Judy Catherine Claire Parfitt, born in Sheffield in 1935 to Lawrence and Catherine Parfitt, and attended Notre Dame High School for Girls.
She later trained at the Royal Academy for Dramatic Arts (RADA, darling), graduating in 1953. She made her stage debut the following year with ‘Fools Rush In’ and since then it has been one long flood of theatre, film and television appearances on both sides of the Atlantic.
‘Of regal bearing and imposing stance,’ she hit TV heights with ‘Pride and Prejudice’ (1980), ‘The Jewel in the Crown’ (1984) and (he says tongue-in-cheek) that stuck-fast classic of ITV3 scheduling, ‘Murder She Wrote’ (1989).
Known to a new generation as Sister Monica Joan, an elderly nun, in the BBC’s ‘Call the Midwife’ since 2012.
In her own words, she is an “old tart gainfully employed.”