Saturday, 10 July 2021

Brian Osborne

British actor Brian Osborne

Brian Osborne: 

† 1940 – July 8 2021*

Even among the staunchest of enthusiasts, the later 'Carry On' films are generally held in lower regard than the early and mid-period examples, which in some ways is a shame as the supporting cast of the '70s films often had some great character actors of the period. An example of this is the redoubtable Brian Osborne, who had already gathered a few modest credits in TV shows such as 'Softly Softly' and  'Redcap' before he appears as an ambulance driver in 'Carry On Matron' (1972). He can also be seen in 'Carry On Abroad' (1972),  'Carry On Girls' (1973), 'Carry On Dick' (1974),  'Carry On Behind' (1975) and 'Carry On England' (1976). He was also a regular in the same period's generally unfunny TV spin-off 'Carry On Laughing'. 

Vendor of the notorious love potion liqueur in
'Carry On Abroad' (1972) 

This raised profile may well have led to an increasing number of TV roles in the early '70s, in such popular fare as 'Follyfoot', 'Pardon My Genie', 'Some Mothers Do Ave Em' and, more substantially, 'Upstairs Downstairs' in which he played Pearce the chauffeur.   

The latter '70s saw appearances in 'Space:1999', 'Are You Being Served?', 'The Sandbaggers' and 'Secret Army', but perhaps surprisingly not 'The Sweeney' or 'The Professionals'.

In the film version of the popular TV series 'Bless This
House' (1972), here with Robin Askwith in the role of Mike

In 'Space:1999', and about to fall victim to some 
floral foul play by the young lady with her alien plant    

During the '80s you might have spotted Brian Osborne in 'Moonfleet', 'Minder', 'Shine On Harvey Moon', 'Juliet Bravo', 'Sorry!' and 'A Dorothy L Sayers Mystery: Have His Carcase', while the '90s offered the likes of 'London's Burning' and 'The Bill'.  

In the excellent BBC production of the Dorothy L
Sayers mystery 'Have His Carcase' from 1987  

Beyond his 'Carry On' shenanigans, he does appear in a few big screen productions, including 'Women In Love (1969), 'Under Milk Wood' (1971), 'Bless This House' (1972), Nighthawks (1981), 'Haunters Of The Deep' (1984) and 'Last Orders' (2001). It seems that he hasn't been in anything since 2003, so I hope he is enjoying a happy retirement.  

* (Edit 21/7/21: I'm sad to learn that Brian Osborne has died, in the Canary Islands, aged 81,  just a couple of days before I published this little salute.)

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