Monday 29 July 2013

Stephen Greif

Stephen Greif:

† Aug 26 1944 – Dec 23 2022

A face made to play villains, sleekly handsome and slightly sinister. He was able to play it for laughs in 'Citizen Smith' with Robert Lindsay, where he portrayed local gangster Harry Fenning, usually involving the line 'Hello Trotsky, I need you to do me a little favour'…

He also sticks in the memory as Travis in 'Blakes 7', complete with sci-fi eyepatch and lots of black leather, generally outdoing Avon in the evil stakes.   

Other notable TV roles included parts in 'Edward II', 'The Persuaders', 'The New Avengers'. 'Dirty Money' (with Ian Macshane), 'Doctor Who' and 'The Lives and Loves of a She-Devil'. He also pops up in diverse stuff ranging from in 'Dick Turpin', 'Return of the Saint' and US detective nonsense 'Hart to Hart', to 'Waking the Dead', 'Mistresses', 'Spooks', 'Space Race', 'Holby City', Dennis Potter's 'Midnight Movie', 'Minder', 'EastEnders' and 'The Bill'.

An entertaining episode of  'The Persuaders' with Terry-Thomas

'The New Avengers'

Film roles include 'No Sex Please, We're British' (1974),  'Boogie Woogie' (2009), 'Shoot on Sight' (2008), 'Eichmann' (2008), 'Back in Business' (2007), 'Sixty Six' (2006), 'Casanova' (2006), 'The Upside of Anger' (2005), 'Fakers' (2004) and 'Spartan' (2004).

Stephen Greif - imdb

Friday 26 July 2013

Clifford Rose

Clifford Rose:

† Oct 24 1929 – Nov 6 2021

Neat and precise, in a sinister, ruthless sort of way, Clifford Rose will forever be associated with the role of Kessler of the Gestapo in the '70s TV drama 'Secret Army', now difficult to watch after years of gormless lampooning in 'Allo Allo'. So compelling was the character, however, that there was also a spin-off, 'Kessler' which saw him as a Nazi war-criminal businessman in South America, being hunted down by former members of the Resistance.

In 'Marat/Sade' (1967)

Before Kessler, he played a number of TV roles including Dr Snell in 'Callan' and as the ambitious journalist Quintus Slide in 'The Pallisers', as well as appearing in 'Softly Softly', 'Warship', 'Van der Valk', 'Follyfoot', 'Doctor Who' and the star-studded series of Lord Peter Wimsey stories from 1972, 'The Unpleasantness at the Ballona Club'.        

Consulting EDNA the computer in 'Callan'.
(Plus chain-smoking Peter Sallis in white coat.)

In the Tom Baker-era 'Doctor Who' story, 'Warrior's Gate'
Post-Kessler, he was seen in a steady stream of decent mid-table stuff including 'Inspector Morse', 'Minder', 'Oxford Blue', 'G.B.H' and 'Foyles War'.

His cinema credits are an interesting mix, running from 'Marat/Sade' (1967) and 'Work is a Four Letter Word' (1968), to the movie version of 'Callan' (1974), and recent stuff like 'Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides' (2011) and the Glenn Close Thatcher pic 'The Iron Lady' (2011).  

Clifford Rose - imdb

Wednesday 24 July 2013

Lee Montague

Lee Montague:

The faintly mysterious and baleful good looks of veteran actor Lee Montague did net him a couple of leading man roles but his long career is mostly one of solid supporting performances. He was born in London, from a liberal Jewish background, but in the days before political correctness (perhaps calling it cultural respect would make it less of a Daily Mail bugbear – probably not) he was often cast in 'more exotic' roles. From a number of Japanese officers, as in 'Camp On Blood Island' (1958), or in TV's 'The Baron', to a string of Spaniards, Russians, Greeks, Mexicans, Chinese and points between.

The inscrutable face of the Orient in 'The Baron'

The golden age of British TV in the '60s gave him plenty of work, including 'Danger Man', 'The Baron', and 'Department S', alongside lots of Wednesday plays and weightier series. In the '70s and '80s he crops up in 'Quiller', 'The Sweeney', 'Jesus of Nazareth' (as the prophet Habbukuk), and 'Space 1999'. He was also the star of the not-much-remembered ITV football comedy 'Feet First'.             

In 'How I Won The War' (1967).
As the composer's father in 'Mahler' (1974)

In the cinema, he appears in a string of '50s and '60s war pics, including: 'Silent Enemy' (1958), 'Foxhole in Cairo' (1960), and the Richard Lester satire 'How I Won the War' (1967), memorably teaching army drill to John Lennon, Roy Kinnear and Ronald Lacey. Other movie jobs include 'Moulin Rouge' (1952), 'Billy Budd' (1962),  'Mahler' (1974), 'The Best Pair of Legs in the Business' (1975), and 'Silver Dream Racer' (1980).

Trivia: (Yes, I know it's all trivia.) He was the very first storyteller on the BBC's long-running children's programme 'Jackanory'.             

Lee Montague - imdb

Tuesday 23 July 2013

Penny Spencer

Penny Spencer 

Classic '60s/'70s dolly bird actress noticeable for her wide toothy smile, short miniskirts and mega-eyelashes. She's probably best remembered today for playing Sharon, the bombshell of 5C in 'Please Sir', causing John Alderton's Mr Hedges to loosen his collar on numerous occasions. Despite this, in 1971 she was replaced in the role by the perkier, but less sassy 'Carry On' actress Carol Hawkins, who was also in the movie version and later spin-off 'The Fenn Street Gang'. 
In 'Please Sir!' with Peter Cleal

'Count Down to Danger' (1967)
She seems to have retired from acting after the probably dispiriting experience of appearing (with old 'Please Sir!' chum Peter Cleal) in the smutty comedy 'Under the Doctor' (1976) and the dismal Mary Millington sex romp 'The Playbirds' (1978). 

In an episode of 'Paul Temple' with George Baker and
Ros Drinkwater, wife and co-star of Francis Matthews 

Before that she had been seen in better stuff like 'Georgy Girl' (1966) and 'The Whisperers' (1967) with the mighty Avis Bunnage. She also starred as the resourceful Sue in the Children's Film Foundation's 'Count Down to Danger' (1967), a 'Screen Test' favourite. 

'The Whisperers' (1967)
The final straw? Stripping off for Glynn (Winchester Club) Edwards and
Gavin ('That's Life') Campbell in 'The Playbirds' (1978)

On TV, her role as Sharon overshadows fleeting appearances in 'Man in a Suitcase', 'UFO' and Derek Nimmo's 'All Gas and Gaiters'. As far as I can discover, she disappeared off the celebrity radar without a trace. I hope she is doing well.       

Penny Spencer - imdb