All Creatures Great and Smalls Mrs Pumphrey star Patricia Hodges life – with famous son

With another series of popular veterinary drama All Creatures Great and Small once again airing on our screens, more and more of us have been tuning into the show to see the tongue-in-cheek retelling of James Herriot’s exploits as a Yorkshire vet.

Taking inspiration from the books, which were written by Alf Wright, a vet himself, a highly skilled cast of famous faces have been bringing the stories to life on screen and allowing a new generation to experience the fast paced (and often chaotic) life as a vet in demand.

Among the cast, one standout face who may be familiar to fans is veteran actress Patricia Hodge, who takes on the role of Mrs Pumphrey in the Channel 5 reboot of the 1970s series.

In the show, Patricia plays the affluent widow and regular client of Farnon’s veterinary practice – something which means she often comes into contact with the show’s lead character, James (played by Nicholas Ralph).

The highly strung character famously lives in a mansion with her Pekingese dog, Tricki Woo, and regularly spoils the pint sized pooch rotten with luxuries like Egyptian cotton sheets and beef Wellington for dinner.

But while the eccentricity of Mrs.Pumphrey may baffle fans on screen, it’s safe to say actress Patricia’s life is a little less chaotic.

Here’s everything we know about her life away from the show…

Early life

Born one year after the cessation of World War 2, Patricia Hodge first started her life in Cleethorpes, Lincolnshire on the 29 September 1946.

The daughter of Eric and his wife Marion (née Phillips), the manager and manageress of the Royal Hotel in Grimsby, Patricia lived a relatively uneventful childhood that allowed her to focus wholly on her studies.

She attended the Wintringham Girls Grammar School in Grimsby, before moving to the private St.Helen’s School in Middlesborough.

Following her compulsory education, Patricia decided to pursue a career as a teacher at Maria Grey College in Twickenham, before taking up a post teaching English and Drama to primary school children at Russell County Primary in Chorleywood, Hertfordshire.

Despite having a clear flair for teaching, Patricia also had a keen interest in performing and later swapped her career as a teacher for a career in the arts after winning a place at the London Academy of Music and Drama (LAMDA).

Upon graduation from the school, staff were so impressed with her acting skills that she was awarded the Eveline Evans Award for Best Actress on graduation.

Acting career

After graduating from LAMDA, Patricia first kicked off her professional career with a stage debut in Howard Barker’s No-One Was Saved, which she performed at Edinburgh’s Traverse Theatre in 1971.

The following year, she went on to make her West End debut in 1972’s Rookery Nook, before working alongside Bob Fosse in the 1973 run of Pippin.

Despite starting on stage, Patricia found it a struggle to transition into television work as many casting directors closed her as a ‘theatre actress’ and nothing more – however someone was willing to take a chance on the star and offered her a part playing Phyllida Erskine-Brown in Rumple of the Bailey from 1978 to 1992.

Strangely, after her long running TV stint, the reverse was true when she once again wanted to take on stage roles, as this time, casting directors classed her as a ‘television actress’ rather than a skilled stage performer.

Thankfully over time, Patricia was able to juggle both sides of performance and took on a number of stage and screen roles, including in the BBC TV drama Maxwell opposite David Suchet, and alongside Dame Judi Dench in a 1995 stage revival of Stephen Sondheim’s A Little Night Music.

In more recent years however, she is best known for playing Miranda Hart’s mother, in the BBC comedy series Miranda, and for taking on the role of Ursula, the mother of Liberal MP and party leader Jeremy Thorpe (played by Hugh Grant) in the 2018 drama, A Very English Scandal.

Since 2021, she has played the role of Mrs. Pumphrey in All Creatures Great and Small, having taken over the role from the late Diana Rigg following her death in 2020.

Personal life

Away from her glittering acting career, Patricia was a loving wife to her husband music publisher Peter Douglas Owen, with the couple famously tying the knot all the way back in July 1976.

Together they went on to have two sons together, Alexander and Edward, and enjoyed a kind and happy marriage up until Peter sadly passed away in 2016 after a three year battle with dementia.

Speaking to the Guardian two years after his death, Patricia told the publication: “I wish I could say sorry to my husband, because I couldn’t save him from his dementia.”

Peter had been diagnosed in 2013, but suffered a rapid decline in his condition, which required him to sadly be moved to a care home.

Famous son

Patricia and Peter’s eldest son, Alexander Owen appears to have developed both his parents love of the limelight, as he has carved quite the career for himself in the UK comedy circuit.

Working as one half of the comedy duo The Pin, alongside Ben Ashenden, the talented duo have wracked up a wealth of awards over the years, including the 2016 Best Comedy BBC Radio Award and Best New Act at Sketchiest 2013.

The duo have also been responsible for writing for several comedy shows over the years too, including Walliams and Friend, and BBC3 comedy series Famalam.

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