Tuesday 28 August 2012

David Graham

David Graham in Doctor Who

David Graham: 

Lugubrious, skeletal actor, probably best known for his voiceover work, more specifically for being the voice of both Parker and Brains in Gerry Anderson's 'Thunderbirds', (not to mention Prof Matthew Matic in 'Fireball XL5' and Dr Beaker in 'Supercar'). This alone is obviously enough to guarantee him cult TV legend status, but he was also partly responsible for devising the voices of the Daleks in 'Dr Who' and providing them in more than 30 episodes, as well as appearances in a more dramatic vein such as the scientist Kerensky (pic above) in the Tom Baker-era story 'City Of Death'. 

On set for the early Gerry Anderson series 'Four Feather Falls'

His television roles have also included classic '60s/'70s stuff like 'The Avengers', 'The Saint', 'Danger Man', 'Till Death Us Do Part', 'Callan', 'Timeslip' and 'Ace Of Wands'. By the '80s he was still cropping up in 'When The Boat Comes In' and 'Howard's Way' and has been seen in 'The Bill', and  'Doctors'.   

As a rather sinister foreign policeman in 'Danger Man'

As befits his exalted position as the voice of Brains, he also did a fine job portraying Einstein in the dramatic segments of the 2005 BBC 'Horizon' programme 'Einstein's Unfinished Symphony'.

Parker from 'Thunderbirds'. Voice by David Graham
The admirable Parker in 'Thunderbirds', voiced unforgettably by David Graham

In the unsettling short film 'One For Sorrow' (2011)

David Graham - imdb profile 

His own website is here.

Thanks to Richard Sanderson for the nudge.

Tuesday 21 August 2012

Peter Vaughan

Peter Vaughan as 'genial' Harry Grout in 'Porridge'

Peter Vaughan:
† Apr 4 1923 – Dec 6 2016

A big man, and something of a giant in the realm of British TV comedy and drama. Emanating an aura of cunning and dead-eyed menace, he is part of the collective consciousness as 'genial' Harry Grout, the Mr Big of Slade Prison in the classic sitcom 'Porridge', forever asking Ronnie Barker's wily, but good-natured Fletcher to run him some little errand. When not in prison blues, he was also Cheryl's dad in 'Citizen Smith' and one of the Fox clan in the tough 1980 drama series 'Fox'.

His acting career stretches back to the mid-'50s and traces a line through most of the cult TV output of the following decades: 'The Saint', 'Adam Adamant Lives!', 'Man In A Suitcase', 'The Avengers', 'The Strange Report', and 'The Protectors'. He also lent his innate gravitas and looming presence to some lavish and heavyweight dramas, such as playing Bill Sikes in an early '60s 'Oliver Twist';  the BBC's 1967 'Great Expectations' (playing Jaggers - the late Ronald Lacey played Orlick); a memorable Long John Silver in 'Treasure Island', and the ruthlessly unprincipled Horace Dorrington in 'The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes'. Coming up to date, he is to be seen in stuff ranging from 'Our Friends in The North' to 'Lark Rise to Candleford' and 'Game of Thrones'.

Peter Vaughan in 'The Avengers'

Sally Thomsett and Peter Vaughan in 'The Gold Robbers'

(pictured above in 'The Avengers' episode 'My Wildest Dream'; and in 'The Gold Robbers' with a teenaged Sally Thomsett)

'Eyewitness' (1970) 

In the cinema, notable titles include: 'Village of the Damned' (1960), 'Make Mine Mink' (1960), 'The Punch and Judy Man' (1963), 'Fanatic' - aka 'Die, Die My Darling' (1965), the Boulting brothers comedy 'Rotten to the Core' (1965), 'Straw Dogs' (1971), Ken Russell's 'Savage Messiah' (1972), and Terry Gilliam's 'Time Bandits' (1981) and 'Brazil' (1985).

Edit: Sad to hear today that the wonderful Peter Vaughan has died. Tue 6th Dec 2016.

Peter Vaughan - imdb profile

Tuesday 7 August 2012

Brian Murphy

Brian Murphy. Appearing as George Roper in 'George & MIldred'

Brian Murphy: 

Best known even today as George Roper, the neck-scratching ne plus ultra of hen-pecked TV husbands – vainly attempting to stand his ground against the formidable Mildred, played by the late Yootha Joyce – in 'Man About The House' and its spin-off 'George & Mildred'. Like many of the most distinctive actors of the '60s he came from a non-theatrical background via the enabling force of Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop in the East End. He appeared in 'Sparrers Can't Sing' (1960) an eccentric, authentic jewel of kitchen sink drama directed by Littlewood, and went on to roles in Ken Russell films 'The Devils' (1971) and 'The Boyfriend' (1971). Between those outings he found a reasonable amount of work in television which was to lead to his eventual place in British culture, these included 'The Avengers',  'Z Cars' and the satirical sketch show 'Not So Much A Programme, More A Way Of Life'. Footnotes include another post G&M series, 'The Incredible Mr Tanner' - with his old pal Roy Kinnear - where Murphy played a hapless escapologist, and 'L For Lester' where he played a driving instructor. 

In recent years he has fallen into the cosy nightmare world of 'Last Of The Summer Wine' as a regular character, Alvin, but his cultural icon credentials have seen a few modern and alternative comedy writers calling on his services. See, for example: 'Benidorm', 'Monkey Trousers', 'The Catherine Tate Show' and the trying-very-hard-to be-a-cult 'This Is Jinsy'. 

And would you be Mr Roper? 

Brian Murphy - imdb profile

Friday 3 August 2012

Jonathan Lynn

Jonathan Lynn; The Knowledge; Jack Rosenthal
Jonathan Lynn:

A versatile humourist and yet another alumnus of the Cambridge Footlights in the golden days of the early-'60s , he's now better known as a writer and director than as an actor – his satirical 'Yes, Minister' (with co-writer Antony Jay) eclipsing his earlier workaday efforts with 'On The Buses', the Robin Nedwell 'Doctor...' series, and 'Nearest & Dearest'. His directorial talents have been employed at home and in Hollywood, on films including 'Nuns On The Run' (1990), 'The Whole Nine Yards' (2000), 'My Cousin Vinny' (1992) with Joe Pesci, and the ill-starred 'Sgt Bilko' (1996) with Steve Martin in the Phil Silvers role. 

He is also a first cousin of the neurologist Oliver Sacks, author of 'Awakenings' and 'The Man Who Mistook His Wife For A Hat'.

As an actor, you might remember his cheeky, newborn chick features from TV gems like 'The Knowledge', 'Bar Mitzvah Boy', 'The Liver Birds' and 'Colditz'. Or perhaps as the window cleaner who gets the wrong idea when Barbara suggests 'some other way to pay' in 'The Good Life' (pictured above, considering the possibilities). Or movie bit parts in 'Prudence & The Pill' (1968), 'Breaking Glass' (1980) and 'The House That Dripped Blood' (1971). Or you might not.

Jonathan Lynn - imdb profile