16 July 2011 7:45 AM, PDT | The Guardian - TV News | See recent The Guardian - TV News news »

A striking presence on stage and in the great days of British film, she played the prison governor of TV's Within These Walls

Followers of postwar cinema may well recall Googie Withers's striking presence in It Always Rains On Sunday, an unusually intense film for the Ealing Studios of 1947. A bored wife, she gives shelter to an ex-lover, now a murderer on the run, played by John McCallum, soon to be her real-life husband. The lovers were shown as unsympathetically as they might have been in French film noir, and the weather was bad even by British standards.

What Withers, who has died aged 94, brought to that performance was to define her strength in some of her most powerful roles. Too strong a face and too grand a manner prevented her being thought conventionally pretty, but she was imposingly watchable because of an obvious vigour and sexuality. Thus equipped, »

- Dennis Barker

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