Hilda Braid

Scatty Nana Moon in 'EastEnders'


Hilda Braid, actress: born Northfleet, Kent 3 March 1929; married Brian Badcoe (died 1992; one son, one daughter); died Brighton, East Sussex 6 November 2007.

In the character of Nana Moon, Hilda Braid brought warmth to EastEnders, a soap that has always thrived on friction. The Moon family arrived in Albert Square in December 2002, with Braid playing Victoria, scatty grandmother of Alfie and Spencer Moon.

Nana Moon was a one-man woman whose husband had died in the Second World War, two months after she had given birth to their son. The only man who turned her head and persuaded her to marry him was another pensioner, Wilfred Atkins, whom she met on a seaside holiday. However, on their wedding day, Alfie – bar manager of the Queen Vic – exposed Wilfred as a con-artist whose aim was to steal Nana's possessions, so the marriage never went ahead. "Oh, Alfie" became Nana Moon's most familiar utterance.

It was a tragedy for the whole Moon clan when, in 2005, Nana was diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm. Deciding not to chance an operation at the age of 84, she drew up a list of challenges to attempt before her death. In a particularly moving episode, she paid a first visit to the grave of her husband in Normandy on Armistice Day. She also had tea with the Queen (the waxwork at Madame Tussauds), played poker for the first time and won, and managed to get arrested for assaulting a policeman.

On Christmas Day, as Alfie was hanging the ornamental snowman that she had specially requested on the tree, Nana died peacefully on the sofa. Her ambition to go to the races and place a bet went unfulfilled – but she left money for Alfie to do so. Nana's death marked the end of Hilda Braid's three-year run in EastEnders, during which she provided the Cockney soap with a popular, sympathetic character.

Born in Northfleet, Kent, in 1929, Braid won a scholarship to train at Rada, where she won the Lord Lurgan Award. After experience in repertory, she took West End roles as Sidonia in The Waltz of the Toreadors (directed by Peter Hall, Criterion Theatre, 1956-57) and Rachel Wardle in the musical Pickwick (Saville Theatre, 1963-64).

Later, she played Gertrude in the Tom Stoppard play On the Razzle with the National Theatre Company (1982-83) and Rebecca in Arthur Miller's The Crucible (Young Vic Theatre, 1985-86). With the RSC (1973-75), her roles included Queen Elinor in King John and the Duchess of York in Richard II.

Braid made her television début in the police series No Hiding Place (1960). She then appeared in many television plays, taking roles such as Mrs Smeeth in the BBC serialisation of J.B. Priestley's Angel Pavement (1967), and was seen as Louisa Chick in the 13-part adaptation of Charles Dickens's Dombey and Son (1969).

Then came public recognition as Florence Johnson, the hopelessly stupid mother of Shirley, girlfriend of Wolfie Smith, the inept Tooting Popular Front leader, in Citizen Smith (1977-80). The sitcom featured Robert Lindsay as the urban revolutionary famed for the battle-cry "power to the people", with Braid's conservative character mirroring his subversive antics.

Braid followed it with two more situation comedies, playing the bank manager's wife Mrs Davies in L for Lester (1982), and Mrs Bright, mother of the imprisoned Lionel, in The Bright Side (1985), written by Willis Hall and about a jailbird's wife (played by Paula Wilcox) struggling to cope with her predicament.

Over the years, Braid appeared in several soaps, as Winnie Plumtree in Crossroads, P. Morphett in Emmerdale, Mrs Miller in Couples (1976) and Alan Partridge's mother Molly in Brookside (1984), before joining EastEnders. Her other television roles included Mrs Bedwin in the BBC's 12-part Oliver Twist (1985), the receptionist-secretary Enid in the talent agency sitcom The 10%ers (1994 and 1996) and Gran in the children's comedy show Gogglewatch (1997-98).

Anthony Hayward

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
tvBut who should win The Apprentice?
News
The monkey made several attempts to revive his friend before he regained consciousness
video
Extras
indybest
News
Elton John and David Furnish will marry on 21 December 2014
peopleSinger posts pictures of nuptials throughout the day
Sport
Brendan Rodgers looks on from the touchline
SPORT
Life and Style
A still from the 1939 film version of Margaret Mitchell's 'Gone with the Wind'
life
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: National Account Manager / Key Account Sales

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An opportunity has arisen for a...

Recruitment Genius: Operations Manager

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An exciting opportunity to join...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment Consultant

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: We have an excellent role for a...

Recruitment Genius: IT Support Analyst - Bristol

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: An IT Support Analyst is required to join the ...

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick