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June Whitfield OBE, CBE

June Whitfield OBE, CBE
June Whitfield OBE, CBE
© TopFoto.co.uk

Comedy goddess June Whitfield was interviewed by the ICONS Project in December 2006 about her icons of England. Over a career that spans radio, TV and film and covers more than 50 years, June has worked with some of English comedy’s most enduring legends – including Tony Hancock, Morecambe and Wise, Tommy Cooper, Benny Hill, Arthur Askey and Frankie Howard. More recently, she’s proved her comic longevity by playing Edina’s mother in the sitcom Absolutely Fabulous and the housekeeper in Friends.

ICONS PROJECT: What would you choose as your icon of England?

JUNE WHITFIELD: The green and pleasant land we have - the English countryside. I am glad it’s there. I’m a Londoner born and bred, but I love West Sussex in particular. I grew up during the war in Streatham and then I went to Yorkshire. Funnily enough I am back down south of the river again now.


ICONS PROJECT: What about your icon for yesteryear?

JUNE WHITFIELD: I think modern England has lost its spirit of community - that only comes out when you have something like a bomb. It would be nice if people smiled more.  People in the country smile at each other more and it doesn't happen a lot in cities -  maybe it's because there are too many people. High rise buildings got rid of a lot of communities. I want to tell everyone to say 'Good Morning' more. If people could smile more at each other rather than barging past each other, that would be good.

ICONS PROJECT: What do you think makes England special?

JUNE WHITFIELD: I think it has something to do with the people, the people who live here - probably the sense of humour. The English have the ability to laugh at themselves.

ICONS PROJECT: What icons do you miss when you go abroad?

JUNE WHITFIELD: In a funny way it’s the weather because the sun doesn’t like me …it brings me out in blobs.

ICONS PROJECT: Are there any other icons you’d like to mention?

JUNE WHITFIELD: Bangers and mash, St Paul’s, roast beef and two veg and bread and butter pudding.