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Farewell to frumps - Liz Hodgkinson

Features | By Liz Hodgkinson

Queen of frumps: Irene Handl (1901-87)

Where have all the dowdy charladies and Miss Marples gone? Liz Hodgkinson remembers a lost breed

Where have all the frumps gone? In the 1950s and ’60s, they were everywhere, as we were reminded by seeing Judi Dench and Helen Mirren frumped up – or down – in two recent films, Belfast and The Duke. The films, based on true stories, are set in the past – Belfast in 1969 and The Duke in 1961 – when frumps reigned supreme. The retro TV series Call the Midwife has a statutory frump in Miss Higgins, the austere, no-nonsense and terminally dowdy doctor’s receptionist and busybody, brilliantly played by Georgie Glen....


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