Margaretta Scott: ‘Things to Come’ & ‘All Creatures Great and Small’ actress remembered
Margaretta Scott, best remembered for playing the eccentric widow Mrs. Pumphrey in the BBC television series All Creatures Great and Small, died last April 15. Scott was 93. She was the widow of composer John Wooldridge, who, in 1958, died at the age of 39 in a car accident.
The London-born (on Feb. 13, 1912) Margaretta Scott had what The Guardian‘s Michael Coveney described as a “distinguished career [that] spanned 70 years of theatre and film.” Coveney adds that “as the last surviving signatory of the document that established Equity, the British actors’ union, in 1934, she was highly regarded in her profession.”
Onstage, Margaretta Scott worked with the likes of Tyrone Guthrie and Alec Guinness at the Old Vic; George Bernard Shaw at the 1934 premiere of Androcles and the Lion; and Peter O’Toole at the Bristol Old Vic, with Scott as Gertrude playing opposite O’Toole’s Hamlet.
Additionally, Scott was reportedly the first woman to perform in a televised Shakespeare play. As per The Guardian, her first TV Shakespeare was, as Portia, in a 1947 production of The Merchant of Venice. The IMDb, however, lists Scott as Beatrice in a stage production of Much Ado About Nothing broadcast by the BBC ten years earlier.
Margaretta Scott movies
On film, Margaretta Scott had a key role (as dual characters Roxana / Rowena) in Alexander Korda’s film adaptation of H.G. Wells’ Things to Come (1936), directed by future Gone with the Wind production designer William Cameron Menzies, and starring Raymond Massey. Scott could also be seen in Carol Reed’s Girl in the News (1941), starring Margaret Lockwood; Anthony Asquith’s comedy Quiet Wedding (1940), also with Lockwood; and Asquith’s popular melodrama Fanny by Gaslight (1944), starring Phyllis Calvert and James Mason.
Scott’s last feature film role was as Antonia Ellis’ mother in Ralph Thomas 1971 comedy Percy.
Margaretta Scott TV work
Besides All Creatures Great and Small, Margaretta Scott’s television work includes dozens of series and specials, among them Richard the Lionheart, The Duchess of Duke Street, and the TV movie The Woman He Loved (1988). Her last appearance in front of the camera was in another TV movie, the Roy Battersby-directed The Moth (1997).
Things to Come Margaretta Scott, Raymond Massey image: London Film Productions.