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[[File:Heather Chasen.jpg|thumb]]
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'''''Heather Josephine Chasen''''' (20 July 1927 - 22 May 2020), Singapore, was an English actress. She played most of the women in the long-running BBC Radio sitcom "[[The Navy Lark (Series)|The Navy Lark]]" (mostly as [[WREN Chasen|Wren Chasen]], [[Ramona Povey]] or [[Miss Simpkins|Wren Simpkins]]).<ref>IMDB Entry [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0153862 nm0153862]</ref><ref>[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heather_Chasen Wikipedia article]</ref>
 
'''''Heather Josephine Chasen''''' (20 July 1927 - 22 May 2020), Singapore, was an English actress. She played most of the women in the long-running BBC Radio sitcom "[[The Navy Lark (Series)|The Navy Lark]]" (mostly as [[WREN Chasen|Wren Chasen]], [[Ramona Povey]] or [[Miss Simpkins|Wren Simpkins]]).<ref>IMDB Entry [http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0153862 nm0153862]</ref><ref>[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heather_Chasen Wikipedia article]</ref>
   
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Chasen was known for her roles in soap operas; playing Valerie Pollard in the ITV soap opera Crossroads from 1982–86<ref name=''Kings Oak to Walford''/>Watkins, Mike (21 April 2011). "Heather Chasen from Kings Oak to Walford". Retrieved 15 May 2011.</ref> and guest roles in Doctors, Holby City and Family Affairs. Chasen also played many roles in BBC Radio 2's The Navy Lark from 1959–77, and appeared in the television series Marked Personal from 1973–74. She played Lydia Simmonds in the BBC soap opera EastEnders, a role which received positive reviews from critics, EastEnders cast members and crew. Furthermore, she appeared extensively in theatre productions and film; in 2012, she appeared in a film version of Les Misérables.
=References=
 
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==Early and personal life==
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Chasen was born on 20 July 1927, in Singapore.<ref name=''NL Cast''>"Cast". The Navy Lark Collection (Booklet). The Navy Lark. BBC Audiobooks Ltd.</ref> Chasen's father, F.N. Chasen was an English ornithologist, who fought in World War I under the Norfolk Yeomanry as a trooper. In 1921, he left England, to work at the Raffles Library and Museum in Singapore, marrying Chasen's mother, Agnes H McCullock, in 1926. After Chasen's birth, her parents had another daughter, Christine Elizabeth, on 4 May 1931. Her parents split up in 1938, and both remarried.<ref name=''F N Chasen''>Michael, Nicholas (13 May 2011). ""Frederick Nutter "Mickey" Chasen". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 26 March 2015.</ref> Before the Japanese occupation, which led to the Battle of Singapore during World War II, Chasen and her mother left Singapore on the last boat before the occupation.<ref name=''NL Cast''/> Her father, on a separate ship, HMS Giang Bee, perished however, when it was sunk by the Japanese on 12 February 1942, and Chasen's new stepfather, G.C.R Franks, too perished fighting, a month later, on the 22 March.<ref name=''F N Chasen''/> Chasen and her mother moved to the UK and Chasen trained at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where she then acted on stage and went on a tour with Frankie Howerd in Hotel Paradiso. She also appeared with Sybil Thorndike in Call Me Jacky, as well as going on tour with Douglas Fairbanks Jr. in The Pleasure of his Company, in Toronto.<ref name=''My Three Angels''>"My Three Angels". The Mill At Sonning (Theatre) Ltd. Reading, Berkshire: The Mill At Sonning (Theatre) Ltd. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 22 June 2011.</ref><ref name=''Doug Fairbank Jr Obit''>"Film Obituaries-Douglas Fairbanks Jr". The Daily Telegraph. 8 May 2000. Retrieved 25 June 2011.</ref> Chasen is good friends with, and previously had a relationship with, Amanda Barrie.<ref name=''Sunday Mirror 1 Dec 2002''>Morris, Sally (1 December 2002). "Street star Amanda on coming out". Sunday Mirror. Trinity Mirror. Retrieved 2 June 2011.</ref> In Call Me Jacky, she played an alcoholic lesbian, and later claimed to have based her characterisation partly on the novelist and playwright Patricia Highsmith, whom she knew well.<ref name=''Talented Miss Highsmith''>Joan Schenkar (18 January 2010). The Talented Miss Highsmith: The Secret Life and Serious Art of Patricia Highsmith. St. Martin's Press. pp. 664–. ISBN 978-1-4299-6101-1.</ref>
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In 1949 she married John Webster, and they had one son, Rupert, who appears with his mother in a 2013 short documentary, A Stage of Development.<ref name=''Stage of development''>"A Stage of Development". Youtube. Retrieved 23 August 2017.</ref>
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==Career==
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===Crossroads and EastEnders===
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“ :-I did an episode where I played this journalist which they must have quite liked because they got back to me about a month later. [They asked me] 'Would you come back and join the cast and change the colour of your hair?' Well, I said okay and so I changed my [hair] colour from red to blonde and I looked exactly the same! I didn't look any different at all. And so then I came back as this naughty lady, Valerie Pollard. The most fun I had was when I was helping out behind the bar which is a very good place to be if you're in a soap because you're in every scene. I was very happy, it was a fun time, I enjoyed it. At the beginning, not at the very end. When I first joined it, for the first few months I was in it was great fun but after Jack (the producer) went it became less good and less fun and I didn't enjoy it so much". :-”
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— Chasen describing her time on Crossroads, from 1982 to 1986<ref name=''Kings Oak to Walford''/>
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In 2011, Chasen was cast as Lydia Simmonds, Janine Butcher (Charlie Brooks)'s maternal grandmother and Norman Simmonds' (George Layton) mother,<ref name=''Digispy 12 June 2011''>Kilkelly, Daniel (12 June 2011). "'EastEnders' casts Lydia's estranged son". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved 12 June 2011.</ref> in the BBC soap opera EastEnders, after the original actress Margaret Tyzack had to pull out of the role due to personal reasons.<ref name=''Digispy 12 April 2011''>Kilkelly, Daniel (12 April 2011). "'EastEnders' recasts Janine's grandmother". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved 15 May 2011.</ref> Two episodes featuring Tyzack had already been broadcast,<ref name=''EastEnders ep 20110405''>Director: Jamie Annett; Executive Producer: Bryan Kirkwood; Writer: Pete Lawson (5 April 2011). "Episode dated 05/04/2011". EastEnders. BBC. BBC One. Retrieved 25 June 2011.</ref><ref name=''EastEnders ep 20110407''>Director: Jamie Annett; Executive Producer: Bryan Kirkwood; Writer: Pete Lawson (9 April 2011). "Episode dated 07/04/2011". EastEnders. BBC. BBC One. Retrieved 25 June 2011.</ref> and she featured in a further one on 14 April.<ref name=''EastEnders ep 20110414''>Director: Karl Neilson; Executive Producer: Bryan Kirkwood; Writer: Simon Ashdown (14 April 2011). "Episode dated 14/04/2011". EastEnders. BBC. BBC One. Retrieved 25 June 2011.</ref> The producers wanted to keep Lydia in the show as they had plans for her,<ref name=''Sun 13 April 2011''>"Enders' granny has ended it". The Sun. News Group Newspapers. 13 April 2011. Retrieved 25 June 2011.</ref> so Chasen was cast and she replaced Tyzack in the role, beginning filming on 15 April <ref name=''Digispy 12 April 2011''/> for scenes broadcast from 21 April.<ref name=''EastEnders ep 20110421''>Director: John Greening; Executive Producer: Bryan Kirkwood; Writer: Christopher Reason (21 April 2011). "Episode dated 21/04/2011". EastEnders. BBC. BBC One. Retrieved 25 June 2011.</ref> EastEnders' executive producer, Bryan Kirkwood, added: "In order to continue the current storyline we've taken the decision for Heather Chasen to take over the role of Lydia."<ref name=''HC Joins Eastenders''>"Heather Chasen takes on EastEnders' role". BBC. BBC Online. 13 April 2011. Retrieved 15 May 2011.</ref> The character died on-screen and Chasen made her last appearance on 13 June 2011,<ref name=''Digispy Janine distraught''>Kilkelly, Daniel (June 2011). "Janine is distraught as Lydia passes away". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved 7 June 2011.</ref> and, though not credited for it, did a voice-over for the 14 and 28 June episodes.<ref name=''Digispy Janine suspicions''>Kilkelly, Daniel (June 2011). "Lydia's death sparks suspicions over Janine". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved 22 June 2011.</ref> Kirkwood later said "Lydia's storyline was perfect" and that Chasen had made the part her own after Tyzack's departure.<ref name=''Digispy 18 Jul 2011''>Kilkelly, Daniel (18 July 2011). "Exclusive: Bryan Kirkwood - 'EastEnders' executive producer". Digital Spy. Hachette Filipacchi UK. Retrieved 19 July 2011.</ref> Brooks said of the storyline as a whole, "I absolutely loved exploring Janine's background. I was really proud with the scenes with Heather Chasen [Lydia]. It was really hard work, but worth it."<ref name=''Inside Soap Jul Aug 2011''>"The Big Interview. "I dont want Janine to kill Pat!"". Inside Soap. Hachette Filipacchi UK (30): 32. 30 July – 5 August 2011.</ref>
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===Other work===
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Chasen appeared in other television programmes such as The Bill and The Harry Hill Show.<ref name=''My Three Angels''/> She has had guest roles in Z-Cars and Dixon of Dock Green<ref name=”EastEnders recast”>"EastEnders recasts Janine's gran". What's on TV. IPC Media. 13 April 2011. Archived from the original on 2 September 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2011.</ref> and has voiced a number of characters in the radio show The Navy Lark, most notably WREN Heather Chasen and "battle axe" Ramona Povey.<ref name=''TO Look back''>"Time out:Looking back". Daily Post. Liverpool: MGN Ltd. 30 April 2008. Retrieved 2 June 2011.</ref> In soaps, she has had four separate stints in the BBC soap opera Doctors, with her most recent stint in 2014,<ref name=''Doctors – Flipping Cats''>Director: Natasha Carlish; Executive Producer: Mike Hobson and Peter Eryl Lloyd; Writer:Toby Walton (23 February 2012). "Flipping Cats". Doctors. BBC. BBC One. Retrieved 3 March 2012.</ref> reprising her role as Grace Barberry from 2012,<ref name=''Doctors – Grey Matters''>Director: Christiana Ebohon; Executive Producer: Mike Hobson and Peter Eryl Lloyd; Writer:Toby Walton (20 August 2014). "Grey Matters". Doctors. BBC. BBC One. Retrieved 30 December 2014.</ref> played Sylvie Leigh in Holby City and played Madge Bennet in the Channel 5 soap opera, Family Affairs, for five episodes. More earlier credits include, playing "rich bitches" Caroline Kerr, in The Newcomers and Isabel Neal in Marked Personal, alongside Stephanie Beacham. She also played the "evil" headmistress in Schoolgirls in Uniform at the Battersea Arts Centre.<ref name=''My Three Angels''/> In stage and theatre, Chasen appeared in The Rat Trap. Michael Billington from The Guardian described Chasen's character, Burrage the maid, as "trundling", rating the play three stars.<ref name=''Rast Trap'>Billington, Michael (1 December 2006). "The Rat Trap". The Guardian. Guardian News and Media. Retrieved 2 June 2011.</ref> Other than this, she has appeared in Pardon Ma Prime Minister alongside Gerald Flood and Paul Curran, written by Edward Taylor and John Graham who created the BBC radio series The Men from the Ministry.<ref name=''AWAATP'>"A wink at a taxing problem". Birmingham Mail. (Free Library). 3 May 2008. Retrieved 2 June 2011.</ref> The Birmingham Mail described the play as "hilarious" and "promising".<ref name=''AWAATP'/> One of Chasen's more recent plays was My Three Angels in which she played Madame Parole,<ref name=''My Three Angels''/> other plays include, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Who Bombed Birmingham playing Margaret Thatcher,<ref name=''Seasons of Mist''>Balavage, Catherine (20 April 2011). "Seasons Of Mist; UK Premiere Held At Odeon Covent Garden". Frost Magazine. Retrieved 25 June 2011.</ref> and The Lizard of Rock, in which she played the main role,<ref name=''My Three Angels''/> appearing alongside actor Jack Hawkins.<ref name=''TO Look back''/> Chasen opined that she had a "lovely time" playing Miss Marple in A Murder is Announced alongside Richard Todd and Barbara Murray.<ref name=''My Three Angels''/> In 2009, Chasen appeared in the award-winning Anglo-Russian feature film Season of Mists, playing Jane. Chasen appeared alongside Marina Blake, Sergei Chonishvili, Ifan Huw Dafydd and ex-EastEnders actor Dudley Sutton. Other films Chasen has appeared in include, The Kiss of Tosca in 2000, The Toybox in 2003 and Cat Run, a 2011 film.<ref name=''Seasons of Mist''/><ref name=''HC RT''>"Heather Chasen". Rotten Tomatoes. Flixster. Retrieved 25 June 2011.</ref>
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==Awards and nominations==
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Chasen was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical, while she appeared in the New York adaptation of A Severed Head between 1963-65.<ref name=''My Three Angels''/> She appeared the cast of the Seasons of Mists which won a number of awards internationally.<ref name=''Seasons of Mist''/>
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==Sources==
 
==Sources==
 
<references/>
 
<references/>

Revision as of 16:36, 23 April 2021

Heather Chasen.jpg

Heather Josephine Chasen (20 July 1927 - 22 May 2020), Singapore, was an English actress. She played most of the women in the long-running BBC Radio sitcom "The Navy Lark" (mostly as Wren Chasen, Ramona Povey or Wren Simpkins).[1][2]

Chasen was known for her roles in soap operas; playing Valerie Pollard in the ITV soap opera Crossroads from 1982–86Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too manyWatkins, Mike (21 April 2011). "Heather Chasen from Kings Oak to Walford". Retrieved 15 May 2011.</ref> and guest roles in Doctors, Holby City and Family Affairs. Chasen also played many roles in BBC Radio 2's The Navy Lark from 1959–77, and appeared in the television series Marked Personal from 1973–74. She played Lydia Simmonds in the BBC soap opera EastEnders, a role which received positive reviews from critics, EastEnders cast members and crew. Furthermore, she appeared extensively in theatre productions and film; in 2012, she appeared in a film version of Les Misérables.

Early and personal life

Chasen was born on 20 July 1927, in Singapore.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many Chasen's father, F.N. Chasen was an English ornithologist, who fought in World War I under the Norfolk Yeomanry as a trooper. In 1921, he left England, to work at the Raffles Library and Museum in Singapore, marrying Chasen's mother, Agnes H McCullock, in 1926. After Chasen's birth, her parents had another daughter, Christine Elizabeth, on 4 May 1931. Her parents split up in 1938, and both remarried.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many Before the Japanese occupation, which led to the Battle of Singapore during World War II, Chasen and her mother left Singapore on the last boat before the occupation.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many Her father, on a separate ship, HMS Giang Bee, perished however, when it was sunk by the Japanese on 12 February 1942, and Chasen's new stepfather, G.C.R Franks, too perished fighting, a month later, on the 22 March.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many Chasen and her mother moved to the UK and Chasen trained at Royal Academy of Dramatic Art, where she then acted on stage and went on a tour with Frankie Howerd in Hotel Paradiso. She also appeared with Sybil Thorndike in Call Me Jacky, as well as going on tour with Douglas Fairbanks Jr. in The Pleasure of his Company, in Toronto.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too manyCite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many Chasen is good friends with, and previously had a relationship with, Amanda Barrie.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many In Call Me Jacky, she played an alcoholic lesbian, and later claimed to have based her characterisation partly on the novelist and playwright Patricia Highsmith, whom she knew well.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many

In 1949 she married John Webster, and they had one son, Rupert, who appears with his mother in a 2013 short documentary, A Stage of Development.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many

Career

Crossroads and EastEnders

“ :-I did an episode where I played this journalist which they must have quite liked because they got back to me about a month later. [They asked me] 'Would you come back and join the cast and change the colour of your hair?' Well, I said okay and so I changed my [hair] colour from red to blonde and I looked exactly the same! I didn't look any different at all. And so then I came back as this naughty lady, Valerie Pollard. The most fun I had was when I was helping out behind the bar which is a very good place to be if you're in a soap because you're in every scene. I was very happy, it was a fun time, I enjoyed it. At the beginning, not at the very end. When I first joined it, for the first few months I was in it was great fun but after Jack (the producer) went it became less good and less fun and I didn't enjoy it so much". :-”

— Chasen describing her time on Crossroads, from 1982 to 1986Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many

In 2011, Chasen was cast as Lydia Simmonds, Janine Butcher (Charlie Brooks)'s maternal grandmother and Norman Simmonds' (George Layton) mother,Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many in the BBC soap opera EastEnders, after the original actress Margaret Tyzack had to pull out of the role due to personal reasons.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many Two episodes featuring Tyzack had already been broadcast,Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too manyCite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many and she featured in a further one on 14 April.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many The producers wanted to keep Lydia in the show as they had plans for her,Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many so Chasen was cast and she replaced Tyzack in the role, beginning filming on 15 April Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many for scenes broadcast from 21 April.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many EastEnders' executive producer, Bryan Kirkwood, added: "In order to continue the current storyline we've taken the decision for Heather Chasen to take over the role of Lydia."Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many The character died on-screen and Chasen made her last appearance on 13 June 2011,Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many and, though not credited for it, did a voice-over for the 14 and 28 June episodes.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many Kirkwood later said "Lydia's storyline was perfect" and that Chasen had made the part her own after Tyzack's departure.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many Brooks said of the storyline as a whole, "I absolutely loved exploring Janine's background. I was really proud with the scenes with Heather Chasen [Lydia]. It was really hard work, but worth it."Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many

Other work

Chasen appeared in other television programmes such as The Bill and The Harry Hill Show.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many She has had guest roles in Z-Cars and Dixon of Dock Green[3] and has voiced a number of characters in the radio show The Navy Lark, most notably WREN Heather Chasen and "battle axe" Ramona Povey.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many In soaps, she has had four separate stints in the BBC soap opera Doctors, with her most recent stint in 2014,Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many reprising her role as Grace Barberry from 2012,Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many played Sylvie Leigh in Holby City and played Madge Bennet in the Channel 5 soap opera, Family Affairs, for five episodes. More earlier credits include, playing "rich bitches" Caroline Kerr, in The Newcomers and Isabel Neal in Marked Personal, alongside Stephanie Beacham. She also played the "evil" headmistress in Schoolgirls in Uniform at the Battersea Arts Centre.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many In stage and theatre, Chasen appeared in The Rat Trap. Michael Billington from The Guardian described Chasen's character, Burrage the maid, as "trundling", rating the play three stars.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many Other than this, she has appeared in Pardon Ma Prime Minister alongside Gerald Flood and Paul Curran, written by Edward Taylor and John Graham who created the BBC radio series The Men from the Ministry.[4] The Birmingham Mail described the play as "hilarious" and "promising".Cite error: The opening <ref> tag is malformed or has a bad name One of Chasen's more recent plays was My Three Angels in which she played Madame Parole,Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many other plays include, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Who Bombed Birmingham playing Margaret Thatcher,Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many and The Lizard of Rock, in which she played the main role,Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many appearing alongside actor Jack Hawkins.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many Chasen opined that she had a "lovely time" playing Miss Marple in A Murder is Announced alongside Richard Todd and Barbara Murray.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many In 2009, Chasen appeared in the award-winning Anglo-Russian feature film Season of Mists, playing Jane. Chasen appeared alongside Marina Blake, Sergei Chonishvili, Ifan Huw Dafydd and ex-EastEnders actor Dudley Sutton. Other films Chasen has appeared in include, The Kiss of Tosca in 2000, The Toybox in 2003 and Cat Run, a 2011 film.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too manyCite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many

Awards and nominations

Chasen was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical, while she appeared in the New York adaptation of A Severed Head between 1963-65.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many She appeared the cast of the Seasons of Mists which won a number of awards internationally.Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; invalid names, e.g. too many

Sources

  1. IMDB Entry nm0153862
  2. Wikipedia article
  3. "EastEnders recasts Janine's gran". What's on TV. IPC Media. 13 April 2011. Archived from the original on 2 September 2012. Retrieved 24 June 2011.
  4. "A wink at a taxing problem". Birmingham Mail. (Free Library). 3 May 2008. Retrieved 2 June 2011.