Saturday, 13 June 2015

Pauline Yates - A Belated RIP

I've only just found out that Pauline Yates, star of The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, passed away in January this year aged 85.

As a result, this blog post serves as a belated obituary to the St Helens born actress.

I found out about her death - which as far as I know wasn't reported much if at all on the BBC news or in the local or national papers - because I am currently entering in the competition to name a new park here in St Helens, the details of which can be found here

This competition really interests me because its a chance to name a local hero whose talent or place in history has perhaps become overlooked by the people of St Helens. To counteract perhaps the inevitable entries for a wealth of St Helens Rugby League stars or Johnny Vegas I chose to look up the likes of Yates, or Herbert Mundin, the lugubrious and portly son of St Helens who was a Hollywood star in the 1930s thanks to roles in The Adventures of Robin Hood and Mutiny on the Bounty. In the end I went for Hannah Rosbotham the brave St Helens schoolteacher who, in the late 1800s, risked her life to save those of her pupils and was awarded the Albert Medal as a result. But I've made sure a relation of mine has voted for Pauline Yates.

Born in St Helens on June 16th 1929, Pauline Lettice Yates knew she wanted to be an actress from an early age and, upon leaving school, joined Oldham rep where she made her stage debut aged just 17 in a production of Jane Eyre. She secured roles on television as a young actress in the late 50s and worked extensively throughout the following decade in programmes such as Emergency Ward 10, No Hiding Place, Z Cars, Dixon of Dock Green, Softly Softly, The Strange Report and alongside Ronnie Barker in Hark at Barker and The Ronnie Barker Playhouse.

By the 1970s, Yates had her own series Harriet's Back In Town but it was perhaps her role as Leonard Rossiter's long suffering wife Elizabeth in The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin and its subsequent serials that she would prove to be most famous for. She starred as the wife and mother in another sitcom at the start of the 1980s, Keep it in the Family and appeared as one of the women on a feminist outward bound course in the early Film 4 feature She'll Be Wearing Pink Pyjamas in 1985. Her last major screen role was once again as Elizabeth Perrin in 1996's The Legacy of Reginald Perrin but she continued to appear in programmes as diverse as Kavanagh QC and Peter Kosminsky's acclaimed Warriors before her career on screen concluded in the early 00s.



  1. I loved her in Reggie Perrin. RIP, Ms. Yates.
    On the subject of names for your park, may I nominate the only person (other than my next door neighbour) who I have ever known from St. Helens, Mr. Gareth Hughes. I once flooded his room when we were students as a 'prank' and would like to say sorry, so naming it after him would go some way...

    1. Haha go for it, it's probably going to be one of the saner entries in the comp!