Harriet Jones (Penelope Wilton) - Doctor Who - The Christmas Invasion (c) BBC
Harriet Jones (Penelope Wilton) – Doctor Who – The Christmas Invasion (c) BBC

Queen Elizabeth II is currently enjoying a host of 90th birthday celebrations, and as part of the birthday honours, Doctor Who actress Penelope Wilton has been made a Dame – that definitely beats MP for Flydale North!

Fans of Doctor Who will know Penelope Wilton as Harriet Jones, a character who debuted in the first series of the 2005 revival and fended off the farting Slitheen from Downing Street in the hit two-part episodes ‘Aliens of London’ and ‘World War Three’. She returned to help usher in the David Tennant era in ‘The Christmas Invasion’, now as Prime Minister of Great Britain, obliterating the Sycorax ruthlessly with the help of Torchwood. Her final appearance came in The Stolen Earth, using the subwave network to unite the Doctors companions and ultimately, sacrificing herself to do so at the cost of her own life.

Harriet Jones (Penelope Wilton) - Doctor Who - TheStoeln Earth (c) BBC
Harriet Jones (Penelope Wilton) – Doctor Who – The Stolen Earth (c) BBC

However, Doctor Who is merely among Wilton’s most famous roles. Starring as Isobel Crawley in globally renowned ‘Downton Abbey’ and as Barbara in cult classic ‘Shaun of the Dead’, Wilton’s acting career is filled with fan favourite roles across a diverse range of genre’s and audiences. The 70-year-old actress shows no signs of slowing down either, set to work in ITV drama Brief Encounters next month and even, in a twist of fate, star as The Queen herself in Steven Spielberg’s much anticipated adaptation of Roald Dahl’s The BFG.

Dame Penelope Wilton’s acting profile is full of extraordinary success across a long, diverse career, and now honoured by a ‘damehood’, fans old and new will gleefully say: “yes, we know who you are.”


  1. Glad to see the former Prime Minister’s awesomeness recognized 😉 If this were Tumblr you’d have lost so many followers by now just for the title.

    But this isn’t Tumblr.


  2. She has a very good career and I am interested to see what she does in the future. I wonder if she will ever retire, she is getting very old after all.

    • Hi Alex,

      Not quite the point of the article. Arguably, her age has benefited her in being honored, which is a massive progression in someones career or life.

      If all old actors retired, who would play the old people?

      • I honestly don’t think that was Alex’s point.
        A dame-hood is a brilliant and well worth achievement and her talents have finally been recognised. So now what’s next in her career?
        I do wonder if she’ll retire too. She has worked hard serving us as former Prime Minster…

        I think that’s a bit of a generalisation about the older generation but each opinion to their own.


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