Last of the Summer Wine
British actress Sarah Thomas is perhaps best known for playing niece Glenda in the longest running sitcom in the world, “Last of the Summer Wine,” a role she played from 1986 to 2009. She originated the fame role in a successful 1985 TV film entitled “Uncle of the Bride,” which focused on Glenda's marriage to Barry (played by Mike Grady).
She also played Susan in “Within These Walls” (3 episodes, 1975-1976), Enid Simmons in the children's series “Worzel Gummidge” (4 episodes, 1980) and Maureen Burt in the five part miniseries “Shroud for a Nightingale” (1984). She also has acted in stage productions like “The Sea Gull” and “Cinderella.”
Childhood and Family:
Sarah Jane Thomas was born on June 5, 1952 in London, England.
Stage & Screen
Sarah Thomas appeared as Au Pair Girl in the British action/crime series “Special Branch” episode “Sorry Is Just a Word” in 1970. She resurfaced on television five years later when she portrayed Grace in an episode of the long running BBC drama “Play for Today” called “Rumpole of the Bailey.” Also in 1975, the actress landed a recurring role on the drama series “Within These Walls,” where she played Susan. The following year, she performed in Anton Chekhov's “The Sea Gull” at the Everyman Theatre in Cheltenham, England. The production was directed by John David. The cast included Irene Sutcliffe, John Nolan, and Barry Warren.
In 1979, Thomas made her first appearance on “Worzel Gummidge,” a children's show on ITV, adapted from the books by Barbara Euphan Todd. At the time, she was featured as a waitress in an episode called “A Home Fit for Scarecrows.” She returned to the show in 1980 to play Enid Simmons in the episodes “ A Fishy Tale,” “Very Good, Worzel,” “Fire Drill” and “A Fair Old Pullover.” She returned for a third time in 1981 to play Miss Maple in two episodes, “Will the Real Aunty Sally...?” and “Worzel's Birthday.”
Thomas guested as Mrs. Field, a good wife, in an episode of the BBC situation comedy “The Black Adder” in 1983, and essayed the role of Maureen Burt in the TV miniseries “Shroud for a Nightingale,” based on a 1971 detective novel written by PD James in her “Adam Dalgliesh” series, in 1984. The following year, she portrayed Glenda in the made for television film “Uncle of the Bride,” helmed by Alan J.W. Bell and penned by Roy Clarke, and made a guest appearance in the BBC comedy series “Happy Family.”
Thomas' huge breakthrough arrived when she joined the cast of the 1973 British sitcom “Last of the Summer Wine” in the role of Glenda, Seymour (played by Michael Aldridge)'s niece, in 1986. She would remain on the show to the end of its 30th series, which aired from April 19, 2009 to June 21, 2009.
While working on the show, Thomas sporadically took side projects. In 1995, she played Crab Hunter in the comedy film “Madagascar Skin,” written and directed by Chris Newby and starring Bernard Hill and John Hannah, and supported Ben Kingsley and Frank Langella in the television film “Moses.” She then appeared as Doris in a 1996 episode of “Heartbeat” and Lorraine Stuart in a 1997 episode of “The Bill.”
In December 2007, Thomas returned to the stage to play the Fairy Godmother in “Cinderella” at he Assembly Hall Theatre. The cast included British TV actor Tom Vaughan and TV presenter Barney Harwood. She recreated the role of Fairy Godmother at the Grand Theatre in Swansea, for their local Pantomime, during 2008/2009. There she worked with Su Pollard and Chris Jarvis. From December 2009 to January 2010, she appeared in the pantomime “Jack and the Beanstalk” at the Malvern Theatre, opposite Mike Fischetti and Colin Baker.