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Skinner-Carter, Corinne (1931-)


Main image of Skinner-Carter, Corinne (1931-)

For over forty years Corinne Skinner-Carter has been a feature of black British film and television: Empire Road in the 1970s, Burning an Illusion (d. Menelik Shabazz, 1981) and Elphida (d. Tunde Ikole, 1987) in the 1980s, Hallelujah Anyhow (d. Matthew Jacobs, 1991) and Babymother (d. Julien Henriques, 1998) in the 1990s. Between screen appearances she has worked with most of the black theatre companies:Temba, Carib Theatre, Talawa, Umoja, Black Theatre Cooperative, appearing in key theatre drama of the period such as Trevor Rhone's Two Can Play at the Arts Theatre in 1983 and the 1987 production of James Baldwin's The Amen Corner at the Tricycle.

Skinner-Carter arrived in Britain in 1955 from Trinidad planning to be a teacher. While she trained, she supplemented her income by dancing and acting in film and television. Even though this sideline became increasingly significant she continued to teach for Islington Council. Her first role was a small part in a BBC Sunday Night Theatre play, The Green Pastures (tx 14/9/1958). In the 1960s she appeared as a dancer in Cleopatra (d. Joseph L. Mankiewicz, 1963), A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (US, d. Richard Lester, 1966) and Live and Let Die (d. Guy Hamilton, 1973). Other bit parts followed until the late 1970s and her breakthrough role as Hortense Bennett in the television drama series Empire Road (BBC, 1978-79).

In the 1980s television work predominated, and she regularly appeared in the BBC's thirteen part courtroom drama Jury (1983), South of the Border (BBC, 1988-90) and Happy Families (BBC, 1989-90). She also appeared in other television series The Gentle Touch (LWT, 1980-84), Black Silk (BBC, 1985) and starred in the short film Dreaming Rivers (Martine Attille, 1988) produced by Sankofa Film and Video.

In the 1990s she featured in Rides (BBC, 1991-3), a series about an all-women taxi firm, in episodes of The Bill (LWT, 1984-), A Touch of Frost (ITV, 1992-) and Casualty (BBC, 1986-).

Outside of her dual acting and teaching career, Skinner-Carter has had a long association with Notting Hill Carnival and in 1997 was one of the judges.

Ann Ogidi

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Selected credits

Thumbnail image of Babymother (1998)Babymother (1998)

Black British film about a young mother with ambitions to become a reggae star

Thumbnail image of Burning an Illusion (1981)Burning an Illusion (1981)

Pioneering black feature film about a young woman questioning her life

Thumbnail image of Flame In The Streets (1961)Flame In The Streets (1961)

Melodrama dealing with race relations and mixed-race romance

Thumbnail image of Gold Diggers, The (1983)Gold Diggers, The (1983)

Sally Potter's debut feature, a feminist reinterpretation of cinema history

Thumbnail image of Pressure (1975)Pressure (1975)

Britain's first black feature: a powerful portrait of inter-generational tensions

Thumbnail image of Black Silk (1985)Black Silk (1985)

Drama about a black lawyer championing minority communities

Thumbnail image of Empire Road (1978-79)Empire Road (1978-79)

Drama series set within Birmingham's West Indian community

Thumbnail image of Love Thy Neighbour (1972-76)Love Thy Neighbour (1972-76)

Notorious but once-popular sitcom about racially-feuding neighbours

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