Oscar-nominated for her performance in the film Shirley Valentine, Pauline has a huge huge list of TV drama credits.
They include Upstairs, Downstairs, Forever Green and The Ambassador. In 2005 she starred as Miss Flite in the BBC's adaptation of Bleak House.
What's she been in?
Pauline's best known for playing the title character in Shirley Valentine. It tells the story of a middle-aged woman, frustrated with her life and marriage, who finds romance while on holiday to Greece. She first took the role in the stage version in London's West End, then New York's Broadway. She then starred in the 1989 movie version, alongside Tom Conti.
In 2005, she starred alongside Gillian Anderson, Charles Dance and Nathaniel Parker, as part of an all-star cast in the BBC's Bleak House. She played Miss Flite in the Andrew Davies adaptation, shown in the style of a soap, with two half-hour episodes per week.
Her early TV credits include the UK's first medical soap Emergency Ward: 10, the pilot episode and first series of The Liver Birds in 1969, and a guest appearance in the 1967 Doctor Who story The Faceless Ones.
Pauline's career continued its acendancy with a role in popular 1970s drama Upstairs, Downstairs. She played ambitious parlourmaid Sarah alongside real-life husband John Alderton. The pair were reunited in spin-off series Thomas and Sarah in 1979. As well as acting together on stage, they've also starred alongside each other in the drama Forever Green, which ran for three series between 1989 to 1992, and the comedies Wodehouse Playhouse and No - Honestly.
In 1998, she played the lead role in BBC drama The Ambassador, starring as Harriet Smith, the new British ambassador in Ireland. Her other credits include The Saint, The Wednesday Play, Armchair Theatre, Play For Today and Tales of the Unexpected. In 2002, she guest starred in Man and Boy, the dramatisation of Tony Parsons' best-seller.
Her film credits include 1991's City Of Joy, alongside Patrick Swayze, 1997's Paradise Road, and 2001's Mrs Caldicot's Cabbage War, another appearance with real-life husband John Alderton. Pauline's also enjoyed a successful stage career.
Did you know?
Pauline's performances in Shirley Valentine won her a number of awards. They include an Olivier Award and a Tony Award for the stage version, and a BAFTA Award for the film.
Pauline was awarded the OBE in 2001.
Her guest appearance in Doctor Who nearly led to her becoming one of the Doctor's companions. But she turned down the chance to take a spin in the TARDIS to concentrate on other roles. 39 years later, Pauline returns to the series playing Queen Victoria in the story Tooth and Claw.
Before finding fame as an actress, she was a teacher.
Pauline was born in Exmouth in September 1940, but grew up near Liverpool.
She now lives in Hampstead with husband John Alderton. The couple have three children, Nicholas, Kate and Richard.
Pauline also has an older daughter Louise. She gave her up for adoption when she was penniless and single at the age of 23. The pair were reunited 22 years later. Pauline's book, Letter To Louise, documented these events.
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external websites.