Paula Wilcox first came to public attention while a member of the National Youth Theatre when she was offered her first starring television role in The Lovers, a Granada produced, ITV sitcom written by Jack Rosenthal and co-starring the equally precocious and unknown Richard Beckinsale.
Wilcox played Beryl Battersby, a flighty but principled young woman who would not allow her boyfriend Geoffrey (Beckinsale) to have a sexual relationship with her until marriage. There were two series of The Lovers, plus a feature film.
Although this role won Wilcox many admirers on a personal and professional level, it was her next sitcom part that made her a star. In Man About The House (Thames), she played Chrissy Plummer, another flighty but principled woman who was regularly in a flirtatious battle of wits with her male flatmate Robin, played by Richard O'Sullivan.
The show was a huge success and ended with Wilcox's character marrying Robin's brother Norman (Norman Eshley). She also starred in the feature film of the same show.
She participated in "The Lonely Miss Fox" sketch on an episode of The Benny Hill Show (Thames) that aired on February 23, 1972.
In 1977, Wilcox took the eponymous role in Miss Jones and Son, another Thames series, which broke new ground as the first depiction of a single mother in British situation comedy.
After a break to raise a family, Wilcox went back to the theatre. In London's West End she appeared as Florence the obsessive housewife in Neil Simon's female version of comedy The Odd Couple; the Queen in The Queen and I by Sue Townsend and Shirley Valentine in Willy Russell's one-woman play. Paula has also performed in Shakespeare plays at the Open Air Theatre, Regents Park and at the Bristol Old Vic.
Wilcox returned to sitcom in 1992 to play the character of Ivy Sandford in the pilot of Frank Skinner's Blue Heaven on Channel 4 - the show then went on to became a series. Skinner later admitted in his autobiography that he recruited Wilcox for the role not just because of her abilities, but because he fancied her when he was a teenager.
As a guest on Skinner's edition of This Is Your Life, Wilcox praised his decision to cast her in the role of a "hideous old bag", a departure from the sweet-natured girl-next-door TV roles she had previously been known for. Wilcox did attract a sizeable following of male fans during her 1970s heyday.
In recent years, Wilcox has made guest appearances in programmes such as Footballers' Wives, Holby City and Down to Earth. These guest roles led her to be cast as Lilian in the BBC Three cult sitcom The Smoking Room.
On 27 October 2006, Wilcox was seen in the popular Only Fools and Horses spin-off The Green Green Grass as Marlene's sister. She also had a cameo role in the Woody Allen movie Scoop. In 2007 Wilcox joined the cast of Emmerdale as Hilary Potts, mother of the Vicar's wife, Laurel Thomas.