Image of Gretchen Franklin

Gretchen Franklin

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.

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Jul 7, 1911 In Covent Garden, London, England, UK
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie Trottie True 1949-09-29
Latest Project:
Series Keeping Up Appearances 1990-10-29
Known For
Poster of EastEnders
Poster of Blackadder
Poster of Bowler
Poster of Help!
Series Keeping Up Appearances Unknown 1990-10-29
Series EastEnders Ethel Skinner 1985-02-19
Movie Return to Waterloo Woman on Train 1984-11-01
Series Blackadder Cordelia 1983-06-15
Series Dead Ernest Unknown 1982-02-15
Movie Ragtime Elderly Woman 1981-11-20
Series Danger UXB Mrs. Flack 1979-01-08
Series Quatermass Edna 1979-10-24
Series Hazell Unknown 1978-01-16
Series Nicholas Nickleby Unknown 1977-03-27
Series The Sweeney Florence, the Charlady 1975-01-02
Series I Didn't Know You Cared Auntie Lil 1975-08-27
Series Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em Unknown 1973-02-15
Series Bowler 1973-07-29
Series Black and Blue Unknown 1973-08-14
Movie The Three Musketeers D’Artagnan’s Mother 1973-12-11
Series The Protectors Nelly Baxter 1972-09-29
Movie The Night Visitor Mrs. Hansen 1971-02-10
Series Budgie Unknown 1971-04-09
Series Castle Haven 1969-03-31
Movie Subterfuge Bus Conductress 1968-12-12
Movie Twisted Nerve Clarkie 1968-12-20
Movie How I Won the War 2nd Old Lady 1967-10-18
Series Gideon's Way Unknown 1965-03-18
Movie Help! Nieghbour (uncredited) 1965-07-29
Series A Slight Case Of... Unknown 1965-09-08
Series Z-Cars Unknown 1962-01-02
Series The Scales of Justice Rose Jenkins 1962-01-11
Movie Ticket to Paradise Mrs. Higginbottom 1961-01-01
Movie Flame in the Streets Mrs. Bingham 1961-06-19
Series The Artful Dodger 1959-09-28
Movie The Secret Place Mother (uncredited) 1957-02-06
Movie High Terrace Mrs. Webb 1956-10-01
Series Dixon of Dock Green Unknown 1955-07-09
Movie Shadow of Fear Elsie 1954-01-01
Movie Trottie True Martha (uncredited) 1949-09-29