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Heroes of Cult: Fenella Fielding – England’s first lady of the double entendre

Fenella Fielding’s ancestral background is quite a mixed affair, her father was Lithuanian Jewish and her mother was Romanian Jewish.  Her brother ended up being Baron Fielding due to his government career.

Fenella was best known by generations of Carry On fans as the vampish Valeria in Carry on Screaming and in a lesser known role as Penny Panting (that would make a great bond girl name) in Carry on Regardless.

Her career started in 1952 concentrating on stage productions, she accompanied a dear friend to an audition, that dear friend was Ron Moody, at the time unknown but well known now as Fagin in the movie Oliver.  She became a star after performing in the musical version of Valmouth in 1958.  A versatile actress, there was nothing she hadn’t put her hand to, comedy, Shakespeare, drama, even performing on The Good Old Days singing a couple of risqué songs in her own inimitable style. She even made an album, in later years, covering the likes of Robbie Williams, Kylie Minogue, New order and White Stripes.  As well as all of that, she had quite a busy career in voice-over work from doing video games to audiobooks and adverts for tv and radio.

Fenella Fielding had a long and lustrous career in showbiz, Films, Television, Theatre and Radio and it seems a real shame that her career highlight was being in Carry On Screaming.  Fenella was a great story teller, an amazing one at that and a great mistress of vocabulary, it was a travesty that someone so admired by the likes of Kenneth Tynan and Noel Coward became obscured within her industry, but her legacy and works are abundant, and Fenella Fielding had nothing to prove to anyone in her 90 years of life.

She died at Charing Cross hospital on 11th September 2018 two weeks after suffering a stroke, but at least she got some recognition before she passed away as she was appointed Officer of the British Empire (OBE) in the Queen’s 2018 Birthday Honours for her services to drama and charity.

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