Stephanie Beacham

Stephanie Beacham (born 28 February 1947) is an English television, radio, film and theatre actress. She is known for her television roles in the BBC drama Tenko (1981–1982), the ITV drama Connie (1985), and for playing Sable Colby in the ABC soap operas The Colbys (1985–1987) and Dynasty (1985, 1988–1989). Her film appearances include Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972), Schizo (1976) and Troop Beverly Hills (1989).

Stephanie Beacham
Stephanie Beacham.jpg
Beacham in 2009
Born (1947-02-28) 28 February 1947 (age 75)
Years active1967–present
(m. 1973; div. 1979)

Beacham began appearing on British television in 1967 and made her big screen debut in the 1970 film The Games, before starring opposite Marlon Brando in the 1971 film The Nightcomers. She was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for her role in the NBC sitcom Sister Kate (1989–1990). Her other television roles include Phyl Oswyn in the ITV prison-based drama series Bad Girls (2003–2006), Martha Fraser in the long-running ITV soap opera Coronation Street (2009), and Lorraine in the Sky One sitcom Trollied (2012). On stage, she starred as Maria Callas in a 2010 UK touring production of the play Master Class.

Early lifeEdit

Beacham, one of four siblings, was born in Barnet, Hertfordshire, England,[2] the daughter of Joan (née Wilkins), a housewife, and Alic, who was an insurance executive and the managing director of the Grosvenor estate.[3] She attended Barnet's Queen Elizabeth's Girls' Grammar School and later travelled to Boulogne-Billancourt in Paris, France, to study mime with Étienne Decroux, before attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London.[4]


Beacham's initial goal was to teach dance movement to deaf children, but she began a career in modelling and then began acting in television. Her first screen role was in the BBC series The Queen's Traitor in 1967, in which she played Mary, Queen of Scots. During an interview, thinking Barnet sounded uninteresting, she told a reporter from the Northern Echo she was born in Casablanca, where her favourite Bogart/Bergman film was set.[2] After many further guest appearances in television series such as The Saint, Callan, and UFO, Beacham's first film roles were in The Games directed by Michael Winner, and Tam Lin directed by Roddy McDowall, both released in 1970. She would work with Winner again in 1971's The Nightcomers, in which she starred opposite Marlon Brando. Beacham appeared nude in one scene, during the filming of which Brando wore Y-fronts and wellington boots under the bed clothes to ensure Winner did not film anything lower than was necessary.[5] Horror would be a genre that Beacham appeared in often during this period, and she was subsequently cast as Jessica Van Helsing in Hammer's Dracula A.D. 1972 alongside Peter Cushing.

Beacham continued to appear in film, television and on stage. Her next role was as a repertory player with the Nottingham Playhouse, where she played several lead and feature roles, including the role of Nora in the Henrik Ibsen play A Doll's House. In 1973, she played Georgina Layton in Thames Television's daytime drama Marked Personal. The same year, she made an Italian film, Si può essere più bastardi dell'ispettore Cliff? The film was released in the US in 1977 as Mafia Junction and in the UK as Blue Movie Blackmail. It was later released on home video, now retitled as Super Bitch as the producers of the film attempted to capitalise on the success of the Joan Collins film The Bitch. Beacham also continued to work in horror films, including And Now the Screaming Starts (1973), House of Mortal Sin (1975), Schizo (1976) and Inseminoid (1981) – a film she admits taking for the fee.[6]

From 1981 to 1982, Beacham featured as a member of the ensemble cast of the BBC series Tenko, about a group of women prisoners of war held captive by the Japanese after their invasion of Singapore in 1942. Following this, she continued working in theatre and television before landing the lead role in the 13-part ITV drama series Connie (1985). Her roles in Tenko and Connie helped to springboard her into one of her most well-remembered roles, that of the devious matriarch Sable Colby on the television series The Colbys (1985–1987). The Colbys was a spin-off of the opulent prime-time soap Dynasty which had been the highest rating programme in the USA that year. Beacham was cast opposite Charlton Heston as the tent-pole couple of the new show. The Colbys never experienced the success of its parent show and was cancelled after two seasons, though in 1988, Beacham was invited to reprise the role of Sable on Dynasty, playing opposite Joan Collins in a season-long "battle of the bitches" scenario.[1]

After Dynasty was cancelled in 1989, Beacham landed the lead role in the children's fantasy film The Wolves of Willoughby Chase, playing an evil governess. She was then cast in the US sitcom Sister Kate, taking the lead role as a nun taking care of children in an orphanage. The series lasted for one season and was cancelled in 1990, though she earned a Golden Globe nomination for the role. She then returned to Britain to play Mrs. Peacock in an ITV game show version of the board game Cluedo (1990). Reuniting with Dynasty producer Aaron Spelling, Beacham also had a recurring guest role in the popular teen drama Beverly Hills, 90210, playing Iris McKay, the estranged mother of Luke Perry's character Dylan. Beacham appeared in six different television series produced by Spelling, including Dynasty and its spin-off, The Colbys,[7] The Love Boat, Beverly Hills, 90210, Burke's Law, and Charmed. In 1993, Beacham signed on to play Dr. Kristin Westphalen in the NBC science fiction series seaQuest DSV, produced by Steven Spielberg. Her character was the chief oceanographer and medical doctor for the submarine seaQuest, however Beacham left the programme after its first season. Throughout the 1990s, she continued to make guest appearances on television programmes, working in both the UK and the US. In 1996, she starred in the BBC drama No Bananas which was set during the war years.

In 2003, Beacham returned to the UK to take a role in the ITV prison drama Bad Girls. She played inmate Phyllida "Phyl" Oswyn for four years, partnered with Beverly "Bev" Tull (played by Amanda Barrie) as the "Costa Cons". She remained with the series to the end in 2006. In 2006, she played the Wicked Witch in a production of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves in Guildford. She appeared there again the following year in a production of Jack and the Beanstalk.[8] She also appeared in the 2006 movie Love and Other Disasters. She returned to stage work and toured the UK in 2007 as a lead in the Noël Coward play Hay Fever. Later that year, she competed in the 2007 series of the BBC's Strictly Come Dancing with professional partner Vincent Simone, though she was eliminated early in the competition (the second of fourteen celebrities) on 14 October 2007.

On 27 November 2008, it was announced that Beacham had joined the cast of ITV's Coronation Street portraying Martha Fraser, a love interest for Ken Barlow (played by William Roache).[9][10] She made her first appearance on 26 January 2009 and her last on 4 May 2009.

On 17 February 2010, Beacham appeared in the final episode of the BBC series Material Girl. On 3 April 2010, she made a guest appearance in the long-running BBC hospital drama series Casualty.[11] She then starred as Maria Callas in a UK tour of Master Class from 2010 to 2011.

In October 2011, Beacham released her autobiography Many Lives, in which she discusses her life and career. The book includes a foreword written by her Coronation Street co-star William Roache.[12] In 2012, Beacham reunited with her Dynasty co-star Joan Collins in a UK television advert for Snickers, however the ad was later re-edited and Beacham's appearance cut. She also appeared as store manager Lorraine Chain in Sky1's supermarket-based sitcom Trollied for eight episodes between August 2012 and October 2012. The same year, she also appeared in three episodes of Sky Living's Mount Pleasant as Aunty Pam.

In January 2013, Beacham was a guest on ITV's daytime chat show Loose Women to promote her appearance on the first episode of the second series of Death in Paradise which aired on 8 January 2013. On 3 January 2010, Beacham entered Channel 4's seventh and final series of Celebrity Big Brother as a housemate; she was the only female to make it to the final and finished in fifth place on 29 January 2010.

Beacham was involved in launching the Sense-National Deafblind and Rubella Association Fill in the Gaps campaign[13] which aims to give the elderly the support they need to maintain a good quality of life. She also attended the Parliamentary launch of the campaign in June 2006. In September 2016, Beacham was a guest on BBC Radio 2's Graham Norton Show and discussed her role as Princess Margaret.[14] The play, A Princess Undone by Richard Stirling, premiered at the Cambridge Arts Theatre in October that year and is "set to scandalise admirers of the Royal family".[15] In February 2021, Beacham's agent and novelist Melanie Blake announced plans to plans to launch a new British soap opera, Falcon Bay. She confirmed that Beacham would star in the soap if she secures the rights to the production.[16]

Personal lifeEdit

Beacham is partially deaf, having been born with no hearing in her right ear and 80% hearing in her left ear.[17]

She married actor John McEnery in 1973; she became pregnant shortly after the wedding but suffered a miscarriage when she was three months pregnant. She revealed in an interview her stillborn son was cremated. Beacham and McEnery separated in 1979 but stayed married for over another 10 years.[1] They have two daughters, Phoebe (1974) and Chloe (1977).[2] She dated Imran Khan, then a cricketer, in the 1980s[18][19] and later a politician who became Prime Minister of Pakistan in 2018.

Beacham was successfully treated for skin cancer in 2009. She had a recurrence of the disease in 2011 but has again recovered.[20]

In March 2016 Beacham told The Sunday Telegraph that she had been raped, when she had been an up-and-coming actress, in her twenties.[21]



Year Title Role Notes
1970 The Games Angela Simmonds
1970 Tam-Lin Janet Ainsley
1971 The Nightcomers Miss Jessel
1972 Dracula A.D. 1972 Jessica Van Helsing
1973 Super Bitch Joanne
1973 And Now the Screaming Starts! Catherine Fengriffen
1975 House of Mortal Sin Vanessa Welch
1976 Schizo Beth
1981 Inseminoid Kate
1989 Troop Beverly Hills Vicki Sprantz
1989 The Wolves of Willoughby Chase Letitia Slighcarp
1990 Harry and Harriet [de] Christine Petersen
1990 The Lilac Bus Judy
1992 Secrets Sabina Quarles
1992 To Be the Best Arabella
1993 Foreign Affairs Rosemary Radley
1993 Riders Molly Carter
1996 Wedding Bell Blues Tanya's Mother
2000 Relative Values Elizabeth
2002 Unconditional Love Harriet Fox-Smith
2002 Would I Lie to You? Amaelia
2006 Seven Days of Grace Dana
2006 Love and Other Disasters Felicity Riggs-Wentworth
2006 The Witches Hammer Madeline
2007 Plot 7 Emma Osterman
2016 Wild Oats Tammy
2022 Renegades Hartigan


Year Title Role Notes
1967 Out of Town Theatre The Girl Episode: "The Picnic"
1967 The Queen's Traitor Mary Queen of Scots TV Movie
1968 ITV Playhouse Lisa Wendle Episode: "Bon Voyage"
1968 The Saint Penny Episode: "Legacy for the Saint"
1968 The Jazz Age Charlotte Tonn Episode: "Black Exchange"
1969 Armchair Theatre Linda Episode: "On Vacation"
1969 Public Eye Shirley Marlowe Episode: "My Life's My Own"
1969 The Distracted Preacher Lizzy Newberry TV Movie
1970 Callan Beth Lampton Episode: "God Help Your Friends"
1970 Sentimental Education Rosanette Episode: "The Philanderer"
1970 UFO Sarah Bosanquet Episode: "Destruction"
1971–1972 ITV Sunday Night Theatre Jenny Draper/Anna Trenton 2 episodes
1972 Jason King Cora Simpson Episode: "Chapter One: The Company I Keep"
1972 Man at the Top Paula Fraser 2 episodes
1973 The Adventurer Contessa Maria Episode: "Icons Are Forever"
1973 The Protectors Chrissie Episode: "Your Witness"
1973 Special Branch Sue Arden Episode: "Threat"
1973 Jane Eyre Blanche Ingram Episode: "Part 3"
1973 Ego Hugo Adèle Hugo TV Movie
1973–1974 Marked Personal Georgina Layton 62 episodes
1975 Whodunnit? Helen Brent Episode: "Too Many Cooks"
1975 Prometheus: The Life of Balzac Fanny Lovell TV Mini-series
1976 Hadleigh Susan Debray Episode: "Film Story"
1976 Forget Me Not Jeanne Teliot Episode: "Rich"
1978 Rainbow Special Guest Narrator Episode: "Wild Animals"
1979 I vecchi e i giovani Nicoletta 4 episodes
1981–1982 Tenko Rose Millar 19 episodes
1984 Sorrell and Son Florence Palfrey 1 episode
1984 Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense Rosemary Richardson Episode: "A Distant Scream"
1985 Connie Connie 13 episodes
1985–1987 The Colbys Sable Colby 49 episodes
1985; 1988–1989 Dynasty Sable Colby Guest (season 6), main (season 9); 23 episodes
1986 The Love Boat Elaine Riskin Episode: "The Shipshape Cruise"
1987 Napoleon and Josephine: A Love Story Therese Tallien 3 episodes
1988 French and Saunders Doreena Petherbridge 1 episode
1989–1990 Sister Kate Sister Katherine "Kate" Lambert 19 episodes
1990 Cluedo Mrs. Peacock 6 episodes
1990 Lucky/Chances Susan Martino Santangelo TV Mini-series
1991; 1993–1994 Beverly Hills, 90210 Iris McKay 8 episodes
1993 Star Trek: The Next Generation Countess Bartholomew Episode: "Ship in a Bottle"
1993 Blossom Mrs. Robinson Episode "Hunger"
1993–1994 seaQuest DSV Dr. Kristin Westphalen 23 episodes
1994 Burke's Law Victoria Lancer Episode: "Who Killed Skippy's Master?"
1994 A Change of Place Marie TV Movie
1995 Legend Vera Slaughter Episode: "Birth of a Legend"
1995 High Society Stella, the acting coach Episode: "We Ought to Be in Pictures"
1996 No Bananas Dorothea Grant 10 episodes
2000 Charmed Martha van Lewen Episode: "Reckless Abandon"
2002 Having It Off Vernice Green Episode: "Perms of Endearment"
2003–2006 Bad Girls Phyllida Oswyn 40 episodes
2006 New Tricks Rhoda Wishaw Episode: "Wicca Work"
2009 Free Agents Wendy Episode: : #1.6
2009 Coronation Street Martha Fraser 21 episodes
2010 Material Girl Sylvie Montrose Episode: #1.6
2010 Casualty Monica Shapiro Episode: "Love of a Good Man"
2012 Mount Pleasant Aunty Pam 3 episodes
2012 Trollied Lorraine 8 episodes
2013 Death in Paradise Nicole Seymour Episode: "Murder on the Plantation"
2014–2016 Boomers Maureen All 13 episodes
2017 Bucket Pat 3 episodes

Awards and nominationsEdit

Year Award Nominated work Category Result
1986 Soap Opera Digest Award The Colbys Outstanding Villainess on a Prime Time Serial Nominated
1988 Soap Opera Digest Award The Colbys Outstanding Villainess: Prime Time Nominated
1990 Soap Opera Digest Award Dynasty Outstanding Lead Actress: Prime Time Nominated
1990 Golden Globe Award Sister Kate Best Actress – Television Series Musical or Comedy Nominated


  • Many Lives, Hay House, 2011. ISBN 978-1-84850-829-3.


  1. ^ a b c Gilbert, Gerard (1 September 2012). "Stephanie Beacham: 'I had to give up toy boys'". The Independent. London. Archived from the original on 25 May 2022. Retrieved 13 May 2014.
  2. ^ a b c Barber, Richard (28 January 2007). "Moroccan dynasty". The Times. London. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
  3. ^ "Stephanie Beacham Film Reference biography".
  4. ^ "Stephanie Beacham – Official Website (Bio)". Archived from the original on 26 April 2012.
  5. ^ The One Show, BBC One – 15 July 2009
  6. ^ McLean, Gareth (18 June 2003). "Living in the pink". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
  7. ^ "The Colbys". Soap Opera Digest. 19 October 2019. Retrieved 19 November 2019 – via
  8. ^ "Stephanie Beacham panto".
  9. ^ "Stephanie Beacham exclusive on her journey from The Colbys to the Coronation Street cobbles". Sunday Mirror. 25 January 2009. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
  10. ^ "Stephanie Beacham joins Corrie". Digital Spy. 27 November 2008. Retrieved 15 July 2009.
  11. ^ Tim Oglethorpe (3 February 2010). "Celebrity Big Brother star Stephanie Beacham comes a cropper in her guest role in Casualty". Daily Mirror.
  12. ^ Beacham, Stephanie (2011). Many Lives, An Autobiography. London, UK: Hay House. ISBN 978-1848505957.
  13. ^ "Fill in the Gaps: supporting older people with hearing and sight loss". Archived from the original on 22 April 2009.
  14. ^ "BBC Radio 2 - Graham Norton, With guests Stephanie Beacham, plus Marilyn and Boy George". BBC.
  15. ^ "Stephanie Beacham to play Princess Margaret on stage". The Telegraph. 15 July 2016 – via
  16. ^ Lindsay, Duncan (26 February 2021). "New soap could be launched in the UK with all star cast including Stephanie Beacham". Metro. DMG Media.
  17. ^ "Stephanie Beacham: She was born completely deaf in her right ear and with only 80% hearing in her left". Hidden Hearing's (Ireland) Blog. Archived from the original on 6 October 2014.
  18. ^ "A woman of substance". The Scotsman. 27 June 2004.
  19. ^ "Bowling maidens over: The love life of cricket superstar Imran Khan". India Today. Zahid Hussain. 15 June 1995.
  20. ^ "Stephanie Beacham: My skin cancer returned but deafness had a bigger impact on my life". Daily Mirror. 6 August 2014.
  21. ^ "Stephanie Beacham: Being raped screwed up my life". The Sunday Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group. 13 March 2016. Retrieved 13 March 2016.[dead link]

External linksEdit