Elizabeth Mary 'Liddy' Oldroyd was the inventive television director whose energy gave Drop the Dead Donkey its creative edge.


One of four children, she was educated at Guildford County Grammar School and the University of York. After a spell as an actress in the 1970s she joined London Weekend Television in 1979. Her early credits included Weekend World, Six O'Clock Show and Spitting Image. In 1989 she was one of the directors of Desmond's, the popular Channel 4 situation comedy and the first successful black British sitcom.

Throughout the 1990s Liddy Oldroyd directed a number of comedy programmes including After Henry, a gentle and sensitive comedy starring Prunella Scales as a woman who finds herself suddenly widowed and living with her mother and daughter.

She also directed a number of television dramas including Underworld (1997). Other credits include Gimme, Gimme, Gimme, the lewd sitcom starring Kathy Burke as a foul-mouthed and unattractive trollop who thinks she is "the ginger Jerry Hall" and her flat-mate, a gay out-of-work actor, played by James Dreyfus.

Unlike many in such a demanding profession, Liddy Oldroyd always managed to keep in touch with her countless friends. Colleagues were amazed at the size of her Christmas card list, which she would start compiling in the early autumn.

Up until her death of liver cancer, she continued to exude typical energy and resourcefulness and enlisted the help of friends and acquaintances in raising money for cancer research. A great raconteuse, she was always refreshingly candid. One of her most frequent expressions was: "Can I be honest with you?" (But if the answer was "no", she paid no attention.)

She also retained the sense of humour which was a continual feature of her life and work. "Thank you all for being on my little show, here tonight," she would say on leaving a party, mimicking the large lady at the end of the Morecambe and Wise Show, "if you've enjoyed it, then it's all been worthwhile. Goodnight, and I love you all". She married Peter Gwilliam in 1983. He survives her with two sons and a daughter.[2]


Community content is available under CC-BY-SA unless otherwise noted.