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Adventures do occur, but not punctually

Peggy Ashcroft was one of the grand dames of the golden age of British theatre, a contemporary of luminaries including Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud, who both played Romeo to her Juliet.

Born in Croydon, her parents were not impressed by her ambition to become an actress, but aged 16, she headed for drama school and trained for a stage and film career that spanned six decades.

She became one of the most celebrated theatre actresses of the 20th century and a major draw at the Old Vic where her interpretation of Shakespearean roles became legendary.

She became a Dame in 1956 and won numerous critical plaudits for two roles she took on in later life; winning an Oscar for her role in David Lean’s film, A Passage to India and praise for TV’s The Jewel in the Crown. The stage was her first love. She only ever made nine films during her entire career including an early performance in Hitchcock’s 1935 thriller The 39 Steps.

Sir John Gielgud, who worked with her many times, described Dame Peggy as having a kind of “shimmering radiance and iridescence” and a forthright, trusting quality

“I know of no other actress with quite that gift,” he said.