lawrence; Agutter played Lawrence's neglected daughter Pamela. Later, she played Roberta in a BBC adaptation of The Railway Children (1968) and in Lionel Jeffries's 1970 film of the book. She followed this with a more serious role in the thriller I Start Counting (1969). She also won an Emmy as supporting actress for her television role as Fritha in a British television adaptation of The Snow Goose (1971).

Agutter then moved into adult roles, beginning with Walkabout (1971), in which she played a teenage schoolgirl who is lost with her younger brother in the Australian outback. She auditioned for the role in 1967, but funding problems delayed filming until 1969. The delay meant Agutter was sixteen at the time of filming, which allowed the director to include nude scenes.[7] Among them was a five-minute skinny-dipping scene, which was cut from the original US release.[8] She said at the 2005 Bradford Film Festival at the National Media Museum that she was shocked by the film's explicitness, but remained on good terms with director Nicolas Roeg.[9]

Agutter moved to Hollywood at twenty-one and appeared in a number of films over the next decade, including The Eagle Has Landed (1976), Logan's Run (1976), Equus (1977)(for which she won a BAFTA as Best Supporting Actress), An American Werewolf in London (1981), and an adaptation of the James Herbert novel The Survivor (1981). Agutter has commented that the innocence of the characters she played in her early films, combined with the costumes and nudity in later adult roles such as Logan's Run, Equus, and An American Werewolf in London, are "perfect fantasy fodder".[10][11]

In 1990, Agutter returned to the UK to concentrate on family life and her focus shifted towards British television. During the 1990s, she was cast in an adaptation of Jeffrey Archer's novel Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less and as the scandalous Idina Hatton in the BBC miniseries The Buccaneers, inspired by Edith Wharton's unfinished 1938 book, and made guest appearances in television series such as Red Dwarf and Heartbeat. In 2000, she starred in a third adaptation of The Railway Children, produced by Carlton TV, this time playing the mother.[12][13] Since then Agutter has had recurring roles in several television series including Spooks, The Invisibles, Monday Monday and The Alan Clark Diaries. In 2012 Agutter resumed her Hollywood career, appearing as a member of the World Security Council in the blockbuster film The Avengers; she reprised her role in Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014). Since 2012, Agutter has played Sister Julienne in the BBC television drama series Call the Midwife.


Agutter has appeared in numerous theatre productions since her stage debut in 1970, including stints at the National Theatre in 1972–73, the title role in a derivation of Hedda Gabler at the Roundhouse in 1980 and with the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1982–83, playing Alice in Arden of Faversham, Regan in King Lear and Fontanelle in Lear. In 1987–88, Agutter played the role of Pat Green in the Broadway production of the Hugh Whitemore play Breaking the Code, about computer pioneer Alan Turing.[14] In 1995 she was in an RSC production of Love's Labour's Lost staged in Tokyo.[14] She is also a patron of the Shakespeare Schools Festival, a charity that enables school children in the UK to perform Shakespeare in professional theatres.[15]


In 2008, she also guest-starred in the Doctor Who audio drama The Bride of Peladon[16] and played an outlawed scientist in The Minister of Chance.[17] She has appeared as a guest star character ("Fiona Templeton") in the Radio 4 comedy Ed Reardon's Week.[18]


Agutter appears on the 1990 Prefab Sprout song "Wild Horses", speaking the words "I want to have you".[19]

Personal lifeEdit

At a 1989 arts festival in Bath, Somerset, Agutter met Johan Tham, a Swedish hotelier[20] who was a director of Cliveden Hotel in Buckinghamshire.[21] They married in August 1990,[22] and their son Jonathan[23] was born on 25 December 1990.[20] Agutter lives in London, but has a keen interest in Cornwall[24] and once owned a second home there on the Trelowarren Estate, in one of the parishes on the Lizard peninsula.[25]

She was appointed an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in the 2012 Birthday Honours, for her charitable services.[26]

Agutter has been attached to several causes throughout her career. She has been involved in raising awareness of the illness cystic fibrosis, which she believes was responsible for the deaths of two of her siblings. Her niece has the disease. At Agutter's suggestion, an episode of Call the Midwife focused on cystic fibrosis.[27] She has also worked in support of charities, in particular the Cystic Fibrosis Trust, of which she is a patron (she is also a carrier of the genetic mutation).[28][29][30]


In August 2014, Agutter was one of 200 public figures who were signatories to a letter to The Guardian expressing their hope that Scotland would vote to remain part of the United Kingdom in September 2014's referendum on that issue.[31]



Year Title Roles Notes
1964 East of Sudan Asua
1966 A Man Could Get Killed Linda Frazier
1968 Gates to Paradise Maud
Star! Pamela Roper
1969 I Start Counting Wynne
1970 The Railway Children Roberta "Bobbie" Waterbury
1971 Walkabout Girl
1976 Logan's Run Jessica 6
The Eagle Has Landed Molly Prior
1977 Equus Jill Mason BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
The Man in the Iron Mask Louise de la Vallière
1978 China 9, Liberty 37 Catherine Sebanek
Dominique Ann Ballard a.k.a. "Dominique Is Dead"
1979 The Riddle of the Sands Clara
1979 Mayflower: The Pilgrims' Adventure Priscilla Mullins
1980 Sweet William Ann Walton
1981 Amy Amy Medford
The Survivor Hobbs Nominated – Australian Film Institute Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
An American Werewolf in London Nurse Alex Price Nominated – Saturn Award for Best Actress
1984 Secret Places Miss Lowrie
1989 Dark Tower Carolyn Page
1990 King of the Wind Hannah Coke
Child's Play 2 Joanne Simpson
Darkman Burn Doctor Uncredited Cameo
1992 Freddie as F.R.O.7 Daffers
1995 Blue Juice Mary Fenton
2001 The Parole Officer Victor's Wife
2002 At Dawning Escaping woman Short film
2004 Number One Longing, Number Two Regret Kenosha
2006 Heroes and Villains June
2007 Irina Palm Jane
2007 The Magic Door Black Witch
2009 Glorious 39 Maud Keyes
2010 Burke and Hare Lucy
2011 Outside Bet Shirley Baxter
Golden Brown Sarah
2012 The Avengers Councilwoman Hawley
2014 Captain America: The Winter Soldier
2015 Queen of the Desert[32] Florence Bell
Tin Marjorie Dawson
2018 Sometimes Always Never Margaret
2022 The Railway Children Return Roberta "Bobbie" Waterbury


Year Title Roles Notes
1965 The Newcomers Kirsty Kerr BBC TV series
1968 The Railway Children Roberta Faraday BBC TV series
1970 The Great Inimitable Mr. Dickens Young Maria Beadnall / Mary Hogarth / Ellen Ternan TV film
1971 The Snow Goose Fritha Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama
1972 The Wild Duck Hedvig BBC TV "Play of the Month" broadcast on BBC 1 on 19 March
A War of Children Maureen Tomelty American (CBS) TV film set in Northern Ireland during The Troubles
Shelley Mary Shelley BBC TV series
1974 Thriller Dominie Lanceford Series 2, Episode 3: "Kiss Me and Die"
1975 Shadows Sue Season One, Episode Four: "The Waiting Room"
1977 The Six Million Dollar Man Dr. Leah Russell "Deadly Countdown" Parts 1 & 2
1980 Beulah Land Lizzie Corlay TV mini-series
1985 Love's Labour's Lost Rosaline BBC TV film
Magnum, P.I. Krista Villeroch Season 5, Episode 96: "Little Games"
Silas Marner Nancy Lammeter BBC TV film
1986 The Twilight Zone Morgan le Fay Season 1, Episode 24: "The Last Defender of Camelot"
Murder, She Wrote Margo Claymore Season 3, Episode 4: "One White Rose for Death"
1987 The Grand Knockout Tournament Herself TV special
The Twilight Zone Jacinda Season 2, Episode 10: "Voices in the Earth"[33]
1990 Not a Penny More, Not a Penny Less Jill Albery BBC TV mini-series
1992 Dream On Ellen Season 3, Episode 22: "No Deposit, No Return"
1993 Red Dwarf Professor Mamet "Psirens"
1994 Heartbeat Susannah Temple-Richards Series 4, Episode 8: "Fair Game"
1995 The Buccaneers Idina Hatton BBC TV mini-series
2000 The Railway Children Mother ITV
2002 Spooks Tessa Phillips BBC TV series
2003 Britain's Finest Presenter Channel 5 Series 1, Episode 2: "Gardens"
2004 The Alan Clark Diaries Jane Clark BBC TV series
The Inspector Lynley Mysteries Jemma Sanderson BBC TV Series 3, Episode 3
Agatha Christie's Marple Agnes Crackenthorpe Series 1, Episode 3: "4.50 from Paddington"
2005 New Tricks Yvonne Barrie BBC TV Series 2, Episode 1
2006 Agatha Christie's Poirot Adela Marchmont Season 10, Episode 4: "Taken at the Flood"
2007 Diamond Geezer Vanessa ITV series
2008 The Invisibles Barbara Riley BBC TV series
2009 Monday Monday Jenny Mountfield ITV1 TV series
2010 Midsomer Murders Isobel Chettham ITV1 TV series, Episode 72: "The Creeper"
2012–present Call the Midwife Sister Julienne BBC TV series

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Category Work Result Ref.
1972 24th Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series Hallmark Hall of Fame (Episode: The Snow Goose) Won [34]
1977 31st British Academy Film Awards BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role Equus Won [34]
1981 Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films Saturn Award for Best Actress An American Werewolf in London Nominated [34]
1981 1981 Australian Film Institute Awards AACTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role The Survivor (1981 film) Nominated [34]
2000 TV Choice Awards Best Actress’’ Call the Midwife Nominated [34]


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  3. ^ Fricker, Martin (12 December 2020). "How a trip to a Christmas fair touched Jenny's heart and led to helping others". Daily Express. Retrieved 25 July 2021 – via PressReader.
  4. ^ "Call the Midwife's Jenny Agutter: "I do love playing a nun"". Radio Times. 18 January 2015. Archived from the original on 12 April 2021.
  5. ^ "Jenny Agutter: My family values". 22 August 2014.
  6. ^ a b "Jenny Agutter is Jane Clark". BBC. Archived from the original on 22 January 2018. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  7. ^ Nowra, L. (2003). Walkabout. Sydney: Currency Press & Canberra: ScreenSound Australia, National Screen and Sound Archive, pp. 17–18; ISBN 978-0-86819-700-5.
  8. ^ "Creative Spirits". Archived from the original on 19 August 2010. Retrieved 19 June 2010.
  9. ^ Jenny Agutter: A Charmed Career, 2006. Directed by Tony Earnshaw. National Museum of Photography, Film & Television.
  10. ^ McLean, G. (22 February 2002). "My life in front of the lens". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 1 January 2017. Retrieved 21 August 2009.
  11. ^ Crace, J. (8 December 1997). "Interview: Almost forever young". The Independent. Archived from the original on 1 January 2017. Retrieved 21 August 2009.
  12. ^ "Agutter, Jenny (1952–)". British Film Institute. Archived from the original on 11 May 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2013.
  13. ^ Lockyer, Daphne (May 2008). "The eyes have it". SAGA Magazine: 66. Archived from the original on 30 December 2013. Retrieved 29 December 2013.
  14. ^ a b Jenny Agutter website: Biography Archived 18 April 2012 at the Wayback Machine. Retrieved 5 August 2013.
  15. ^ "Shakespeare Schools Foundation Patrons". Shakespeare Schools Foundation. Shakespeare Schools Foundation. Archived from the original on 11 December 2017. Retrieved 12 July 2021.
  16. ^ Powell, Jenny Agutter & Philip. "Jenny Agutter: Recordings and Radio". Archived from the original on 12 August 2016. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  17. ^ Mahoney, Elisabeth (16 March 2011). "Radio head: The Minister of Chance". The Guardian. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2014. This sci-fi podcast is a gripping futuristic thriller – let's hope they get to make the final episodes.
  18. ^ "BBC Radio 4 Extra – Ed Reardon's Week, Series 8, Have a Great Weekend". BBC. 2012. Archived from the original on 20 June 2014. Retrieved 3 October 2014.
  19. ^ "Prefab Sprout – Jordan: The Comeback". Discogs. Archived from the original on 4 April 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  20. ^ a b "Jenny Agutter on Call the Midwife: 'It's hard playing a nun. You're asked to believe things that are absurd' | Call The Midwife". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  21. ^ "Diary of a tireless busybody Jenny Agutter, one of Britain's most consistently successful and thoughtful stars, reveals what it was like to play Alan Clark's wife in the eponymous Diaries series". HeraldScotland. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
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  23. ^ Ewing, Interview by Sarah (22 August 2014). "Jenny Agutter: My family values". The Guardian. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  24. ^ "JENNY AGUTTER'S CORNWALL LIFE". Great British Life. 16 May 2014. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  25. ^ "SISTER TREASURE: JENNY AGUTTER". Great British Life. 6 February 2017. Retrieved 2 July 2021.
  26. ^ "No. 60173". The London Gazette (Supplement). 16 June 2012. p. 8.
  27. ^ "CALL THE MIDWIFE- CYSTIC FIBROSIS AWARENESS". Robin, Rach and Joe. 21 January 2014. Archived from the original on 29 September 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  28. ^ "Sixty Five Roses Club — Scotland". Cystic Fibrosis trust. Archived from the original on 12 March 2017. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  29. ^ Ewing, Sarah (22 August 2014). "Jenny Agutter: My family values". Guardian. Archived from the original on 8 October 2015. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  30. ^ Bowdler, Neil (25 June 2010). "Jenny Agutter: 'Cystic fibrosis is in my family'". BBC News. BBC. Archived from the original on 13 September 2014. Retrieved 25 May 2017.
  31. ^ "Celebrities' open letter to Scotland – full text and list of signatories | Politics". 7 August 2014. Archived from the original on 17 August 2014. Retrieved 26 August 2014.
  32. ^ "Top 100 Most Anticipated Foreign Films of 2015: #64. Werner Herzog's Queen of the Desert". ION Cinema. 6 January 2015. Archived from the original on 24 February 2015. Retrieved 23 February 2015.
  33. ^ "Television: 1980s". Jenny Agutter's Official Website. Archived from the original on 24 March 2020. Retrieved 24 March 2020.
  34. ^ a b c d e "Jenny Agutter Awards". IMDB (Index source only). Retrieved 2 November 2022.

External linksEdit