Wanda was born in Brighton, the daughter of Gladys Frances and Frederick Howard Ventham. She originally held aspirations of becoming an artist and attended art school for one year, working as a scenic painter for the Connaught Theatre, in Worthing, West Sussex, during her school holidays. It was her exposure to professional theatre that prompted her to leave art school and pursue a career in acting. She trained at the Central School of Speech and Drama, along with Judi Dench, graduating in 1956.
Ventham's first film role was in My Teenage Daughter, with Anna Neagle and Sylvia Syms. She also appeared in Carry On Cleo and Carry On... Up the Khyber. She starred alongside Mark Burns in the mystery film, Death is a Woman. Her best known role was on television as Col. Virginia Lake, second in command to Cmdr. Ed Straker (Ed Bishop) in the cult series UFO.
Her numerous other TV credits include regular roles in Heartbeat as Fiona Weston, Hetty Wainthropp Investigates as Margaret Balshaw, and The Rag Trade as Shirley. She also played a love interest for Arthur Daley in Minder, Susan's mother in Coupling, and Deborah's mother in Men Behaving Badly. She appeared in the lead role in the 15-part BBC series The Lotus Eaters, opposite Ian Hendry, and made a guest appearance in Rutland Weekend Television. She was in an episode of Danger Man, and the series Patrick McGoohan completed immediately afterwards - the allegorical spy series The Prisoner - as well as the sitcoms Executive Stress and Next of Kin, and the sketch show The Two Ronnies.
She has appeared in Doctor Who on three occasions over three decades: as Jean Rock in The Faceless Ones (1967), as Thea Ransome in Image of the Fendahl (1977) and as Faroon in Time and the Rani (1987). Her appearance in Image of the Fendahl was opposite Denis Lill. Ventham and Lill would later play Pamela and Alan Parry in the sitcom Only Fools and Horses.
In 2014, she and her husband Timothy Carlton appeared in Sherlock as the parents of Sherlock Holmes, who is played by their son Benedict Cumberbatch. Wanda Ventham also appeared in Holby City as Myrtle McKee, a hospital patient who leads a double life.
Photo Shoot: $30 (Joint Photo with Timothy Carlton)
Joint Photo will count as one photo, no individual photos are available for this guest.