Jan Holden was born Valerie Jeanne Wilkinson in Southport, Lancashire on 9th May 1931, with her twin brother Geoffrey. Playing middle and upper-class women with elegance and sophistication, Jan Holden was most memorable on television as the personnel officer in the department-store melodrama Harpers West One and the magazine editor in the sitcom Agony.
At 18 she was offered places at RADA, the Old Vic School and the Bristol Old Vic. When her father was given the news, he telegraphed back refusing to pay for his daughter to become an actress. Fortunately, her teacher was able to convince him otherwise. Her first appearance in the West End was in Speaking of Murder at St Martin’s in 1958 and her last was in Romantic Comedy at the Lyric in 1983.
In the early sixties, when she played the lead in Harpers West One she also had a column 'Shopping with Jan' in the Radio Times and was voted one of TV’s most popular actresses. She appeared in leading roles in The Avengers, The Saint and Are You Being Served?, as well as playing the magazine editor to Maureen Lipman’s agony aunt in Agony. Her various film appearances included playing Lady Dilke in The Best House in London, The Haunted House of Horror and One Brief Summer. She died on October 11, 2006 aged 74.