Welcome to the late Fenella Fielding OBE’s official website detailing her career - the stage, radio, TV and film appearances. You can read about the ongoing work of the Fenella Fielding Foundation to celebrate her life and career. (There's a shop selling copies of her autobiography in hardback and audio book too.)
FENELLA FIELDING OBE: 17/11/27 - 11/09/18 RIP
I still find it hard to believe that Fenella is no longer with us. But sadly, seventeen days after a massive stroke, she did pass away. Her GP said, "I have known her for 30 years and she would wish to take a graceful bow and leave the stage like the lady she is." She did exactly that. She was at peace. She died with her eyelashes on!
Miss Fielding was an incredible talent. (That voice!) She had sixty six years on stage including a remarkable renaissance in the last few years of her career. These years were especially happy for her. She got to do lots of hugely enjoyable work including what she described as 'very speakable' translations of Greek classics and reading from her own memoirs. She was so grateful that audiences didn't ever forget her and for the amazing support she received from her fans. Constantly, she told me how happy she was to be working and 'can we just keep going please'. We did! Her last job - recording voice for Eddie Mair - was the day before the stroke. It was one last perfect day we had together - work, curry, coffee... and she shopped in Cecil Court for chunky plastic jewellery.
In July 2020, I established the Fenella Fielding Foundation to celebrate the great lady's life and career. I will use the Fenella Fielding Archive as source material for CDs, DVDs, books and exhibitions. (Projects we had planned to do together.) It's a not-for-profit company to raise money for charitable causes e.g. bursaries for actors from lower-income backgrounds as they begin their careers. (In keeping with the RADA scholarship Fenella benefitted from when she was starting out.) The first project is announced below. Please join the mailing list for updates about future projects.
Fenella Fielding Foundation
The first project you can expect to see from the Fenella Fielding Foundation is a series of new Fenella portraits. Artist Fionn Wilson (who recently curated an ACE sponsored exhibition about Christine Keeler) is coordinating the creation of 15 new portraits by 5 artists. The artists did not get to meet Fenella, but with the support of the Foundation they have access to many unseen images of the great lady.
All plans are subject to change because of coronavirus, but the portrait exhibition is intended to open in spring 2022. It is hoped to exhibit in four UK locations that all have strong links to Fenella's career.
Fenella Fielding Awarded OBE
Fenella Fielding in 'High Spirits'
Fenella was absolutely delighted when, in June 2018, she was awarded an OBE for Services to Drama and Charity in the Queen's Birthday Honours. Fenella said, "I’m terribly moved. It’s lovely to have my work acknowledged in a serious way… It would never have occurred to me that this might happen. But I’m very happy, as you can imagine." Read more about Fenella's honour as reported by her local news website.
Cruelly, Fenella died before she was due to go to The Palace to collect her award. It was collected from The Palace by Simon and is now part of her archive. Report from Fenella's local news website.
Speakable Translations of Greek Classics
Stephen Greif with Fenella at her 90th Birthday Party
Fenella with Simon Russell Beale
Reading for Actors of Dionysus (2012)
From 2012-18 Fenella performed readings of Greek classics translated by David Stuttard. The first was an appearance with Simon Russell Beale. After that, she starred in the cast of 'Savage Beauty' before settling into a two-hander with Stephen Greif called 'Just A Little Murder'. The highlight of every show was her heartbreaking rendition of Hekebe talking about the death of her grandson. Some of Fenella's Greek work is featured on a CD of Sappho Poems.
Fenella Memoir Readings
From 2016-2018 Fenella performed 30 readings from her memoirs, often on a Saturday afternoon at The Phoenix Artist Club. They were astonishing events. She was so animated; so engaging. She especially enjoyed sharing stories from the beginning of her career when she was working in nightclubs and rubbing shoulders with various tarts and gangsters. The format of each show was very simple; Fenella would read two chapters. Short break. Read one more chapter and then Simon conducted a short Q&A with plenty of audience participation. The scripts from these shows were recorded first as an audio book then adapted for the print version of 'Do You Mind If I Smoke?'.
Memoirs: Do You Mind If I Smoke?
Fenella & Simon Radio Shows
Fenella Fielding and Simon McKay (2014)
From 2011-2015 Fenella recorded a number of radio shows with Simon. They were based around themes such as gospel, Motown, love songs, film and show soundtracks and there were some that included interviews with Fenella's friends: Cult TV Themes and Jazz on a Summer's Day. More details and links to listen online to shows that are still available click here.
FENELLA FIELDING HOME PAGE
This website was originally established in 2011 as a way for Fenella to let audiences know what she would be doing over the coming months.
Fenella on Social Media:
Fenella in Skins (2012)
Fenella's last character part on television was playing Alex's grandmother in 'Skins' (Channel 4). It was a gem! Other recent work was voice for 'Kookyville' (Channel 5) and lots of documentaries - often about Carry On Films, Morecambe & Wise and sometimes about fancy hotels.
Fenella Press & Radio 2017-2018
The Guardian: Fenella's letter about Muriel Spark Read
The Guardian: letter about Fenella visiting DHSS! Read
ChiswickW4 about Fenella's OBE Read
ChiswickW4 about Fenella's book & birthday Read
Camden New Journal book review Read
Daily Express by Jane Warren Read
The Guardian by Simon Hattenstone Read
The Telegraph by Jasper Rees Read (pay wall)
Jewish Chronicle by Anthea Gerrie Read
BBC Radio 2 Steve Wright Listen (Starts at 2:39)
BBC Radio London with Jo Good Listen
BBC Radio 4 Front Row with Stig Abell Listen
BBC Radio Leeds (Broadcast 17/03/18)