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
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + uncapped commission : SThree: Hello! I know most ...

Recruitment Genius: Graduate Web Performance Consultant Trainee

£22000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Consultant trainee opportunit...

Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - (Full marketing mix) - Knutsford

£22000 - £25000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Marketing Executive - Knu...

Ashdown Group: Web Developer - ASP.NET, C#, MVC - London

£45000 - £55000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Web Developer -...

Day In a Page

Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss
Tony Blair joins a strange and exclusive club of political leaders whose careers have been blighted by the Middle East

Blair has joined a strange and exclusive club

A new tomb has just gone up in the Middle East's graveyard of US and British political reputations, says Patrick Cockburn
Election 2015: Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May

Election 2015

Meet the top 12 wacky candidates seeking your vote in May
Countdown to the election: Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear as the SNP target his Commons seat

Operation Save Danny Alexander shifts into high gear

The Chief Secretary to the Treasury didn’t forget his Highland roots in the Budget. But the SNP is after his Commons seat
The US economy is under threat because of its neglected infrastructure

The US is getting frayed at the edges

Public spending on infrastructure is only half of Europe’s, and some say the nation’s very prosperity is threatened, says Rupert Cornwell
Mad Men final episodes: Museum exhibition just part of the hoopla greeting end of 1960s-set TV hit

New Yorkers raise a glass to Mad Men

A museum exhibition is just part of the hoopla greeting the final run of the 1960s-set TV hit
Land speed record: British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

British-built hybrid rocket car aims to be the fastest on Earth

Bloodhound SSC will attempt to set a new standard in South Africa's Kalahari desert
Housebuilders go back to basics by using traditional methods and materials

Housebuilders go back to basics - throwing mud at the wall until it sticks

Traditional materials are ticking all the construction boxes: they are cheap, green – and anyone can use them
Daniel Brühl: 'When you have success abroad, you become a traitor. Envy is very German'

Daniel Brühl: 'Envy is very German'

He's got stick for his golden acting career and for his beloved restaurant - but Daniel Brühl is staying put in Berlin (where at least the grannies love him)
How Leica transformed photography for ever: Celebrating 100 years of the famous camera

Celebrating 100 years of Leica

A new book reveals how this elegant, lightweight box of tricks would transform the way we saw life on the street and in fashion, on the battlefield and across the world