Tuesday 11 June 2013

Lance Percival

Lance Percival: 

† 26 July 1933 – 6 January 2015

The unmistakable, agile and angular features of John Lancelot Blades Percival - that long crooked nose and the teeth seemingly trying to escape from under his jutting upper lip - combined with his quickfire delivery and timing to make him a comedy star of the '60s. He featured in a string of middling movies as a sure pair of hands for dimwit and klutz roles. He's in 'Carry On Cruising' (1962) of course, as the bilious ship's cook (Charles Hawtrey pulled out with only a few days until filming), and there was a solid run of jokey parts through the early part of  the decade

'The Big Job' (1965)
The lucky break with the 'Carry On…' team probably helped his profile, but possibly not as much as his regular appearances on television's 'That Was The Week That Was', where he was a natural fit for the satirical skits and he became a household name for his topical calypso numbers. One of these, 'Shame and Scandal in the Family', was a Top 40 hit in 1965. As the decade wore on, his combination of wacky charm and anti-establishment credentials saw him in demand for pop-music tie-ins, like voice-over work on the Beatles animated adventures (he was Paul and Ringo) which led to him voicing Old Fred in 'Yellow Submarine' (1968). Less memorably, he also featured in Herman's Hermits 'Mrs Brown You've Got A Lovely Daughter' the same year. 

An interesting aside is the Italian thriller 'The Weekend Murders' (1970) which saw him in a leading role, albeit stylised and semi-comic. Shame and scandal was to follow however, when the Kent-born actor was involved in a road accident on the A20 in which his Jaguar XJ6 was alleged to be racing with another similar car. An unfortunate Rainham man was killed in the resulting smash       

'The Weekend Murders' (1970)

Whether or not the accident had anything to do with it, work post '70 was a bit less fun. There were movie roles in 'Up Pompeii' (1971) and its follow-ups, and similar British smutty comedies of the period: 'Our Miss Fred' (1972), leading to 'Confessions from a Holiday Camp' (1977) and 'Rosie Dixon: Night Nurse' (1978). All rather poor. 

With Danny LaRue in 'Our Miss Fred' (1972)
TV work kept coming, though rather intermittently by the '80s, and these days he makes a living on the after-dinner speaking circuit.  

Update 9/1/15: Sorry to hear that Lance Percival died on January 6 after a long illness.   

Lance Percival - imdb

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