Joanna Lumley is a British actor and former photographic and fashion model resident for many years in Stockwell. She was born on 1 May 1946 in Srinigar, India, the daughter of Major James Rutherford Lumley, who served in the 6th Gurkha Rifles, and Beatrice Rose Weir.
Lumley’s acting career started with a part in Some Girls Do (1969) followed by a part as a Bond girl in On Her Majesty’s Secret Service. She also appeared in Coronation Street in which she turned down Ken Barlow’s offer of marriage. Her first major role was as Purdey in The New Avengers. She later starred in Sapphire and Steel (ITV). In the 1990s her career was spectacularly revived with her portrayal of the drunken louche Patsy Stone in Absolutely Fabulous which showcased her gift for comic timing. Lately she has appeared in Sensitive Skin and Mistresses, and AbFab returned to acclaim in 2011 and 2012. In film she has played Aunt Spiker in James and the Giant Peach (1996).
In the political sphere, since 2008 Lumley has been the public face of the campaign to provide all Gurkha veterans who served in the British Army before 1997 the right to settle in the United Kingdom. After some political manoeuvring, during which Lumley stated that she was ashamed of the government, Jacqui Smith, the then Home Secretary announced that all Gurkha veterans who had served four years or more in the British Army before 1997 would be allowed to settle in Britain. Lumley supports many other causes, including Survival International, Tree Aid and Venture Trust Nepal.