Born: 22 June 1932
Actor. Scales started her career in 1951 as an assistant stage manager at the Bristol Old Vic. Throughout her career, she has often been cast in comic roles. Her early work included the (now believed to be lost) second UK adaptation of Pride and Prejudice (1952), Laxdale Hall (1953), Hobson's Choice (1954), Room at the Top (1959) and Waltz of the Toreadors (1962).
Her career break came with the early 1960s sitcom Marriage Lines starring opposite Richard Briers. In addition to Fawlty Towers, she has had roles in BBC Radio 4 sitcoms, and comedy series including After Henry, Smelling of Roses and Ladies of Letters; on television, she starred in the London Weekend Television/Channel 4 series Mapp & Lucia based on the novels by E. F. Benson. She played Queen Elizabeth II in Alan Bennett's A Question of Attribution.
In 1973, Scales was cast with Ronnie Barker in One Man's Meat which formed part of Barker's Seven of One series, also for the BBC. Her later film appearances include Escape from the Dark (1976), The Hound of the Baskervilles (1978), The Boys From Brazil (1978), The Wicked Lady (1983), The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne (1987), Stiff Upper Lips (1997), Howards End (1992) and Wolf (1994). For the BBC Television Shakespeare production of The Merry Wives of Windsor (1982) she played Mistress Page and the Theatre Night series (BBC) she appeared with her husband Timothy West in the Joe Orton farce What the Butler Saw (1987) playing Mrs Prentice.
In 2000, Scales appeared in the film The Ghost of Greville Lodge as Sarah. The same year she appeared as Eleanor Dunsall in Midsomer Murders Beyond the Grave. In 2001 she appeared in 2 episodes of Silent Witness, “Faith” as Mrs Parker. In 2003, she appeared as Hilda, "she who must be obeyed", wife of Horace Rumpole in four BBC Radio 4 plays, with Timothy West playing her fictional husband.
Scales is married to the actor Timothy West, with whom she has two sons; the elder is actor and director Samuel West. Their younger son Joseph participated in two episodes of Great Canal Journeys filmed in France. Scales also has a step-daughter, Juliet, by West's first marriage.
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Timothy and Prunella married in 1963, and have two sons, including actor and director Sam West. They have appeared on stage together infrequently, and have in recent years hosted a popular series of television programmes focussed (Channel 4's Great Canal Journeys) on canals in the UK and overseas.
Sam is the elder of two sons to Timothy West and Prunella Scales. His younger brother Joseph is a teacher and translator.
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