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

News
Russell Brand was in typically combative form during his promotional interview with Newsnight's Evan Davis
peopleReports that Brand could stand for Mayor on an 'anti-politics' ticket
News
The clocks go forward an hour at 1am on Sunday 30 March
news
Arts and Entertainment
The Doctor finds himself in a forest version of London in Doctor Who episode 'In the Forest of the Night'
TVReview: Is the Doctor ever going stop frowning? Apparently not.
News
Voluminous silk drawers were worn by Queen Victoria
newsThe silk underwear is part of a growing trade in celebrity smalls
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Sport
footballMatch report: Real fight back to ruin Argentinian's debut
News
Candidates with surnames that start with an A have an electoral advantage
newsVoters are biased towards names with letters near start of alphabet
Arts and Entertainment
Isis with Lord Grantham (Hugh Bonneville)
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jay James
TVReview: Performances were stale and cheesier than a chunk of Blue Stilton left out for a month
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

Maths Teacher

£110 - £200 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Secondary Maths Teacher for spe...

Business Analyst - Surrey - Permanent - Up to £50k DOE

£40000 - £50000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***ASP.NET Developer - Cheshire - £35k - Permanent***

£30000 - £35000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

***Solutions Architect*** - Brighton - £40k - Permanent

£35000 - £40000 Per Annum Excellent benefits: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd:...

Day In a Page

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news: musician splits with manager after police investigate assault claims

Wilko Johnson, now the bad news

Former Dr Feelgood splits with manager after police investigate assault claims
Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands ahead of the US midterm elections

Mark Udall: The Democrat Senator with a fight on his hands

The Senator for Colorado is for gay rights, for abortion rights – and in the Republicans’ sights as they threaten to take control of the Senate next month
New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

New discoveries show more contact between far-flung prehistoric humans than had been thought

Evidence found of contact between Easter Islanders and South America
Cerys Matthews reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of Dylan Thomas

Cerys Matthews on Dylan Thomas

The singer reveals how her uncle taped 150 interviews for a biography of the famous Welsh poet
DIY is not fun and we've finally realised this as a nation

Homebase closures: 'DIY is not fun'

Homebase has announced the closure of one in four of its stores. Nick Harding, who never did know his awl from his elbow, is glad to see the back of DIY
The Battle of the Five Armies: Air New Zealand releases new Hobbit-inspired in-flight video

Air New Zealand's wizard in-flight video

The airline has released a new Hobbit-inspired clip dubbed "The most epic safety video ever made"
Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month - but can you stomach the sweetness?

Pumpkin spice is the flavour of the month

The combination of cinnamon, clove, nutmeg (and no actual pumpkin), now flavours everything from lattes to cream cheese in the US
11 best sonic skincare brushes

11 best sonic skincare brushes

Forget the flannel - take skincare to the next level by using your favourite cleanser with a sonic facial brush
Paul Scholes column: I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Phil Jones and Marcos Rojo

Paul Scholes column

I'm not worried about Manchester United's defence - Chelsea test can be the making of Jones and Rojo
Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

Frank Warren: Boxing has its problems but in all my time I've never seen a crooked fight

While other sports are stalked by corruption, we are an easy target for the critics
Jamie Roberts exclusive interview: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Jamie Roberts: 'I'm a man of my word – I'll stay in Paris'

Wales centre says he’s not coming home but is looking to establish himself at Racing Métro
How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?