Biography

Born in Covent Garden, West London in 1911, Gretchen Franklin was an English actress and dancer whose showbusiness career spanned over 70 years. She was best known for her role as Ethel Skinner in the long-running BBC 1 soap opera EastEnders. She appeared in the very first episode in 1985 and was a regular in the series until 1988. After this she returned to the show intermittently until 2000 when her character was killed off, allowing Franklin to retire from acting at the age of 89. Born into a theatrical family (her father had a song and dance act, her grandfather was a famous music hall entertainer at the turn of the century and her cousin was Dad's Army star Clive Dunn) Gretchen Franklin made her theatre debut as a teenage chorus girl. She toured with comedians such as Gracie Fields before making the switch to serious acting. Her film appearances included Cloak Without Dagger (1956), Flame in the Streets (1961), The Murder Game (1965), Help! (1965), How I Won The War (1967), Twisted Nerve (1968), The Night Visitor (1971), The Three Musketeers (1973), Quincy's Quest (1979), and Ragtime (1981), among others. She is namechecked in The Fall's 1990 song Telephone Thing.

Born in Covent Garden, West London in 1911, Gretchen Franklin was an English actress and dancer whose showbusiness career spanned over 70 years. She was best known for her role as Ethel Skinner in the long-running BBC 1 soap opera EastEnders. She appeared in the very first episode in 1985 and was a regular in the series until 1988. After this she returned to the show intermittently until 2000 when her character was killed off, allowing Franklin to retire from acting at the age of 89. Born into a theatrical family (her father had a song and dance act, her grandfather was a famous music hall entertainer at the turn of the century and her cousin was Dad's Army star Clive Dunn) Gretchen Franklin made her theatre debut as a teenage chorus girl. She toured with comedians such as Gracie Fields before making the switch to serious acting. Her film appearances included Cloak Without Dagger (1956), Flame in the Streets (1961), The Murder Game (1965), Help! (1965), How I Won The War (1967), Twisted Nerve (1968), The Night Visitor (1971), The Three Musketeers (1973), Quincy's Quest (1979), and Ragtime (1981), among others. She is namechecked in The Fall's 1990 song Telephone Thing.

Personal Info

Known For Acting

Gender Female

Known Credits 29

Birthday 1911-07-07

Day of Death 2005-07-11

Place of Birth Covent Garden, London, England, UK

Official Site -

Also Known As

  • -

Acting TV ShowsMovies

1990 Keeping Up Appearances (1 episode)
1985 EastEnders (345 episodes) as Ethel Skinner (4314 episodes)
1984 Return to Waterloo as Woman on Train
1983 Blackadder (1 episode) as Cordelia
1982 Dead Ernest (7 episodes)
1978 Hazell (1 episode)
1977 Nicholas Nickleby (1 episode)
1975 I Didn't Know You Cared (7 episodes) as Auntie Lil
1973 The Three Musketeers as D’Artagnan’s Mother
1973 Black and Blue (1 episode)
1973 Bowler (13 episodes)
1973 Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em (1 episode)
1972 The Protectors (1 episode)
1971 Budgie (1 episode)
1971 The Night Visitor as Mrs. Hansen
1969 Castle Haven (100 episodes)
1968 Subterfuge as Bus Conductress
1968 Twisted Nerve as Clarkie
1967 How I Won the War as 2nd Old Lady
1965 A Slight Case Of... (1 episode)
1965 Help! as Nieghbour (uncredited)
1965 Gideon's Way (1 episode)
1962 Z-Cars (1 episode)
1961 Flame in the Streets as Mrs. Bingham
1961 Ticket to Paradise as Mrs. Higginbottom
1959 The Artful Dodger (6 episodes)
1956 High Terrace as Mrs. Webb
1955 Dixon of Dock Green (1 episode)
1954 Shadow of Fear as Elsie

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