Wednesday 27 March 2013

Anna Dawson

Anna Dawson: 

Probably more of a song and dance turn than a straight actress, she made her name in West End musicals throughout the '50s and '60s, but she cornered the market in sassy, no-nonsense dames in TV comedy and variety for a good chunk of the '70s and '80s. You will have almost certainly forgotten seeing her in 'The Benny Hill Show', 'The Kenny Everett Show', 'The Morecambe & Wise Show', 'Larry Grayson', 'Bernie' (as in Winters), the excruciating 'Leslie Crowther Show', and (shudder) 'The Jim Davidson Show'.    

With Bill Fraser in the movie 'Love Thy Neighbour' (1973)

Acting parts encompass comedies of variable quality, from 'The New Statesman' and 'Smith & Jones' to 'Rings On Their Fingers', 'Robin's Nest' and kids' non-favourite 'Super Gran' (playing a character called Wendy Whiplash). A bonus role arrived in the '80s with a semi-regular turn in 'Keeping Up Appearances' as well-off sister Violet.    

In the jaw-droppingly awful 1977 variety special 'Hi Summer!'  
On Malcolm McDowell's lap in 'O Lucky Man! (1973)
Her film work has been more of the same. Dubious tie-ins and semi-saucy comedies: 'Love Thy Neighbour (1973), 'Stand Up Virgin Soldiers' (1977), 'The Sexplorer' (1976) and hitting the odd jackpot, see 'O Lucky Man!' (1973), and cult car-crash, see Kenny Everett's 'Bloodbath at the House of Death' (1984).  

Anna Dawson - imdb

Monday 25 March 2013

Aubrey Woods

Checking passports in 'San Ferry Ann' (1965)

Aubrey Woods: 

Apr 9 1927 May 7 2013

Another veteran with a curious collection of character roles in film and television. Starting in the mid-'50s his rather stern countenance began showing up in some minor cult classics, including: 'Father Brown' (1954), 'Spare the Rod' (1961), 'San Ferry Ann' (1965), 'Futtocks End' (1970), Joe Orton's 'Loot' (1970), 'Up Pompeii' and 'Up the Chastity Belt' (both 1971), 'The Abominable Dr Phibes' (1971) and 'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory' (1971). 

'The Abominable Dr Phibes' (1971)
Television work has included some modest parts in some popular actioners: 'Sexton Blake', 'Cribb' and 'Menace', as well as a '70s double-top of 'Doctor Who' and 'Blakes 7'. Add to that a smattering of mid-table favourites like 'Ever Decreasing Circles', 'Auf Wiedershein, Pet' and 'Hazell'      

And then there's this bizarre artefact, Eric Idle's 'Commander Badman'. Enjoy.

The candy man…'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Friday 22 March 2013

David Janson

David Janson: 

Always seemingly eager to please, this boyishly bowl-cut actor has cropped up in odd forgotten corners of British TV for nearly 50 years, including appearances in 'Softly, Softly', 'Doomwatch', 'Jason King', 'The Fenn Street Gang', 'Dixon of Dock Green', 'Z-Cars', 'Brush Strokes', 'T-Bag Strikes Again', 'Ever Decreasing Circles''Get Some In!', 'The Upper Hand', and Hyacinth Bucket's long-suffering postman in 'Keeping Up Appearances'.

His first brush with fame came as the truant schoolboy in Richard Lester's much loved Beatles movie 'A Hard Day's Night' (1963) in the sequence where Ringo similarly plays truant from the band, kicking stones into the canal and messing around with his new camera.  A stint in the then-popular TV drama 'The Newcomers' (groovy theme by John Barry) in 1965/66 seemed promising, but it's all-but forgotten now.

The nearest he came to front-room TV star status was in the RAF national service comedy 'Get Some In' as likeable everyman Ken Richardson, constantly victimised by the 'orrible Corporal Marsh (Tony Selby). But somehow his leading man status seemed to ebb away in the direction of cheeky teddy boy Robert Lindsay (soon to get his big break as Wolfie in 'Citizen Smith'). Even more discouraging was his short-lived stint in 'Allo Allo', inexplicably replacing Richard Gibson as Herr Flick of the Gestapo in the last death throes of the series in 1992.  

And so a character actor he has remained, and we salute him here.  

As Michael the postman in 'Keeping Up Appearances'

With Ringo Starr in 'A Hard Day's Night' (1963)

David Janson - imdb