Actress Pamela Salem has died aged 80.


The news was confirmed by Big Finish Insider, who announced the news of her death on X (formerly known as Twitter), writing: "We are utterly heartbroken to confirm the passing of our dear friend and colleague, Pamela Salem."

The actress was known for a variety of roles over the years, namely starring alongside Sean Connery in two James Bond films, The First Great Train Robbery and Never Say Never Again, as Miss Moneypenny.

Born in 1944, Salem had a long career in film, television and on the stage, but will be well known to EastEnders fans for her role in the long-running soap as Joanne Francis in dozens of episodes from 1988 through to 1989.

But it was Salem's role in Doctor Who that led to a long partnership with Big Finish, in which she voiced roles in their audio dramas. Salem initially guest starred in the sci-fi series in 1977's The Robots of Death and 1988's Remembrance of the Daleks, reprising the role in spin-off audio series Counter Measures.

More recently, in 2020, Salem returned to the world of The Robots of Death, reprising her role as Toos in three box sets of the audio drama series, The Robots.

On the announcement of her death, David Richardson, who produced all of Salem’s work at Big Finish, said: “Pamela Salem was lovely, and we all loved her. Whenever there was a Big Finish recording for her, she’d fly in from Miami on her own steam, without fuss or fanfare, and appear at the studio armed with the warmest smiles, the biggest hugs and often presents.

"She was a very gentle person – always interested in everyone, from her co-stars to the production team to the guest actors and visitors. She talked with joy about her home on Miami Beach, waking up to warmth and waves, and she knew all about our lives and families and life stories.

"When Miami was hit by a terrible storm a few years ago, and residents were evacuated to public shelters, the tight knit Counter Measures team in the UK sat waiting nervously to hear how Pam was doing – and the moment she hit safety she was in touch.

"We were separated by thousands of miles and yet she always felt close – even if we might go for months without corresponding. There was an open and often offered invite to go to Miami and stay with her, but I don’t enjoy international travel anymore so didn’t take up the offer – something I regret."

He continued: "As a performer, she’d been on my radar since I was a child – I’d seen and enjoyed her in Jason King, Doctor Who, Blake’s 7, Into the Labyrinth… as I grew up she was Miss Moneypenny in Never Say Never Again, appeared in dozens of episodes of EastEnders and after moving to the US guest starred in ER and The West Wing. Pamela had an extraordinary career and carried it lightly.

"She loved Big Finish and every opportunity to work with her was a gift – beyond Counter Measures she guest starred in The Fourth Doctor Adventures (reunited with Tom Baker) and then reprised the role of Toos in our series The Robots.

"We had planned to continue Toos through all of the box sets, but sadly the pandemic put paid to that – international travel was out of the question and Miami was in lockdown. Nevertheless, we had many happy days together and I feel very lucky to have had her in my life.”

Pamela Salem
Pamela Salem. McCarthy / Stringer

Salem's Counter Measures co-star and actress Karen Gledhill also paid tribute, saying: "Pamela was the kindest, most generous actor I have ever worked with. Back in the '80s on Remembrance of the Daleks (my first proper TV job), she took me under her wing and led me through a wonderful but slightly daunting experience.

"We became friends, and whenever we met were always so pleased to see each other. Counter Measures was a total bonus – nearly eight years of regular contact with this unique woman, whose talent and professionalism shone like the star she was – what a privilege to have worked with her.

"We laughed a lot at our total lack of comprehension of the scientific jargon that we regularly had to say as Rachel and Allison – but she always sounded so totally convincing on the recordings! We also shared a mutual love of dogs – she adored the canine friends that she often rescued and looked after. She was so loved, so respected and will be so missed."

Director Ken Bentley, who wrote a number of scripts for Counter Measures, also commented: “Every time Pamela walked into the studio, she brought the Florida sunshine with her. She was such great company, always smiling, with so much enthusiasm for the small things in life that bring us all joy, like walking your dog along the beach. She had many gifts but her superpower was her ability to single-handedly restore your faith in human nature.”


At the time of her death, Salem lived in Surfside, California.