MYRA FRANCES, WHO played the role of Anne Tranter in two episodes of series one of Survivors, has died of cancer just weeks after her seventy-eighth birthday.
Frances’ death, at 01:30 on Tuesday 30 March 2021, was announced on social media today by her husband of 45 years the actor Peter Egan. The couple had married on 13 February 1977, and had a daughter, Rebecca Egan – who has also pursued a career as an actor.
The news of Frances’ passing was quickly picked up by news agencies, including the Daily Mail, Daily Express, The Sun, OK, The Independent and Metro. Frances’ obituary in The Guardian (13 April 2021) has the most detailed discussion of her “powerful portrayal… as a screen villain” in Survivors.
The character of ‘spoilt rich girl’ Tranter first appeared in Survivors‘ second episode “Genesis”, when she flags down Greg’s car on the main road next to a quarry. Wrapped in a fur coat, and with an immaculate appearance, her character makes an immediate impression. She insists that Greg help her, by freeing her partner Vic Thatcher who’s become trapped under an overturned tractor.
Tranter, who had enjoyed a life of privilege and indulgence before The Death, soon has Greg lined up to replace the now seriously injured Vic. When Greg insists on leaving, she abandons the patient to his fate telling the returning Greg, now in the company of Jenny Richards, that the injured Vic was already dead.
Tranter later refuses to join Greg and Jenny as they head off into the night to trace the source of the signal from Abby’s fire. Her disappearance is referred to in the next episode “Gone Away”, when Greg confirms to Abby that she was no longer in the barn the trio were overnighting in when Greg made good on his pledge to return to collect her.
Frances’ formidable character returns in the eleventh episode “Revenge”, when Tranter arrives at the Grange settlement in the company of the good-natured tanker driver Donny. With Vic rescued from his isolation at the quarry and now living as part of Abby’s community, the scene is set for a confrontation between Vic and Anne – with him determined that she must account for her wickedness and cruelty in leaving him “to die in his own filth”.
When the two are finally reconciled by their recognition of the value of life itself, she heads off alone towards an unknown future – but with a reaffirmed sense of self.
Prior to her retirement, Frances had enjoyed a successful and varied screen career.
As well as her appearance in Survivors, she also memorably guest-starred in the 1979 Doctor Who story ‘The Creature from the Pit’ in the role of Lady Adrasta.
Frances also played the role of Stella Clisby, in series four of Hadleigh, and appeared in a number of episodes of the lunchtime legal series Crown Court.
In addition, she appeared in episodes of The Sweeney, Z-Cars, Angels, Within These Walls, The Newcomers and The Organisation – the show on which she met her future husband.
The day before her death, MyLondon coincidentally ran a short feature recalling the controversy that surrounded Frances’ appearance alongside Alison Steadman in the BBC drama Girl, where their characters shared what was claimed to be the first lesbian kiss on British television.
On the big screen she took roles in films including Don’t Just Lie There, Say Something!, Very Like a Whale and Remembrance.
In retirement, and alongside her husband, Myra Frances devoted considerable time and effort supporting animal charities and campaigning for better treatment of animals.
UPDATED 24 April 2021