Saturday 21 July 2012

Robert Gillespie

Robert Gillespie in 'Keep It In The Family'

Robert Gillespie:

Strange, impish character actor with a distinctive 'halting and blinking' delivery. He trained at RADA, which may account for his ability to be memorable and compelling in a lot of fairly slight and minor roles. His star turn in the seemingly bland family sitcom 'Keep It In The Family' was notable for his portrayal of the childlike, manically depressed Dudley Rush - a comic-strip artist with a hinted history of breakdowns and mental issues who lives with his attractive, supportive wife (played by Pauline Yates, echoing her performance in 'Reggie Perrin') and pert grown-up daughters. He only draws when holding the pen with a glove-puppet lion...  

Other TV roles include the unhappy transvestite Mr Mince in the first episode of 'Agony', the fair-minded chairman of the residents association, Mr Carter, in 'The Good Life', and the long suffering police sergeant in 'Man About The House' who was to become a recurring character extending even unto the realms of 'George & Mildred'. His resume stretches back to the '60s, and includes comedy like 'Dad's Army', 'Up Pompeii', 'Porridge', 'Rising Damp' and 'The Liver Birds'. There's a smattering of cult classics too: 'The Avengers', The Sweeney', 'Doomwatch', 'The Survivors', and the rather forgotten kids adventure series 'The Freewheelers'.

On the big screen, watch out for him in 'Otley' (1968), 'Frankenstein Must Be Destroyed' (1969). 'The National Health' (1973), 'Barry MacKenzie Holds His Own' (1974), and of course he played the AA man in my old favourite, 'The Magnificent Seven Deadly Sins' (1971).

A scandal of some sort cut his on-screen career short in the '90s, but he is still acting and an innovative and successful director and writer for the stage.

But this is the good stuff, to my way of thinking: from 'Whatever Happened to The Likely Lads?'
Robert Gillespie - imdb profile

1 comment:

  1. I read an article on Robert the other day, where he mentioned he'd written the (at the time) highly controversial 'Which?' guide sketch on religion for That Was The Week That Was. It seems David Frost, who presented the sketch, never quite claimed credit for writing the piece but didn't deny it either.

    Robert also talked about repertory theatre, and although the likes of Ian McKellen have lamented the loss of rep as a training ground for young actors, Robert said he was pleased it was no longer around as he felt it often short-changed the audience, with plays - which were frequently substandard - turned around too quickly and actors just out of their teens playing 70-year-olds.

    Apparently Keep It in the Family ended due to new writers and another director being brought in who, according to Robert, weren't of the same standard as Brian Cooke and the previous director.