Thursday 31 May 2012

Christopher Fulford

Christopher Fulford: 

Compact, sensitive tough-nut sort of actor, who could almost be a Victor Maddern for the 2000s. Hasn't done as much as I would have thought, but very familiar from 1980s/90s crime TV, including 'Inspector Morse', 'Cracker', 'Touch Of Frost', 'Juliet Bravo', 'Dalziel & Pascoe', etc. Other roles run from "I'm A Stranger Here Myself', 'Minder', and 'Made In Britain', through to 'Wire In The Blood' and 'Whitechapel'.

Christopher Fulford - imdb profile

Michael Byrne

Michael Byrne: 

Gimlet-eyed, steely establishment type with a hint of menace, he has had a few high profile film roles and a very solid TV drama career, moving easily between playing Whitehall mandarins and Nazi psychopaths, although perhaps that's not such a huge leap. Movie highlights are 'Indiana Jones & The Last Crusade' (1989), 'The Eagle Has Landed' (1976), 'Gangs Of New York' (2002), 'Braveheart' (1995) and 'Butley' (1974). On television, he was seen in 'Within These Walls', 'The Gentle Touch', 'Hamish Macbeth', 'Smiley's People' and more recently 'Coronation Street'.

Michael Byrne - imdb profile

Wednesday 30 May 2012

James Cosmo

James Cosmo: 

Craggy, red-headed Scottish actor with an extensive and impressive portfolio of work. Emanating an almost palpable Scottishness, he's been an obvious choice for roles ranging from hardcase copper to woad-covered warrior. He's instantly recognisable but, again, it's probably not a name you could easily put your finger on. You'll have seen him in any of quite an array of major films, from 'Battle Of Britain' and 'The Virgin Soldiers' (both 1969) and playing Father Christmas in 'The Chronicles of Narnia' (2005), to an undeniably tartan trio of 'Highlander' (1986), 'Braveheart' (1995) and 'Trainspotting' (1996). 

In the 'UFO' episode 'Reflections in the Water' from 1971

As for TV, it would be surprising if he hadn't popped up in 'Taggart', 'Rab C Nesbitt' and 'Rebus', but he was also seen in dramas such as 'Softly Softly', 'The Onedin Line' and 'Strangers', comedies like 'George & Mildred' and 'Fairly Secret Army', and cult classics 'Doomwatch', 'The Stone Tape', 'UFO' and, what a surprise, 'The Sweeney'. His movie profile has got him into some high-end fantasy shows like 'Merlin' and 'Game of Thrones', and more recently the FX biker drama 'Sons of Anarchy'. Rock solid stuff.

In 'Game of Thrones'

James Cosmo -imdb        

Tuesday 29 May 2012

Adrienne Posta

Adrienne Posta:

One of the faces of 1967/68, Ms Posta exemplified the pert dollybird and swinging London comedy glamour-puss. She featured in some of the middling hits of the era; 'To Sir With Love' (1967), 'Here We Go Round The Mulberry Bush' (1968),  'Up The Junction' (1968), and the late kitchen sink classic 'Spring And Port Wine' (1970). 
Looking for Robert Lindsay in 'Confessions of a Taxi Driver' (1976)

 By the '70s she was increasingly a victim of the trend towards dim-witted sex comedies that characterised British cinema in its most dismal phase: 'Percy's Progress' (1974), 'Carry On Behind' (1975), 'Adventures of A Taxi Driver' (1976), and playing Scrubba in 'Up Pompeii' (1971), for example. Small roles in some of the better TV of the period must have seemed a relief after these, and she was seen in nice TV Playhouse stuff like 'Bar Mitzvah Boy' in 1976 and 'The Cherry Orchard' in 1971. As she got older, roles followed suit with jaded glamour something of a speciality; see 'Minder', 'Budgie', 'The Gentle Touch', 'Boon', etc. Often on panel games and turned up in variety shows too. Quite an all-rounder.

A taste of 'All The Way Up' (1970), with Warren Mitchell and a very mod Kenneth Cranham:  here 

Adrienne Posta - imdb profile

Shane Rimmer

Shane Rimmer: 

† May 28 1929 – Mar 29 2019

Yes, he's Canadian, but his career has been almost exclusively UK-based since 1958, and as he's the unmistakable voice of 'Thunderbirds' Scott Tracy, he now belongs to us. As well as nearly every Gerry Anderson production from the mid-'60s to 'Dick Spanner', he has been the go-to-guy for American character roles in films including 'The Spy Who Loved Me' (1977), 'Out Of Africa' (1985), 'Whoops Apocalypse' (1988), 'Rollerball' (1975), 'Dr Strangelove' (1964) and 'Gandhi' (1982). Disconcerting sometimes in other parts when you expect him to say "F.A.B, Virgil" at any moment.

Rimmer provided the voice of Scott Tracy in 'Thunderbirds' 
In Rollerball (1975)

Shane Rimmer - imdb profile

Thursday 24 May 2012

Dudley Sutton

Dudley Sutton: 

† Apr 6 1933 – Sep 15 2018

The disconcerting, pug-faced Mr Sutton will be familiar to many as the eccentric Tinker from 'Lovejoy', but before that he was best known for a string of menacing, unstable young tearaways and sinister villains in some of the UK's most interesting TV and cinema. Notable films include 'The Leather Boys' (1964, as one of the screen's first openly homosexual characters), 'The Boys' (1962), 'A Town Called Bastard' (1971), 'Brimstone & Treacle' (1982), and of course Ken Russell's 'The Devils' (1971). His TV career covers the classic territory of 'The Saint', 'The Baron', 'Department S', 'Strangers' and of course, 'The Sweeney'. He was particularly good as the sinister Connie Rosenthal in 'Shine On Harvey Moon' and as the sardonic schoolteacher, Mr Carter, in 'The Beiderbecke Trilogy' by Alan Plater. I haven't seen the Gillingham FC movie 'The Shouting Men' (2010), so I won't mention it. 

Dudley Sutton in 'The Devils' (1971)
Dudley Sutton in 'The Devils' (1971)
About to trigger 'a series of small explosions' in 'The Beiderbecke Affair'
Dudley Sutton

Dudley Sutton - imdb

John Quayle

John Quayle: 

Good heavens! It's Malcolm! Terry and June's best friend. Or the harassed groom from the excruciatingly brilliant wedding/blind date 'Rising Damp' episode, 'Pink Carnations'. Tall, rangy and very middle-class, he was also seen on television ranging from the decent ('Doomwatch', 'The Fall & Rise Of Reginald Perrin', Steptoe & Son') to the doubtful ('The Jim Davidson Show', 'Kelly Monteith', 'Nanny', and 'Mind Your Language').

As a youngster, he also played cabin boy hero Jim Hawkins in the BBC's 1951 version of 'Treasure Island'.       

John Quayle - imdb profile

Linal Haft

Linal Haft: 

Tough-looking, bullet headed Jewish actor, who has cornered a certain market in ruthless spivs, tycoons, gangsters and lawyers, which probably says more about typecasting in British drama than it does about his acting range. A more domestic persona was seen in the popular series of BT adverts he did with Maureen Lipman. His best big-screen role was probably as Vic in 'Soft Fruit' (1999), but he was also seen in 'Moulin Rouge!' (2001) and the Billy Connolly comedy 'The Man Who Sued God' (2001). In classic character actor style, though, he has been a stalwart of British television, racking up appearances in 'Minder' (old and new series), 'EastEnders', 'First Among Equals', 'The Sweeney' and several roles in 'The Bill'. I liked him in the Marks & Gran comedy/drama 'Shine On Harvey Moon' where he appeared as the charmingly sleazy black-marketeer, Monty Fish.      

Linal Haft - imdb profile

Wednesday 23 May 2012

Ron Moody

Ron Moody:

Jan 8 1924 – June 11 2015

A more senior and familiar face than some I've saluted. Mr Moody is still going strong at 87. Best known, of course, for his iconic, now controversial, turn as Fagin in the musical 'Oliver!' (1968), which rather overshadows the rest of his career. Other movie work includes smallish roles in films like 'The Sandwich Man' (1966), 'The Mouse On The Moon' (1963) and 'Summer Holiday' (1963), and Merlin in 'The Spaceman & King Arthur' (1979). There are comparatively few TV highlights: 'The Avengers', and odd US cop comedy 'Hart Of The Yard', before hitting 'Holby/Casualty/ The Bill/EastEnders' territory. 

Factoid: He turned down the chance to replace Patrick Troughton in 'Doctor Who'.

And here's a little treat: The trailer for 'Murder Most Foul' (1964) 

Ron Moody - imdb profile

Monday 21 May 2012

Keith Smith

Keith Smith pictured on a rugged coastline.

Keith Smith: 

† Feb 26 1926 – Mar 30 2008

Trim, versatile, dormouse-faced actor whom I always remember as one of Spike Milligan's smiley stooges in the 'Q' series. He was also a feature of such classic TV as 'The Beiderbecke Trilogy', 'Z-Cars', 'Gurney Slade', 'Minder' (naturally), 'Worzel Gummidge', 'George & Mildred', and 'The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists'.

'The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins' (1971) - the RAC man
spots the badge on Ian Carmichael's roller... 

As the punctillious headmaster in 'The Beiderbecke Connection'

Keith Smith - imdb

Clive Swift

Clive Swift: 

† Feb 9 1936 – Jan 31 2019

Tidy and precise sort of actor, often typecast as the timid official or henpecked husband - for example, the long-suffering Richard Bucket in the interminable 'Keeping Up Appearances'. His earlier career included some interesting British films like 'Death Line' (1973), 'Frenzy' (1972), the Dave Clark 5 clunker 'Catch Us If You Can' (1965) and Peter Hall's 'Midsummer Night's Dream' (1968). I'd be disappointed if he hadn't been in 'Doctor Who', 'Heartbeat', 'Tales Of The Unexpected' and 'Minder', but of course, he was.

He was also in A Warning to the Curious, The Stalls of Barchester, Excalibur, and the 1972 BBC 'Dead of Night' ghost story 'The Exorcism' - looking pretty groovy.

Clive Swift - imdb profile

Friday 18 May 2012

Film of the day:
MELODY (1971)

I wasn't aware of this film until I was working on an interview with American director Wes Anderson. He cites it as one of the major influences on his new film 'Moonrise Kingdom'. Starring Jack Wild and Mark Lester, recapping their cocky urchin and sensitive angel roles from 'Oliver!' (1968), 'Melody' is a London-set puppy-love tale blending gritty urban locations with a lyrical, sun-dappled childhood innocence, written by Alan Parker and directed by Waris Hussein.

The kids are meant to be the stars, but for me it's the locations and the brilliant cast of adult character actors that makes it: Roy Kinnear, Sheila Steafel, Ken Jones, James Cossins, Keith Barron, Kate Williams, and John Gorman (of 'Tiswas' and Scaffold fame).

A winsome sunshine-pop soundtrack by the Bee Gees is an added attraction for some, as is the featured Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young song, 'Teach Your Children'.

Apparently it was a big hit in Japan and South America, which explains why the versions you can check out on YouTube are mostly subtitled for those markets.

See it here. for instance.      

Gerald Sim

Gerald Sim:

† Jun 4 1925 – Dec 11 2014

Delighted to find that this distinguished gent is still around, having made his film debut in 1947's 'Fame Is The Spur'. Sixty years is a long time, so it's likely that you'll have seen his knitted brows in 'The Wrong Box', 'Ryan's Daughter', 'Dr Jeckyll & Sister Hyde', 'Oh What A Lovely War!', 'Dr Phibes Rises Again' or 'A Bridge Too Far' on the big screen. 

His TV career stretches from 'Man In A Suitcase' and 'The Avengers' to 'Cribb', 'Ripping Yarns', 'The Fall & Rise Of Reginald Perrin' and the unavoidable 'Bergerac'. A full house.

Gerald Sim - imdb profile

Tuesday 15 May 2012

John Tordoff

Actor John Tordoff as Thomas Knapp in the period detective series Campion

John Tordoff: 

I believe he retired from professional acting a few years ago – and now designs gardens and paints in Cambridge – but he's a welcome sight whenever he pops up in roles as put-upon coppers, harassed officials, and quizzical passers-by. He has a distinctive, slightly nasal, twang to his voice, and his downbeat, measured delivery often serves to suggest a level of intellectual depth and dignified patience, even to the most modest role. 

In a 1970s  advert for Formica worktops, dealing with
a very insistent, out of shot, Brian Murphy and Hilda Braid 

With Robin Nedwell in the LWT series 'Doctor On The Go'

Seen in TV including 'Campion', 'The Sweeney', 'The Rivals Of Sherlock Holmes', 'Citizen Smith', 'Coronation Street' (as three different characters, in '68, '78 and '99), and, more memorably for me, 'Murder Most English: A Flaxborough Chronicle' as ghoulish forensic officer Mr Warlock. 

Delivering his forensic report in 'A Flaxborough Chronicle'

Starstruck at meeting Sherlock Holmes in 'Without A Clue' (1988) 

Film parts range from a tiny role in a cafe scene in 'Billy Liar' (1963) to 'Without A Clue' (1988),  Michael Winner's 'Parting Shots' (1999) and 'Robin Hood: Prince Of Thieves' (1991).

In an episode of 'The Sweeney'

As the Sheriff of Nottingham's scribe in
'Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves' (1991)

As he was born locally to me, in Rochester, Kent, an almost exact contemporary of my dad, it's a particular pleasure to salute him and his work.  

John Tordoff - imdb profile

Jacki Piper

Jacki Piper:

Effervescent and sweetly saucy as lead dollybird Sally Martin in 'Carry On Loving' (see also Richard O'Callaghan) she went on to appear in several 'Carry Ons' and some other minor films in the same year, including 'Doctor In Trouble' and the Roger Moore vehicle 'The Man Who Haunted Himself'. She then popped up occasionally in 'The Two Ronnies' and 'The Fall And Rise Of Reginald Perrin', before hitting the hospital/police potboiler circuit of 'The Bill', 'Doctors' and 'Wire In The Blood' as a run of nice middle aged ladies.

Jacki Piper - imdb profile

Monday 14 May 2012

Frank Williams

Frank Williams: 

† July 2 1931 – June 26 2022

Forever associated with the role of 'his reverence' Timothy Farthing, the vicar in 'Dad's Army', he has rarely been out of television work since the late '50s. Aside from his stock-in-trade vicars and bishops, he has played academics, clerks, salesmen, a hypnotist and various fusty, odd types in 'The Rutles', 'Z-Cars', 'Adam Adamant Lives!', 'Minder', 'Bergerac' and 'Boon'. Also a stalwart of TV sketch comedy with Morecambe & Wise, Kenny Everett, Jimmy Tarbuck and Dick Emery. Timeless catchphrase: "Oh, do be quiet Mr Yeatman".

Frank Williams - imdb profile

Richard O'Callaghan

Richard O'Callaghan: 

Son of the inimitable Patricia Hayes, he is probably best known as the shy tinfoil aeroplane enthusiast Bertram Muffet from 'Carry On Loving' and the idealistic young master Boggs from 'Carry On At Your Convenience'. 

He has aged into a rather craggy and disreputable-looking type, with some Shakespearean stage roles to back up his parts in TV from 'Dalziel & Pascoe', 'Mr Pye', and 'McCallum', to 'Boon', 'Casualty', and 'Heartbeat'-type fare. I should also mention his role in the bleak, bisexual, black-comedy, 'Butley' (1974), with Alan Bates. Directed by Harold Pinter.

Richard O'Callaghan - imdb profile

Saturday 12 May 2012

Jacqueline Pearce

Jacqueline Pearce:
† Dec 20 1943 – Sep 3 2018

RADA-trained, eternal gamine with a haughty demeanour, whose image was burned onto the adolescent beta male retina of the early '80s as Servalan in 'Blakes 7'. Before that she had been the glamour in a couple of low-budget Brit horrors - 'The Reptile' and 'Plague Of The Zombies' - and also 'Carry On Don't Lose Your Head' all in 1966. Her TV appearances include a nice set of '60s cult classics: 'Danger Man', 'The Avengers', 'Man In A Suitcase', and 'Callan'; before hitting the small-screen sci-fi big-time in 'Doctor Who' and 'Blakes 7', as well as some classy period pieces like 'The Edwardians', 'Churchill's People' and 'Moondial'.

In 'The Reptile' (1966)
In the Jerry Lewis swinging London romp
'Don't Raise The Bridge, Lower The River' (1968)

Jacqueline Pearce - imdb profile

Peter Cellier

Peter Cellier: 

Another actor specialising in patrician roles, particularly judges, politicians and high-ranking civil servants - and perhaps the odd supercilious head waiter or shifty ex-officer. He has rarely been out of work since the early '60s, with roles in films including 'Barry Lyndon' (1975), 'Young Winston' (1972), 'Morgan - A Suitable Case For Treatment' (1966), 'Jabberwocky' (1977), 'Personal Services' (1987) and 'The Remains Of The Day' (1993). His TV CV is extensive and stretches from 'Randall & Hopkirk' to 'Yes, Minister' and from 'Rumpole' to 'Jackanory'. 

A giant in his field, but few could put a name to the face.

Peter Cellier - imdb profile

Tony Selby

Tony Selby:

† Feb 26 1938 – Sep 5 2021

A perennial chirpy cockney tough-nut, well-suited to any kind of petty criminal and henchman, as well as bin men, hard coppers, lorry drivers and of course the sadistic Corporal Marsh in the grimly amusing National Service comedy 'Get Some In!'. Film roles include parts in classics like 'Alfie' (1966), 'Villain' (1971), and 'Witchfinder General' (1968), but he found his niche in TV. 'Catweazle', 'Callan', 'Minder', 'Doctor Who' and 'Department S' is just scratching the surface. Saw him drinking in the Dog & Duck in Soho a few times; his wheezily sarcastic voice and frizzy barnet are unmistakable.

Tony Selby - imdb profile

Leslie Schofield

Leslie Schofield: 

One of those long-faced types who often populate the perifery of British drama, appearing as ratty villains, petty bureaucrats, sleazy bohemians and indignant customers. He has appeared in films ranging from 'Star Wars' (as the splendidly named Moradmin Bast) to 'Villain' and 'Force 10 From Navarone'. His TV career started on a moderate high, with parts in 'Doctor Who', 'Softly Softly', 'The XYY Man', 'Blakes 7' and of course modern parent Tom* in 'The Fall & Rise of Reginald Perrin'. Latterly he's been seen in 'Juliet Bravo', 'Coronation Street', 'EastEnders', 'ChuckleVision' and the inevitable 'Midsomer Murders'.

In 'Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased)'.
Leslie Schofield - imdb profile

*It had been bothering me that Mr Schofield somehow wasn't the Tom from Reggie Perrin that I remembered. Turns out that the part was played by TIM PREECE in the first series. Accordingly, I add an annexed mini-salute to Mr Preece here.