Penny Downie

Penny Downie (born 1954) is an Australian actress, noted for her appearances on British television. She is also an accomplished stage actress with companies such as the Royal Shakespeare Company.

Penny Downie
Born1954 (age 65–66)
Years active1976–present

Professional careerEdit

She began her career in Australia, initially in Brisbane at Twelfth Night Theatre and Brisbane Arts Theatre. Downie was a student of noted theatre director, Joan Whalley. She trained at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA), Sydney. After graduation she appeared in TV series such as The Box, Bellbird, The Sullivans, Prisoner and Learned Friends.

She moved to the United Kingdom during the early 1980s. In 1984 when she appeared as Dee Rogers in the Minder episode "If Money Be the Food of Love, Play On". Other UK TV credits include: Inspector Morse, Kavanagh QC, The Cazalets, The Inspector Lynley Mysteries, Spooks, Trial & Retribution, New Street Law, Poirot, The Ice House,  Lost for Words and  New Tricks.

She also appeared in The Girl in the Cafe, alongside Bill Nighy, Kelly Macdonald and Anton Lesser.

She is also an accomplished stage actress. She is an associate artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company where she has played roles such as Lady Anne in Richard III alongside Antony Sher, and Hermione and Perdita in The Winter's Tale. She appeared in the premiere of Nick Dear's play The Art of Success in Stratford in 1986 and later at the Barbican Theatre, London, alongside Michael Kitchen and Simon Russell Beale.[1]

In 2008 she played opposite David Tennant and Patrick Stewart as Gertrude, in the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of Hamlet which was subsequently adapted for BBC television and aired in late 2009.[2][3] Downie played the title character in Euripides' Helen at Shakespeare's Globe Theatre in 2009.

In 2009 she played Mrs. Pienaar in the Clint Eastwood film Invictus.

In 2013 she appeared as Rev Mother Augustine in the Father Brown episode "The Bride of Christ". Downie also played the title role in A Storm in a Flower Vase, a play based on the life of Constance Spry, which held its West End debut at the Arts Theatre.[4]

In 2014, Downie starred in an episode of Suspects as Fiona Sullivan, and appeared as Lady Sinderby, mother of Atticus Aldridge, in series five of Downton Abbey.[5]


Year Film Role Notes
1976 Bellbird Kelly Jamison TV series (unknown episodes: 1976-1977)
The Sullivans Patty Spencer Sullivan TV series (unknown episodes)
1977 The Box Ronnie Heatherton TV series (2 episodes)
1979 Skyways Miranda TV series (1 episode: "George and the Hooker")
1980 Prisoner Kerry Vincent TV series (12 episodes)
1982 Crosstalk Cindy
1983 Learned Friends TV series (unknown episodes)
1984 Minder Dee Rogers TV series (1 episode: "If Money Be the Food of Love, Play On")
1985 Wetherby Chrissie
1986 C.A.T.S Eyes Barbara Dashley TV series (1 episode: "Powerline")
1987 Lionheart Madelaine
1988 Campaign Sarah Copeland TV mini-series (6 episodes)
A Taste for Death Inspector Kate Miskin TV mini-series (6 episodes)
1991 Screen One Sheila TV series (1 episode: "Ex")
Stanley and the Women Susan Duke TV mini-series
1992 Underbelly Barbara Manning TV series (4 episodes)
1993 Inspector Morse Nurse Wendy Hazlitt TV series (1 episode: "Deadly Slumber")
1994 Paradise Linda TV movie
1995 The Governor Christina Knatchbull TV series (1 episode: "Episode #1.4")
1996 Madson Anderton TV series (1 episode: "Episode 6")
1997 The Ice House Phoebe Maybury TV movie
Food of Love Mary
1998 A Certain Justice Venetia Aldridge TV series (unknown episodes)
Crime and Punishment Katerina TV movie
1999 Lost for Words Aileen Longden TV movie
Kavanagh QC Mrs. Rosalind McEnery TV series (1 episode: "Previous Convictions")
2000 The House of Mirth Judy Trenor
2001 The Cazalets Margot "Sid" Sidney TV series (6 episodes)
2003 Trust Anita Matteo TV series (1 episode: "Spilt Milk")
Byron Lady Judith Milbanke TV movie
2004 The Inspector Lynley Mysteries Dr. Tessa Jellicoe TV series (1 episode: "If Wishes Were Horses")
Spooks Prosecution QC TV series (1 episode: "Episode #3.6") (uncredited)
Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the Silk Stocking Judith Massingham TV movie
2005 Timewatch Caecilia TV series documentary (1 episode: "Murder in Rome")
Falling Hazel TV movie
The Girl in the Café Ruth TV movie
Murder in Suburbia Zenith TV series (1 episode: "Golden Oldies")
All About George Evelyn TV series (6 episodes)
Trial & Retribution Mrs Thorpe TV series (1 episode: "The Lovers: Part 1")
Murder in Rome Caecilia TV movie
2006 Judge John Deed Moira Blackthorn TV series (1 episode: "My Daughter, Right or Wrong")
Agatha Christie's Poirot Frances Cloade TV series (1 episode: "Taken at the Flood")
New Street Law Honor Scammell TV series (14 episodes: 2006-2007)
2007 The Commander: Fraudster Jane Griffith TV movie
2008 New Tricks Diane King TV series (1 episode: "Communal Living")
2009 Invictus Mrs Pienaar
Hamlet Gertrude TV movie
2010 Doctors Jessica Boyd/Maisie Padkin TV series (2 episodes: 2010-2014)
2011 Waking the Dead Bonnie Yorke TV series (2 episodes: "Solidarity")
Silk Helen Guthrie TV series (1 episode: "Episode #1.6")
The Shadow Line Caroline Monroe TV mini-series (1 episode: "Episode #1.4")
W.E. Dr. Vargas
Law & Order: UK Rachel Mathesson TV series (2 episodes)
2012 Vera Veronica TV series (1 episode: "Silent Voices")
Threesome Judge TV series (1 episode: "I Don't")
2013 Ripper Street Flora Gable TV series (1 episode: "The King Came Calling")
Father Brown Rev Mother Augustine TV series (1 episode: "The Bride of Christ")
Silent Witness Anne Percival TV series (1 episode: "True Love Waits: Part 2")
Girl on a Bicycle Margaret
Breathless Penny TV series (2 episodes)
2014 Suspects Fiona Sullivan TV series (1 episode: "Alone")
Siblings Dr. Barker TV series (1 episode: "Intern School")
Downton Abbey Lady Sinderby TV series (4 episodes)
2016 London Has Fallen Home Secretary Rose Kenter
The Secret Agent Lady Blackwood TV series (3 episodes)
Jackie Janet Lee
2017 Back Ellen TV series (6 episodes)
2019 Absentia Valerie Chandris TV series (3 episodes)
The Crown Alice, Duchess of Gloucester TV series
2020 The Jester from Tranyslvania Mrs. Pennington post-production


  1. ^ retrieved 25 January 2014
  2. ^ Billen, Andrew (21 August 2008). "Fit for a prince - Hamlet Production". New Statesman. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  3. ^ "BBC Two - Hamlet". Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  4. ^ Prendergast, Lara (12 September 2013). "A Storm in a Flower Vase: Constance Spry spruces up centrestage". The Telegraph. Retrieved 4 September 2014.
  5. ^

External linksEdit