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Stephenson, Pamela (1950-)

Actor, Presenter, Writer

Main image of Stephenson, Pamela (1950-)

Although she has gained increasing recognition as a celebrity psychotherapist in recent years, this blonde New Zealand-born actress will probably remain best known for being the only female member of the quartet that made up British topical sketch comedy show Not The Nine O'Clock News (1979-82). Her training at the Australian National Institute of Dramatic Art and appearances in various 1970s Australian and British television series stood her in good stead as she both performed and impersonated a wide range of characters and celebrities (most famously Esther Rantzen, Kate Bush and Janet Street-Porter), in the process proving that it was possible to be funny and sexy at the same time.

However, this proved the high point of her British performing career. After a handful of feature film appearances on both sides of the Atlantic (most notably in Superman III, d. Richard Lester, 1983), she became a regular performer on the American comedy series Saturday Night Live (US, 1984-85).

In the late 1980s she retired from acting and concentrated on raising a family with comedian Billy Connolly (whom she married in 1989). Her next appearance under the public spotlight was as the author of the best-selling biography Billy, which made use of her 1990s retraining as a psychotherapist to explore the roots of Connolly's personal demons. In 2007, she returned to British television in a similar role, in the series Shrink Rap (More4, tx. 2007-08), in which she conducted psychiatrists' couch-style discussions with various celebrities including Stephen Fry, Sarah Ferguson and former Home Secretary David Blunkett.

Michael Brooke

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Thumbnail image of Not the Nine O'Clock News (1979-82)Not the Nine O'Clock News (1979-82)

Satirical sketch show that paved the way for a new comedy generation

Related collections

Thumbnail image of Funny Women on TVFunny Women on TV

Comedy with a female slant

Related people and organisations

Thumbnail image of Connolly, Billy (1942-)Connolly, Billy (1942-)

Actor, Comedian, Musician