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Where are The Upper Hand cast now – depression, tragic death and showbiz snub


The Upper Hand was a big comedy hit for ITV, but where are the cast of the show now?

The popular sitcom ran for over six years and followed affluent single mum Caroline Wheatley (Diana Weston) and she tried to cope with raising her son Tom (William Puttock) without her husband.

And that required the help of her mother Laura West (Honor Blackman) and hired housekeeper Charlie Burrows (Joe McGann), who both try and help Caroline get her life back together.

Throw into the mix Joe’s on-screen daughter Joanna (Kellie Bright) and the chemistry of a fun cast was made.

But fast forward nearly 25 years to when the show last broadcast in 1996 and the stars of the sitcom have experienced many ups and downs.

There’s been battles with depression, the death of the one main characters and accomplished acting careers that have spanned between as long as eight decades, including roles in Hollyoaks, Casualty and EastEnders. And throw into the mix one of the stars was a former James Bond beauty!

Here at The Daily Star online we take a look at where the cast are now.

Joe McGann



Actor Joe McCann starred in the hit BBC show The Upper Hand
Actor Joe McCann starred in the hit BBC show The Upper Hand

One of three well-known acting brothers, Joe made his name for his role as the loveable housekeeper Charlie Burrows.

His chemistry with his boss Caroline Wheatley gripped viewers and helped maintain the popularity of the show for an impressive 94 episodes.

But the star revealed in 2013 that he suffered severe depression whilst starring in the sitcom.

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And he admitted that he would often “drown my sorrows with alcohol” because of the depression.

He admitted in an interview with The Mirror: “I’ve had several very low times but the worst was probably when I was starring in the BBC1 sitcom The Upper Hand in the 90s.



Joe played loveable housekeeper Charlie Burrows in the hit sitcom

“I had this horrible situation where I was more successful and recognisable than at any time in my life, but felt the most wretched I’d ever felt.

“I couldn’t go anywhere and hide as people would recognise me all over the place.”

Joe is still an actor and has appeared in a string of established shows including Dangerfield, All Creatures Great and Small and Hollyoaks, as well as starring in films including Night & Day and Rockcliffe’s Babies.

He famously played Barry, one of a trio of comical scousers in Harry Enfield’s Television programme series alongside comedians Paul Whitehouse and Kathy Burke.

Diana Weston



Actress Diana Weston starred as divorcee Caroline Wheatley and was cast in Hollyoaks last year
Actress Diana Weston starred as divorcee Caroline Wheatley and was cast in Hollyoaks last year

Canadian-born Diana was the main character in the hit sitcom and is still an actress today after five decades in the TV and film industry.

The 67-year-old is fondly remembered for her character Caroline Wheatley in the show, but did you know she actually appeared in Hollyoaks last year?

Diana played the character Carole, Kyle Kelly’s mother, in the Channel 4 series.

She has a vast CV of acting credits including appearances in well-known shows The Sweeney, Casualty, Emmerdale, New Tricks and Doctors.

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Diana was famously in a 16-year relationship with fellow actor Robert Lindsay, of My Family fame. They split last year and share a daughter, Sydney.

Honor Blackman



Respected actress Honor won worldwide fame as the sexy Pussy Galore in the James Bond hit Goldfinger
Respected actress Honor won worldwide fame as the sexy Pussy Galore in the James Bond hit Goldfinger

Best known for playing the iconic James Bond girl Pussy Galore, Honor sadly died, aged 94, last April.

She became a household name in the 1960s as Cathy Gale in hit show The Avengers and had an amazing career in the industry.

A mum-of-two, Honor shot to fame from a young age, but it was her brilliant role in Goldfinger which catapulted her to worldwide recognition alongside acting great Sean Connery.

Honor played Caroline’s mother Laura in The Upper Hand – and was never short of a sarcastic gag as she showed another side of her acting talents.



Honor starred as Laura West in The Upper Hand
Honor starred as Laura West in The Upper Hand CREDIT: BBC copyright unknown

She also appeared in many popular theatrical productions including The Sound of Music, My Fair Lady and Cabaret.

Bond producers Michael G Wilson and Barbara Broccoli called her a “film icon….who shall forever be remembered as Pussy Galore in Goldfinger.”

And the acclaimed film director Edgar Wright once described Honor as the “ultimate Bond girl and original Avenger”.

Honor was also a committed activist who campaigned for the Liberal Democrats party.

Kellie Bright



Child star Kellie has found fame as Linda Carter in EastEnders
Child star Kellie has found fame as Linda Carter in EastEnders

She played Joanna Burrows in the show, but did you know she’s now a main character in EastEnders?

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As cheeky Joanna she would always be winding her dad Charlie up in their unusual housing arrangement as the two families merged.

But now Kelly, 44, is causing plenty of drama in Albert Square playing the character Linda Carter on the hit BBC soap opera.



Kellie played Charlie's daughter Joanna in the hit sitcom
Kellie played Charlie’s daughter Joanna in the hit sitcom

She has been an ever-present in the show since 2013, but Kellie has also had a successful acting career after finding child stardom in The Upper Hand.

Her acting credits include The Upper Hand, Bad Girls, Rock & Chips and, six years ago, she graced the ballroom on Strictly Come Dancing.

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She finished an impressive runner-up alongside dance partner Kevin Clifton.

Kellie has also appeared in other well-known shows including Casualty, Vera, Silent Witness, The Bill and Holby City.

William Puttock



William played cheeky chappie Tom in the show but has since quit acting
William played cheeky chappie Tom in the show but has since quit acting

As cute little boy Tom, William had no problem endearing himself to a nation.

The show was based around Tom’s upbring after his mother’s divorce, but following the show William’s promising acting career was short-lived.

He went on to star in family comedy The Geeks when The Upper Hand finished in 1996 and also featured an episode of What’s Up Doc?

But little is known about what William is doing now as he shied away from the limelight and pursued another career.





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