Where the cast of To The Manor Born are now – from tragic deaths to divorce woes and movie stardom

TO The Manor Born was the iconic BBC sitcom that starred an array of hugely talented stars including Penelope Keith, Peter Bowles and Angela Thorne.

The programme was very popular with viewers and received extremely high audience ratings for several of it's episodes.

The 70s sitcom, which was largely filmed in Somerset, was one of most-watched British TV programmes of its era, especially the series one final episode.

It followed the life of Audrey fforbes-Hamilton plays an upper-class woman who, upon the death of her husband, has to move out of her beloved manor house to the estate's old lodge.

She manages, however, to keep her butler, and her much loved Rolls-Royce motorcar.

The manor is then bought by Richard DeVere (played by Peter Bowles), a nouveau riche millionaire supermarket owner originally from Czechoslovakia.

DeVere and fforbes-Hamilton have a love-hate relationship which is eventually resolved in the final episode in 1981, in which they marry. In the 2007 special, they celebrate their 25th wedding anniversary.

We take a look at where the iconic cast are now are now.

Penelope Keith

Penelope shot to fame in 1975 when she landed the role of Margo Leadbetter on The Good Life, where she won the Bafta for Best Comedy Performer.

After The Good Life she switched to another hit comedy, To The Manor Born, and from 1979–81, she played the lead role of Audrey fforbes-Hamilton.

Following To The Manor Born, Penelope appeared in six other sitcoms as the main lead.

These include Sweet Sixteen, Moving, Executive Stress, No Job for a Lady, Law and Disorder and Next of Kin.

She began her acting career in the 60s on the stage before switching to TV in the 70s, where she became a household name.

Penelope went onto front Channel 4's Village of The year and Coastal Villages shows.

She was also the main narrator for Morecambe and Wise in Pieces: The Sketches.

She then landed the starring role in a TV adaptation of Agatha Christie's play Spider's Web, and she won her second BAFTA award as Best Actress in 1978 for her stellar appearance in The Norman Conquests.

The 81-year-old actress still appears in stage production, in 2018 she featured in Mrs St Maugham in the Chichester Festival Theatre.

In 1978, the year The Good Life ended, Penelope married policeman Rodney Timson and they live in Surrey with their two adoptive children.

Peter Bowles

After playing his first comedy role on TV in an episode of Rising Damp, Peter was often seen as a comedy actor and parts in comedy series such as To the Manor Born, where he played the role as Richard DeVere.

Since leaving the hit show he appeared in other sitcomes including Only When I Laugh, The Bounder and Executive Stress.

He notably turned down the role of Jerry in The Good Life to concentrate on more serious roles.

The high popularity of To the Manor Born, changed his life. Peter devised a drama series called Lytton's Diary, which he sold to ITV.

The star reached movie stardom when he appeared in Live Now, Pay Later, The Informers, Three Hats for Lisa, and Eyewitness.

He returned to the small screen in 2016,when he played the recurring role of the Duke of Wellington in the award-winning ITV series Victoria.

Peter won ITV Personality of the Year in 1983 and the Golden Gate Award in 1993.

The English actor married his wife Susan Bennett in 1961, and the pair share three children together.

Angela Thorne

The 82-year-old actress was best known for her roles in To the Manor Born, as Audrey fforbes-Hamilton's best friend Marjory Frobisher.

She appeared in the BBC programme Who Do You Think You Are? featuring son Rupert in 2010.

It was revealed that Angela's father William had served with the Indian Medical Corps at the Battle of Monte Cassino and that his preceding ancestors had a long-standing connection with the Indian Army.

She  reprised her role as Marjory for both the 10-episode radio series in 1997 and the one-off 2007 Christmas Special on television.

She played the part of Margaret Thatcher to critical acclaim in the satirical, comic farce Anyone for Denis?, adapted for television in 1982.

And later appeared in sitcom, Three Up, Two Down and ITV sitcom Farrington of the F.O. written by Dick Sharples.

In the late 80s she emerged as a voice artist working on The BFG, the film adaptation of Roald Dahl's book.

She has continued to appear in dramas like Midsomer Murders and Foyle's War.

Angela married husband Peter Penry-Jones in 1967 and welcomed two sons together.who was a successful TV star from Cardiff.

Peter sadly passed away after a long battle with bowel cancer in 2009.

Gerald Sim

The English television and film actor who is perhaps best known for having played the Rector in To the Manor Born.

The Liverpool born star, who later moved to Lancashire, made over a hundred film and television appearances in his lifetime.

He featured in films like The L-Shaped Room, A Bridge Too Far, The New Avengers and Edward & Mrs. Simpson.

Gerald was the younger brother of the actress Sheila Sim and brother-in-law of the actor Richard Attenborough.

He was married to the British actress Deidre Benner, from 1967 until her death in 1999.

In his later years, he lived in Denville Hall, the same north London care home for entertainers as his sister and brother-in-law, who occupied the rooms on either side of him.

The iconic star sadly passed away in 2014 at the age of 89.

John Rudling

John was a qualified draughtsman before making his mark as a character actor.

He was perhaps best known for playing the butler Brabinger in the popular BBC sitcom.

He appeared on television in a number of TV programmes such as The Invisible Man in 1959, Wodehouse Playhouse, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin and The Two Ronnies.

He also played a prison officer called Mr. Birchwood in Porridge in an episode entitled Just Desserts.

One of his final TV appearances was in 1982 in Ronnie Crobett's sitcom Sorry!

While appearing on To the Manor Born, John suffered a heart attack and was absent for several shows.

He sadly died 1983, two years after the show came to an end, from respiratory complications.

Daphne Heard

The English actress and drama teacher shot to fame as Richard's elderly mother Mrs Polouvicka in the BBC sitcom.

Her film includes roles in Goodbye Gemini, Jude the Obscure and The Triple Echo.

She also appeared as the nanny in Laurence Olivier's film Three Sisters based on Chekhov's play, opposite Joan Plowright, Alan Bates and Olivier himself as Chebutikin.

Daphne passed away in 1983 at the age of 78.


Michael Bilton

Michael was best known for his roles for playing gardener and sometimes butler as Ned in To The Manor Born.

His comedic skills landed him roles in other sitcoms including Keeping Up Appearances, One Foot in the Grave and Grace and Favour.

He appeared in a well-remembered Yellow Pages television commercial as an elderly gardener receiving a sit-on lawnmower from a couple with a large rear garden.

His final role was that of Basil Makepeace in the BBC Sitcom Waiting for God in 1990 at age 71.

Basil, grew in importance throughout the first four series eventually becoming the main supporting character.

His final appearance was in the last episode of Series 4. He died shortly after completing filming in 1993.

Bilton was married and divorced twice, first to Sally West from 1944 and later to actress Valerie Newbold, from 1953 until 1967.

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