Pauline "Polly" Adams (born 27 August 1939) is an English actress best known for her work on the stage both in England and in the United States, and for her portrayal of Mrs. Brown on the television series Just William.

Polly Adams
Pauline Adams

(1939-08-27) 27 August 1939 (age 83)
Chichester, Sussex, England
SpouseRichard Owens
Children3, including Caroline and Susannah Harker

She made her Broadway debut in a 1975 revival of London Assurance as Grace Harkaway. For her portrayal she was nominated for a Drama Desk Award. Her other Broadway credits include Bedroom Farce.

Life and careerEdit

Adams was born in Chichester, Sussex.[1] She trained at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA)[1] and has appeared in several productions on the London Stage appearing at such theatres as the Old Vic, the Oxford Stage Company, the Hampstead Theatre, the Royal National Theatre, the Greenwich Theatre, the Haymarket Theatre, the Lyric Hammersmith,[2] the Globe Theatre, the Queen's Theatre, the Piccadilly Theatre, [2]the Savoy Theatre and the Royal Shakespeare Company among others.[1][2]

Her theatre credits include Ida in The Chiltern Hundreds,[2] Time and the Conways, A Month in the Country, Pygmalion,[2] Tis Pity She’s a Whore, A Small Family Business, Tons of Money, Plunder, The Philanderer,[2] Engaged, Troilus and Cressida and Don Juan Comes Back From The War, The Government Inspector, Benefactors, The Real Thing,[2] Present Laughter, The Importance of Being Earnest,[2] Hay Fever, The Merchant of Venice, Private Lives, The Complaisant Lover, and Relatively Speaking, among several others.[1][2]

Adams worked on television in the United Kingdom, appearing in programmes including The Ruth Rendell Mysteries, Element of Doubt, Just William, A Dark-Adapted Eye, The Cinder Path, Blisters , Inspector Alleyn, Bonjour la Classe,[1] The Camomile Lawn, Sob Sisters,[2] Executive Stress, The Murder at the Vicarage, Faint-Hearted Feminist, Winter Sunshine,[1] Goodbye Darling , Tribute to the Lady,[2] Upstairs, Downstairs,[2] The First Churchills, The Spoils of Poynton, Pride and Prejudice,[2] and Compact and Sea Song.[1] Her film credits include Kisna and A Woman of the North.[1][2]

Personal lifeEdit

Her daughters, Susannah, Nelly, and Caroline Harker are also actresses. Adams portrayed Jane Bennet in the 1967 television adaptation of Pride and Prejudice,[2] while Susannah Harker played the same role in the 1995 TV series Pride and Prejudice.[1]



Year Title Role Notes
1964 Never Put It in Writing Receptionist
1970 A Cup of Kindness Tilly Winn TV film
She Follows Me About Benny TV film
1971 Clinic Exclusive Ann
1976 Private Lives Sibyl Chase TV film
1980 Bedroom Farce Jan TV film
1986 The Murder at the Vicarage Ann Protheroe TV film
L'étincelle Kathryn
1996 Element of Doubt Ellen
2002 Falling Apart Clare's Mum TV film
2005 Kisna: The Warrior Poet Lady Katherine


Year Title Role Notes
1959 Dixon of Dock Green Sally Ford Episode: "Duffy Calls the Tune"
The Two Charleys Jessie Episode: "Canteen Capers"
1960 Theatre Night Serena Tilney Episode: "The Bride Comes Back"
1961 An Enemy of the People Petra Stockmann Miniseries
ITV Play of the Week Penny Gracey Episode: "The Two on the Beach"
1962 BBC Sunday-Night Play Clarissa Davenport Episode: "Both Ends Meet"
Suspense Miss Eaton Episode: "Killer in the Band"
Somerset Maugham Hour Sally Episode: "Killer in the Band"
1963 ITV Play of the Week Tessie Dunton Episode: "For King and Country #2: The Barricade"
1964 Drama 61-67 Jan Episode: "Drama '64: The Brick Umbrella"
1964-1965 Compact Julia Preston Series regular
1967 Pride and Prejudice Jane Bennet Miniseries
1968 Sexton Blake Barbara Mayne 4 episodes
ITV Playhouse Caol Episode: "Neutral Ground"
1969 Who-Dun-It Delphine Minniver Episode: "Crime at the Panto"
The First Churchills Henrietta Churchill 5 episodes
1970 The Spoils of Poynton Maggie Miniseries
From a Bird's Eye View Betty Episode: "Millie's Moveable Feast"
1972 Villains Mother Episode: "Sand Dancer"
1974 ITV Sunday Night Theatre Jackie Episode: "Only the Other Day"
Armchair Cinema Anna Episode: "Sea Song"
1975 Three Comedies of Marriage Episode: "One of the Family"
Upstairs, Downstairs Mrs. Polly Merivale Episode: "Such a Lovely Man"
1976 BBC Play of the Month Margaret Orme Episode: "Loyalties"
1977 Devenish Prudence Devenish Episode: "The Great American Job"
1978 The Sunday Drama Eloise Gainsborough Episode: "The Marrying Kind"
1981 Goodbye Darling Phillippa Episode: "Daisy"
1984 The Fainthearted Feminist Irene
Winter Sunlight Jane Miniseries
1986 Executive Stress Olive 1 episode
1989 Sob Sisters Dorothy Series regular
1991 The Ruth Rendell Mysteries Melanie Dearborn Episode: "Murder Being Once Done"
1992 The Camomile Lawn Sarah Miniseries
1993 Bonjour la Classe Jean Halifax Series regular
Alleyn Mysteries Mildred Potter Episode: "Death in a White Tie"
1994 A Dark-Adapted Eye Helen Miniseries
The Cinder Path Florence Chapman Miniseries
1994-1995 Just William Mrs. Brown Series regular
2009 Kingdom Amelia 1 episode


Year Title Role Venue Notes
1959 The Complaisant Lover Ann Howard Globe Theatre, London
1962 The Chances Extra Chichester Festival Theatre, Chichester
The Broken Heart Christella Chichester Festival Theatre, Chichester
1963 Gentle Jack Cynthia Queens Theatre, London
1967 Relatively Speaking Virginia Duke of York's Theatre, London
1971 Dear Antoine Anémone Piccadilly Theatre, London
1973 Private Lives Sibyl Chase Globe Theatre, London
1975 Engaged Belinda Treherne The Old Vic, London
1976 Troilus and Cressida Helen Royal National Theatre, London
Plunder Joan Hewlett Lyttelton Theatre, London
1977 The Country Wife Alithea Olivier Theatre, London
1978 The Philanderer Grace Tranfield Lyttelton Theatre, London
Don Juan Comes Back From The War Ensemble Cottesloe Theatre, London
Bedroom Farce Jan Prince of Wales Theatre, London
1979 Hay Fever Myra Arundel Lyric Theatre, London
1980 The Importance of Being Earnest Gwendolen Fairfax Haymarket Theatre, Leicester & The Old Vic, London
1981 Present Laughter Joanna Greenwich Theatre, London & Vaudeville Theatre, London
1982 The Real Thing Charlotte Strand Theatre, London
1985 Benefactors Jane Vaudeville Theatre, London
1986 Tons of Money Louise Allington Lyttelton Theatre, London
1987 A Small Family Business Poppy McCracken Olivier Theatre, London
1988 'Tis Pity She's a Whore Hippolita Olivier Theatre, London
1990 Rumors Christine Bevans Chichester Festival Theatre, Chichester also, UK tour
1991 The Government Inspector Anna Greenwich Theatre, London
1992 Pygmalion Mrs Eynsford-Hill Olivier Theatre, London
1994 A Month in the Country Lizaveta Bogdanovna Yvonne Arnaud Theatre, Guildford & Albery Theatre, London
1997 Time and the Conways Mrs. Conway Mercury Theatre, Colchester & Salisbury Playhouse, Salisbury
1999 The Chiltern Hundreds Lady Lister Vaudeville Theatre, London
2000 The Good Samaritan Muriel Hampstead Theatre, London
2001 The Winslow Boy Grace Winslow Chichester Festival Theatre, Chichester also, UK Tour[3]
2005 Marrying the Mistress Laura Stockdale Jersey Opera House, Saint Helier
2006 Entertaining Angels Ruth Chichester Festival Theatre, Chichester
2007 For Services Rendered Charlotte Ardsley Watermill Theatre, Bagnor
2008 Legal Fictions Savoy Theatre, London
2010 A Voyage Round My Father Mother Salisbury Playhouse, Salisbury
2014 Rapture, Blister, Burn Alice Hampstead Theatre, London
2016 Home Chat Mrs. Ebony Finborough Theatre, London


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Polly Adams". Retrieved 9 November 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "Polly Adams Chichester Festival Theatre 2006 Biography". 2008. Archived from the original on 5 March 2008.
  3. ^ "The Winslow Boy (Play) production archive for QTIX code T1156433847". UKTW. Retrieved 20 November 2021.

External linksEdit