Tuesday 27 August 2013

Tony Millan

Actor Tony Millan in 'Citizen Smith'

Tony Millan: 

Unforgettable as the morose, harassed and over-fertile Tucker in 'Citizen Smith', but once he'd lost the Zapata moustache, he also filled nervy character roles in comfy comedies like 'One Foot In The Grave', 'Birds of a Feather', 'Lame Ducks', 'Last of the Summer Wine' and the stillborn Brian Murphy driving-instructor sitcom 'L For Lester'. 

As a gorilla-gram in 'As Time Goes By'

He's also a writer, penning Chris Barrie sitcoms 'The Brittas Empire' and 'Prince Among Men'. He also wrote the decidedly oddball post-apocalyptic sitcom 'Not With A Bang', featuring Ronald Pickup, Stephen Rea and Josie Lawrence. Despite the impressive cast, LWT pulled the plug after seven episodes of nervous laughter.  

With Richard Wilson in 'One Foot in the Grave'

Tony Millan - imdb

Thursday 22 August 2013

Kervork Malikyan

Kervork Malikyan in Minder.
Kervork Malikyan:

I'm stretching the definition of British a little here, but this versatile Armenian-born actor has been London-based since coming to study drama in England in the late '60s, and his face is certainly most familiar to British TV audiences. He played Greek student Max in 'Mind Your Language' wearing a succession of generously open-necked shirts, and has popped up in a bewildering array of assumed ethnicities and roles, equally at home with sinister, silly, sympathetic sleazy or sophisticated characterisations.   

Kazim chases Indy around the seedy side of Venice in
'Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade' (1989)  

Much in demand for the movies, he played Roger Moore's manservant Luigi in 'The Man Who Haunted Himself' (1970) and, more significantly, the memorable Kazim in 'Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade' (1989). Other big movies that you might spot him in include: 'Midnight Express' (1978), 'Pascali's Island' (1988), the remake of 'Flight of The Phoenix' (2004), and the Liam Neeson thriller 'Taken 2' (2012).
In 'The Man Who Haunted Himself' (1970)

As Max in 'Mind Your Language'

Menawhile, British TV viewers became accustomed to his presence in the likes of 'Doctor Who' (in the Troughton-era Cyberman story 'The Wheel in Space'), 'The Saint', The Avengers', 'Jason King', 'The Professionals', 'Minder', 'Auf Wiedersehn Pet' and 'Silent Witness'. 

'The Bill' and 'Casualty' are presumably more or less a formality if you have an agent who can pick up a phone.

Still going strong at 70 and lending a hand to the Turkish film industry after 50 years away in England. Hokay.   

Kervork Malikyan - imdb

Monday 19 August 2013

Nick Stringer

Actor Nick Stringer in 'The New Statesman'

Nick Stringer:

Bullet headed, droopy-tached actor who is often cast as stubborn and belligerent working class characters. He's regularly seen on British TV playing trade-unionists, landlords, coppers, doormen, van drivers and cabbies. Lots of detective and cop shows, as you might expect, including 'The Sweeney', 'Target', 'The Gentle Touch', 'Shoestring', 'The Professionals', 'Bergerac', etc.   

In 'Only Fools and Horses' with David Jason
He's also done a lot of comedy, ranging from the mediocre: 'Bread', 'Rosie', 'Open All Hours', 'Birds of a Feather', to the moderately interesting: 'The New Statesman', 'Murder Most Horrid' and 'This is David Lander'.   

As Alan B'Stard's parliamentary rival Bob Crippen in 'The New Statesman'
Movie appearances include: 'The Long Good Friday' (1980), 'Clockwise' (1986), 'Personal Services' (1987), Roman Polanski's 'Oliver Twist' (2005), and the ill-advised Dylan Thomas romancer 'The Edge of Love' (2008).

Nick Stringer - imdb

Friday 9 August 2013

Tony Britton

Tony Britton:

† June 9 1924 – December 22 2019

Tall and imposing, Tony Britton's smooth good looks could have made him a leading man, but for one reason and another we now chiefly remember him in sitcom fare like 'Robin's Nest' 'Don't Wait Up', 'And Mother Makes Five' and 'Don't Tell Father'.

Back in the '50s, he had a few starring and higher-billing supporting roles in films like 'Loser Take All' (1956), 'The Birthday Present' (1957), 'Behind the Mask' (1958), The Heart of a Man' (1959), and the Boulting Brothers spy suspenser 'Suspect' (1960). All are now largely forgotten, although 'Suspect' (aka 'The Risk') does have a cracking supporting cast with Thorley Walters, Donald Pleasence and Spike Milligan in a rare semi-straight performance.    

'Suspect' (1960)

'There's A Girl In My Soup' (1970)

He was in an episode of 'The Saint' on TV but didn't show up in the usual ITC classics, more often appearing in 'Play for Today' and the like, before landing parts in some interesting films. He was in the Peter Sellers/Goldie Hawn screwball romance 'There's A Girl In My Soup' (1970), the middle-aged permissive era misery-fest 'Sunday Bloody Sunday' (1971) and the perennial dad's favourite 'The Day of the Jackal' (1973), before the sitcom '70s finally beckoned. 

With Roger Moore in 'The Saint'
In 'Robin's Nest'
He's an accomplished stage actor and still going strong at 89. This might bring back a few memories though.

Edit 22nd Dec 2019: Sorry to hear that Tony Britton has died aged 95.

Tony Britton - imdb

Monday 5 August 2013

Bernard Wrigley

Bernard Wrigley:
 Curly headed, mustachioed folk-singer-turned-actor with a rather hectoring delivery and heavy Bolton accent, who must surely have influenced both Bobby Ball and Simon Farnaby. He's appeared on 'Coronation Street' in no less than six different and unconnected roles between 1976 and 1999, which must surely mean that he is the go-to guy for shorthand Lancashire walk-ons.  

Which isn't to say he doesn't have some serious clout with some of the country's best playwrights and directors. He appeared in the Stephen Frears TV productions of Alan Bennett's 'Me I'm Afraid of Virginia Woolf' and 'Afternoon Off', he was the teacher in Alan Clarke's 'Rita Sue and Bob Too' (1987), and he has been a semi-regular for Victoria Wood's ensemble pieces 'Wood and Walters' and 'Dinnerladies'.   

As Mr Trickett in 'Me I'm Afraid of Virginia Woolf'
In 'Brassed Off' (1996)
He was also good as the hard-of-hearing receptionist who had to cope with sales-wanker Gareth Cheeseman in 'Coogan's Run' (pictured, top), and as Dodgy Eric in 'Phoenix Nights' who supplied the club with the unfortunate Bucking Bronco and obscene bouncy castle. 

Big-screen duties have included 'A Private Function' (1984), the aforementioned 'Rita Sue and Bob Too' (1987) and the heartwarming brass band movie 'Brassed Off' (1996). One interesting-sounding film I've not seen is the very-low-budget 'Tanner' (2007) a private detective drama which apparently features Frank Williams (the vicar from 'Dad's Army') as a ruthless gangster. Here's the trailer: click here. Looks like it was shot on a phone.

He's got his own YouTube channel with a nice selection of clips. Check it out here      

Bernard Wrigley - imdb

Thursday 1 August 2013

David Dixon

David Dixon: 

Boyish, pixie faced actor best known for the part of feckless alien journalist Ford Prefect in BBC's 'Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy'. His first big break came in 'Family at War', ITV's wartime drama from 1970-72, in which he played the cynical son Robert Ashton. 

As Prince Leopold in 'Lillie'
He appeared in a very representative mix of good quality television during the  remainder of the '70s, such as 'The Legend of Robin Hood' as a slimy and effete Prince John, 'Rock Follies', and the Victorian bustle-rustler 'Lillie' about the royal admirers of music hall star Lillie Langtry. The '80s brought 'Hitchhikers' of course, but a lot of prosaic schedule-filler programmes as well, for instance, 'Target', 'Boon', A Touch of Frost' and unavoidably, 'The Bill'. One highlight was the darkly comic John Byrne series 'Tutti Frutti' in which he played the extremely unsympathetic violent ex-boyfriend of Emma Thompson's character, Suzi Kettles.      

'Tutti Frutti'
He has appeared in only a couple of feature films: fleetingly in the Michael Palin comedy, 'The Missionary' (1980) and before that in a leading role in the ghastly-looking 'Escort Girls' (1975) which I'm sure he'd rather forget. [Despite which, here's a link to the trailer, which I must warn you, is NSFW, and offensively sleazy, sexist and racist, although it does feature Alan Hawkshaw's 'The Champ' on the soundtrack. Click here.]  

In the seedy 'Escort Girls' (1975) 
In 'A Touch of Frost'. An episode from 1996 called 'Fun Times For Swingers' 

There's a rather odd fansite for him too. Here's a link.

David Dixon - imdb