Ipcress File Star Sue Lloyd Dies at 72

She was the glamorous actress who starred in numerous television series across the past five decades, most notably alongside Michael Caine in The Ipcress File, with Joan Collins in The Stud and The Bitch and with Roger Moore in The Saint.

She was the glamorous actress who starred in numerous television series across the past five decades, most notably alongside Michael Caine in The Ipcress File, with Joan Collins in The Stud and The Bitch and with Roger Moore in The Saint.

Lloyd was born on August 7th 1939 in Suffolk and studied dance as a early performer at the Sadler’s Well Ballet School getting her break in the business as part of Lionel Blair’s dance troupe, then became a showgirl. She studied acting, and while forming her artistic craft also turned to modelling.

It was the ITC television series’ that saw Lloyd regularly appear on ITV during the 1960s and early 1970s, most often as a glamorous independent women in such crime thrillers as The Saint, Department S, The Persuaders!, Jason King and The Baron.

She also had great success on the big screen with notable roles in The Ipcress File, The Stud and its follow up a year later The Bitch and Corruption.

Of 1979 some suggest “at this point her career began to fade” as stated by David K Smith writing for The Avengers Forever website, a show she also appeared in. Sue however was known to be offended by such comments, not for herself, but for the millions of fans of soap opera where she would spend the next five years.

Lloyd joined ATV saga Crossroads in 1979 having initially being sceptical of the fast-turn-around and low-budget format, however once part of the programme she became one of the series sternest defenders commenting that 15 million viewers four nights a week was far from a career in decline.

“A TV show would give its eye teeth for that kind of viewership today. Each episode only cost £10,000 to make and brought in £100,000 worth of advertising revenue. I think the truth is that they were ashamed of it. They axed it because it affected their egos. I think it was a very short-sighted decision… …I simply consider the criticism to be dreadfully insulting to our huge following of viewers.” she said a few years after the show was ditched by image-important Central TV.

The long running motel based soap opera also brought Sue romance when she began dating co-star Ronald Allen. They would remain together for 13-years until his death in 1991 from lung cancer. On-screen in Crossroads they married as Barbara Brady and David Hunter in 1980, however it would be over a decade before the real life ceremony took place.

“Aren’t I lucky meeting Ronnie?” Sue once said, adding, “We’re a daffy, strange mixture but we get on terribly well, we care for each other. Belong. He gives me what I hadn’t got.  Stability. He’s like the Rock of Gibraltar. And I add colour to his life.”

In 1985 the couple had been written out of Crossroads, however now as a partnership they appeared together in BBC crime drama Bergerac and Channel 4’s The Comic Strip Presents.

After Ronald died Sue took a step back from the showbiz lime light and went into semi-retirement from acting, opting to spend more time painting – which she turned a hobby into a successful business – and accepted acting in roles which appealed, such as a classic comedy performance, as a snotty toff, in sitcom Keeping Up Appearances.

“Sue was a talented actress with a wicked sense of humour and was very self-deprecating.” Say the ITC Classics website, adding, “Sue was a very kind, gentle and fun-loving lady and will be sadly missed.”

In 2002 she was interviewed for the ITV series ‘After They Were Famous’ which celebrated her career, and her relationship with Ronald Allen.

The cause of Sue’s death has not as yet been announced but for the past number of years she had become visually much more frail, and appeared on the BBC’s City Hospital in 2007 when she scalded herself after accidentally spilling boiling water having dropped a kettle.

In 2005 Sue joined fellow Crossroads actors to mark the 40th anniversary of the soap on ITV’s This Morning recalling her days as Barbara Hunter, nee Brady. Her last acting role was in the 2001 independent film, Beginner’s Luck.

Chris Stacey, television soap expert and author of TV Times’ Supersoaps book told us, “I first met her at BSB when she was a guest on the 31 West magazine show I co-presented. Then some years later we were reunited at the BBC for an edition of BBC Two’s Esther chat show.

“We all had slightly too much BBC wine at TV Centre” Chris says, and continues, “Sue and I hit it off and chatted for hours well until we ended up being thrown out of the studios. Sue and I swapped addresses and phone numbers and a few days later I had a message left on my answer machine which played the ATV  jingle and Crossroads theme! It was Sue in fits of laughter saying it was just like the old days.

“I called her back and we chatted for hours, she made me laugh so much, she was almost the real life Sable Colby in The Colbys and said she always wanted to do soap again. Sue was great fun, a real lady, and one of the last actresses who had real glamour.”

You can see Chris and Sue together in 1990 on the BSB clip below. Sue Lloyd died on Thursday 20th October 2011. We at ATV know she had been ill for a couple of months, at least, as an ITV production some of our researchers had been assisting with recently was informed Sue was too ill to record an interview for the programme.