mole logo UK flag

Elizabeth Roma Cresswell née Dumville

It seemed a pity for these wonderful photographs of a fantastic lady to be hidden away, and not shared…

Roma Cresswell née Dumville
'Yes and No': Val, Bunce, Peter, Roma, Ramana
'Yes and No': Val, Bunce, Peter, Roma, Ramana
'A Lady Mislaid': Ritchie, Ramana, Bunce, Roma, Val
'A Lady Mislaid': Ritchie, Ramana, Bunce, Roma, Val
Roma Cresswell née Dumville as Lottie Grady in 'When We Are Married' by J.B. Priestley
Roma as Lottie Grady in 'When We Are Married' by J.B. Priestley
'The Story of Gilbert and Sullivan' (1953), 'Trial by Jury' scene, Roma Dumville is in the front row, second from the right
'The Story of Gilbert and Sullivan' (1953)
'Trial by Jury' Scene
Roma is in the front row, second from the right
'The Story of Gilbert and Sullivan' (1953), on location by the river: Maeve Leslie, Maureen Melvin, Ann Dowdell, Roma Dumville
'The Story of Gilbert and Sullivan' (1953)
on location by the river:
Maeve Leslie, Maureen Melvin, Ann Dowdell, Roma Dumville
'The Constant Husband' (1955), Rex Harrison is in the dock, Roma is in the second row, third from the left
'The Constant Husband' (1955)
Rex Harrison is in the dock
Roma is in the second row, third from the left

From typewritten notes on the back of a publicity photograph of Roma:

Roma Dumville, comely and versatile actress from Yorkshire, contributes her talent and personality to the wealth of feminine attractions in the life of "The Constant Husband", the new Launder-Gilliat comedy in which Rex Harrison returns to the British screen in the title role as a victim of amnesia who has lost all recollection of the seven attractive women who have accompanied him to the altar.

Born in Bradford where she trained at the Civic Theatre School, Roma underwent an extensive dramatic training repertory in Leicester, Keighley and Barrow, before going on tour in "The Toy Princess". She made her screen debut in "The Story of Gilbert and Sullivan" and then returned to repertory in Morecambe where she played many exacting female leads in a wide variety of plays, including "The Deep Blue Sea", "The Happy Marriage", "Caroline" and "The Waters of the Moon".

"The Constant Husband" is a Launder-Gilliat production for London Films based on an original story by Val Valentine and Sidney Gilliat, starring Rex Harrison, Margaret Leighton and Kay Kendall, with Cecil Parker, Nicole Maurey, George Cole, Raymond Huntley, Eric Pohlmann and Michael Hordern. Directed by Sidney Gilliat at the Shepperton Studios and photographed in Eastman Colour.

19th May 1956
19th May 1956
'Jim's Inn' (1957-1963): Jack Edwardes, Jimmy Hanley, Maggie Hanley, Ken Haward, Roma Cresswell
'Jim's Inn' (1957-1963)
1st: Jack Edwardes, 2nd: Jimmy Hanley, 3rd: Maggie Hanley,
6th: Ken Haward, 7th: Roma Cresswell

Was the most famous Admag format programme (specially built around commercials). It came to an end, only when Parliament outlawed such programmes, in 1963. Each fifteen minute episode went out live, once a week, at 10.45 p.m. It was a sort of mini-soap, featuring Jimmy and Maggie Hanley, as a couple who ran a warm and friendly village pub in a place called Wembleham.

The Director was Pat Baker. Jimmy Hanley and Bob Kellett scripted the show, Bob blending information about prices and products with Jimmy's ideas on incidents and gags. "It sounds paradoxical, but without the advertisements it would lose a lot of reality. People do talk, in a village pub, about things like household or gardening gadgets, and how much they paid for them", said Bob.

Products which featured in the 250th edition, for instance, included Thermos Brand Vacuum Flasks, Gaymer's Cider, Waft, Goddard's Gardstick, Ekco Baby-Sitta, Trout Hall Orange Juice, Aquafilter, Fison's Liquisprayer, and a regular, Ben Truman.

Regular cast members were: Jimmy: Jimmy Hanley; Maggie: Maggie Hanley; Roma: Roma Cresswell; Ron: John Sherlock; Jack: Jack Edwardes; Peggy: Diane Watts; Dennis: Dennis Bowen; Fred: Ken Haward; Victor Platt.

Jimmy Hanley was well known from his film and TV appearances, such as in the film 'The Blue Lamp' and TV shows like 'Five O'Clock Club'.

Actress Maggie Hanley was, in real life, Jimmy's second wife. Maggie appeared in the film 'A Boy, a Girl, and a Bike', under her earlier stage name of Margaret Avery. Jimmy's first wife was actress Dinah Sheridan, perhaps best known for her appearance in the film 'Genevieve'.

Actress Roma Cresswell (also known as Roma Dumville and Roma Denville) ran the beauty salon in Wembleham. Her other appearances included the 1950s early soap 'One Family', written by R.F. Delderfield, and she played Rex Harrison's sixth wife in the film 'The Constant Husband'. Her Wembleham husband was 'Fred', played by Ken Haward, who ran the village garage.

Absent minded 'Ron' managed Wembleham village hardware store. Burly pipe-smoking Jack Edwardes played 'Jack', a farmer. 'Dennis' was a city commuter, married to 'Peggy' and another regular visitor to Jim's Inn was played by Victor Platt.

Roma Cresswell recalls: "We went out LIVE for the first few years, which was terrifying. There was a huge glass ashtray on the bar under which we sometimes put difficult to remember parts of our scripts! We had very little rehearsal, and if I remember correctly, only got the scripts at first run-through. Towards the end of our stint, we began to be recorded – in colour, and networked, too. Sadly there are no recordings of Jim's Inn left at all."

An indication of the selling power of Jim's Inn occurred when beautician Roma swanned into the pub wearing a fur coat. Maggie exclaimed "what a lovely coat! Where did you get it?" to which Roma unashamedly replied, in a plug worthy of any chat-show guest, "Jones and Higgins of Peckham – they've got a sale on. It was reduced from £70 to £50". The morning after the programme, there was a queue a mile long outside Jones and Higgins.

'Jim's Inn' gained such popularity that an LP record was produced for the fans of the programme called "Singalong at Jim's Inn", it featured the whole cast singing old-time favourites.

This information was written by Jill Holroyd in conjunction with Maggie Hanley and Roma Cresswell.

Roma Cresswell
John Cresswell Associates, Leicester Square, 3rd: Philip Milner-Jones, 4th: John, 5th: Roma. Is one of them Paul Chambers?
John Cresswell Associates, Leicester Square
3rd: Philip Milner-Jones, 4th: John, 5th: Roma
Who are the others and when was the photograph taken?
Is one of them Paul Chambers?

Roma Cresswell

WEBSITE BY JILL HOLROYD AND MILES
LAST MODIFIED: 29 NOVEMBER 2016