Monday 30 September 2013

Gary Waldhorn

Gary Waldhorn:

† July 3 1943 – Jan 10 2022

A suave, thoughtful-looking actor, probably best known these days as grumpy squire David Horton in 'The Vicar of Dibley', Mr Waldhorn actually made his TV debut in the trendy drama series 'Take Three Girls' in 1969. Although his episode is now lost, he went on to make a solid career in television through the '70s, appearing in 'Softly, Softly', 'The Sweeney', 'Space: 1999', 'The New Avengers', 'Brideshead Revisited', 'The Professionals', 'Minder', 'Robin of Sherwood', 'Rumpole of the Bailey' and 'Lovejoy'. Before 'Dibley' he was a front-room fixture in the '80s sitcom 'Brush Strokes' as Carl Howman's nemesis, Bainbridge. 

In 'Space 1999'
In 'The Professionals'

He's a very well-respected stage player, with links to the RSC and English Touring Theatre, and has graced the West End in performances alongside John Gielgud, Peter Wyngarde, Eleanor Bron and Paul Scofield. Film work has been less forthcoming (or sought for), but he does appear in Vivian Stanshall's legendary 'Sir Henry at Rawlinson End' (1980), which is a good thing in my book. 

In 'Doctor in Charge'

Gary Waldhorn-imdb

Friday 27 September 2013

Christopher Godwin

Christopher Godwin:

The pinched and narrow features of this very familiar character actor seem to have often found themselves used as a shorthand for petty bureaucrats, jobsworths and sniffy middle-class executives, but a glance at his track record shows some surprising highlights. 

Perhaps fans of TV comedy will be most conscious of his presence, as he turns up in a lot of forgotten '80s schedule-fillers: 'The Other 'Arf' with Lorraine Chase, 'South of the Border', 'Roger Doesn't Live Here Any More' and 'Nice Work' with Edward Woodward. He was in 'Holding the Fort', the sitcom with Peter Davison and Patricia Hodge as a role-reversal army couple with live-in slob, Fitz, played by Matthew Kelly. There was a starring role in the unfunny 'Astronauts', written by Bill Oddie and Graeme Garden in 1981. More interesting was the satirical north/south series 'Snakes and Ladders' from 1989. A Marks and Gran creation with Celia Imrie and John Gordon Sinclair   

Only here for the beer. With Mr McKay in
the film version of 'Porridge' (1979)
On the drama front, see him in: 'Z Cars', 'Softly Softly', 'Thomas & Sarah' and the sun-drenched 1987 TV adaptation of  'My Family and Other Animals', as well as 'The Bill' and the Daniel Radcliffe drama 'A Young Doctor's Notebook'. 

Film work includes: 'Porridge' (1979), 'A Handful of Dust' (1988) and the infamous Handmade Films debacle 'Bullshot' (1983).     
In 'A Handful of Dust' (1988)


Christopher Godwin-imdb

Thursday 26 September 2013

Alan David

Alan David in 'Doctor Who'

Alan David:

A dour bollard of an actor with hidden depths. This trim, ascetic-looking Welshman has had a long career in television, but I first remember him in 'The Squirrels', an office sitcom created by 'Rising Damp' writer Eric Chappell (although some episodes were written by Phil Redmond and others by Kenneth Cope). He played the unlikeable Harry, a snarky expert at office politics, forever putting one over on his fellow workers, Ken Jones, Bernard Hepton and Patsy Rowlands among them.    

The cast of 1970s ITV sitcom 'The Squirrels'
'The Squirrels'

Giving a medical opinion to Trevor Eve in 'Shoestring'
Other TV work includes a full house of  'Coronation Street', 'EastEnders' and 'Emmerdale', 'A Perfect State', the Boycie and Marlene spin-off 'The Green Green Grass', and the '60s-set 'Foxy Lady' as a chauvinist foil to Diane Keen's lady reporter. To that you can add 'Bulman', 'Inspector Morse' and 'Cracker' as well as the Eccleston-era 'Doctor Who' story 'The Unquiet Dead', a Dickensian spooker written by Mark Gatiss
Did I mention 'The Sweeney' and 'Minder'? No need really, but of course he was in both.

In 'The Painted Veil (2006)

As Clement Atlee in the time-travel
dram-com 'Goodnight Sweetheart'

He's been in a few films (see imdb link below), but perhaps has a stronger liking for the stage. He was in the 2009 West End hit 'Jerusalem' with Mark Rylance, and has previously appeared in RSC productions of 'Coriolanus' and 'Richard II'. He also took part in the legendary 1970 art/theatre happening 'Come Together' at the Royal Court Theatre with the Alberts and performed with the Ken Campbell Roadshow.

In 'Inspector Morse'

Alan David-imdb

Wednesday 25 September 2013

Douglas Wilmer

Douglas Wilmer: 

† Jan 8th 1920 – Mar 31st 2016

With his powerful, craggy features, just a fraction too exaggerated for romantic leads, Douglas Wilmer, now 92, has enjoyed a fantastic career as a character actor without ever quite becoming a household name. The list of classic films he appeared in is pretty impressive and includes sword and sandal favourites 'El Cid' (1961), 'Cleopatra' (1963), Jason and the Argonauts' (1963), and 'Fall of the Roman Empire' (1964).    It was about this time that he was chosen to play Sherlock Holmes in a TV adaptation of 'The Speckled Band' which led to a further 12 stories screened in 1965, briefly making him a popular television celebrity. He was seen in a number of quality shows of the '60s and early '70s, such as 'The Avengers', The Saint', 'The Baron', 'Mogul', 'UFO', 'Space: 1999' and, cleverly, as Professor Von Dusen in 'The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes'.         
As Sherlock Holmes in the popular mid-'60s TV adaptation

As King Pelias who sends Jason on his mission in the
Ray Harryhausen epic 'Jason and the Argonauts' (1963) 

There was still plenty of movie work on offer: see for example his turn as Baron Hartog in the fabulous Hammer negligee-ripper 'The Vampire Lovers' (1970) with Peter Cushing, George Cole and a bevy of fanged females including Ingrid Pitt and Madeline Smith.

'The Vampire Lovers' (1970) 

Douglas Wilmer
- imdb

Tuesday 24 September 2013

Paul Bown

Paul Bown: 

Chirpy sort of actor, with that Stan Laurel-esque flick-switch between his happy face and his sad face. He got a start in acting during the '80s, with connections to comedy theatre bods like Mel Smith and Bob Goody. His first parts were in films: a fairly substantial one in 'Morons from Outer Space' (1985), then 'The Assam Garden (1985) and the unappealing Clive Barker horror 'Underworld' (1985).      

In 'Morons from Outer Space' (1985)

This led to a primetime regular-guy role as Malcolm in the moderately popular '80s sitcom 'Watching' opposite Liza Tarbuck and Emma Wray. He also starred in the nostalgic AA-patrolman comedy 'The Last Salute' which failed entirely to catch on, despite ticking a lot of 'Hi-De-Hi', 'Heartbeat' and 'Darling Buds of May' boxes.

Since then he seems to have tiptoed around the perifery of TV with small roles in drama serials, the usual cop and hospital series and a couple of sitcoms: 'The Green Green Grass' and 'My Family'.

As Colin Cakeworthy in 'The Green Green Grass'

He also appears fleetingly as Brighton & Hove Albion chairman Mike Bamber in 'The Damned United' (2009), who briefly secures the services of Brian Clough. Although he looks like a shoo-in when they come to cast 'The Michael Parkinson Story'.

In 'The Damned United' 2009

 And here's a tasty little morsel of '80s nostalgia. Click here.
Paul Bown-imdb

Monday 23 September 2013

Kate Williams

Kate Williams: 

Recently back on TV screens playing Liz Turner in 'EastEnders', she is still probably best known for the un-PC ITV favourite, 'Love Thy Neighbour' as Jack Smethurst's long-suffering wife, Joan, or possibly for her role in the Euston-films drama series 'Widows'. Film credits include 'Poor Cow' (1967), 'Melody' (1971), 'Til Death Us Do Part' (1969), and Jimmy's mum in 'Quadrophenia' (1979). My personal favourite might be her role as Blakey's nurse and girlfriend in 'Holiday On The Buses' (1973). It's probably not hers.

Modelling for the camera club in 'Poor Cow' (1967)
With the irresistible Reg Varney in 'On the Buses'

Incidentally, I was sure that she played Frankie Abbot's mum in 'Please Sir!' but that was the excellent BARBARA MITCHELL, who died in 1977. Sadly there isn't much on the internet about her, but she deserves a salute anyway. 

Kate Williams - imdb profile

Thursday 19 September 2013

Margaret Nolan

Margaret Nolan:

ct 29 1943 - Oct 5 2020 

Prodigiously busty blonde actress and glamour model who features prominently in some classic and not-so-classic British cinema of the '60s and '70s. The iconic opening titles of 'Goldfinger' (1964) feature scenes from the film projected on to her gold-painted body and lamé bikini, and she appears early in the film as Bond's Miami masseuse, and at the other end of the spectrum she is imprinted on the collective psyche as Dawn Brakes in 'Carry On Girls' (1973), wrestling with Miss Fircombe beauty contest rival Barbara Windsor, but wearing a silver bikini this time.        

 'Carry On Girls' (1973)

With Wilfrid Brambell in 'A Hard Day's Night' (1963)

Despite all the cheesecake and Carry Ons, she definitely proved comfortable with speaking roles and gave creditable performances in more serious TV favourites like the tough gangster serial 'Fox' and things like 'The Sweeney', 'The Persuaders' and 'Budgie'. More often than not, though, it was cheeky dollybird roles that beckoned, such as 'Q9', 'Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads', 'Steptoe & Son' and even the third-ever episode of 'Last of the Summer Wine' from 1973.     

As old flame Jackie in 'Whatever Happened to the Likely Lads'

With Valerie Leon in 'No Sex Please, We're British' (1975)

In recent years, she has taken up photo-montage, mainly working with glamour images of herself, which is an intriguingly empowering twist on a career defined by the male gaze. 

'Yeah Yeah Yeah (On White)'.
Photo-montage by Margaret Nolan, 2013


Margaret Nolan-imdb

Tuesday 17 September 2013

Terrence Hardiman

Terrence Hardiman: 
† April 6 1937 - May 8 2023

Steely-eyed, cadaverous, Christopher Lee type. He was memorable looming out of TV screens as Abbot Radulfus in 'Cadfael', and has appeared in 'The Demon Headmaster', 'Poirot' and 'Secret Army'. Rather less fearsomely, he took the classic comic role of Mr Pooter in the 1979 television version of 'Diary of a Nobody', with Sheila Steafel as his long-suffering wife. He was also in the 2010 'Doctor Who' episode 'The Beast Below', the one with the horrible Smilers.

In fact, there seems to be hardly a TV genre that he hasn't conquered. Drama: in 'Colditz', 'When The Boat Comes In', 'Prime Suspect 3', and 'Hannay'. Comedy: in 'Home to Roost', 'Surgical Spirit' and the Dickens pastiche 'The Bleak Old Shop of Stuff'. And a fair bit of kids' TV: 'Chucklevision', 'The Worst Witch', and 'Magic Grandad'.

In an episode of 'Colditz'
'No more questions, m'lud.' In a 1975 episode of 'Crown Court'

I don't remember 'Skorpion', a well-received BBC terrorist thriller series from 1983 that he starred in, but which seems to have been consigned to the corporation's deeper basements. A pity, as it sounds pretty good.

As Abbot Radulfus in 'Cadfael'

In full 'Dr No' mode as 'The Demon Headmaster'
He crops up in a few feature films; 'Pope Joan' (1972), 'Running Scared' (1972), and as Ramsay MacDonald in 'Gandhi' (1980) and Thomas Cromwell in the Tudor thriller 'God's Outlaw' (1986).

Terrence Hardiman - imdb

Friday 13 September 2013

Christopher Beeny

Christopher Beeny: 

July 7 1941 – January 3 2020

A chirpy and genial middle-aged pixie of an actor, who was a schoolboy star as Lennie Grove in the prototype soap opera of the '50s, 'The Grove Family'. To viewers of a more recent generation, he's familiar as Billy Henshaw, Thora Hird's long-suffering nephew in the undertaker sitcom, 'In Loving Memory' (see also Colin Farrell). Or perhaps as Edward the footman in 'Upstairs Downstairs' getting perpetual reprimands from Gordon Jackson's dour butler, Mr Hudson. 

Other TV roles incude 'The Rag Trade', 'Miss Jones and Son' (with Paula Wilcox), as well as 'Minder', 'The Sweeney' and 'Dixon of Dock Green'. He also had a regular part as Morton in the late 2000s dregs of 'Last of the Summer Wine', but in the Burt Kwouk/ Brian Murphy/ Russ Abbott era, long after the departure of his old colleague Thora. 

'Miss Jones and Son'
'The Little Kidnappers' (1953)

He hasn't done much on the big screen: a few child parts in the early '50s, 'The Long Memory' (1953), 'The Little Kidnappers' (1953), and 'Child's Play' (1955), but not much as an adult: an uncredited turn in 'Doctor in Distress' (1963) and a Children's Film Foundation romp 'Pop Pirates' (1984) which also features Roger Daltrey!    

Christopher Beeny - imdb

Wednesday 11 September 2013

Barbara Murray

Barbara Murray:

† Sep 27 1929 – May 20 2014

Sultry, heavy-lidded, but frightfully British actress who appeared in a few popular films in the '50s and '60s, but never quite attained full-blown stardom. She's in the Ealing classics 'Passport to Pimlico' (1948) and 'Meet Mr Lucifer (1953), both with Stanley Holloway, she was James Robertson Justice's unlikely love interest in 'Doctor in Distress' (1963), and she's in the portmanteau horror 'Tales From The Crypt' (1972). 

As the Brit B-movie studios closed and TV took over in the '60s, she won parts in kitsch favourites like 'Danger Man', 'The Saint', 'Department S' and 'Jason King', but was more at home in period melodramas and serious TV plays. Big successes were the modern political intriguer 'The Power Game' and the Anthony Trollope adaptation 'The Pallisers', in which Murray played major roles. But she was also able to play comedy, as in the Frankie Howerd entendre-fest 'Up Pompeii' (1971).    

In 'The Power Game'
In 'The Pallisers'

By the later '70s she was an occasional sighting on British screens, with a rather mixed bag including 'Doctor Who' (Peter Davison era story, 'The Black Orchid'), 'Robin's Nest', and the rarely-recalled 1987-89 serial 'The Bretts' - a sort of 'Upstairs Downstairs' of theatre folk set in the '20s. 

Barbara Murray - imdb

Monday 9 September 2013

Peter Greene

Peter Greene: 

October 28 1945 - March 19 2009

Here's a difficult one. I'm assuming with fingers crossed that Mr Greene is still with us, but I haven't been able to verify it. Things are confused by the fact that there is another Peter Greene in the movies (the American one who played bad guy Zed in 'Pulp Fiction'). 
The one I'm saluting here is the lanky red-headed chap you've seen playing the clueless chaplain of St Swithin's Hospital in ITV's 'Doctor in Charge', or perhaps as Grace Brothers' resident boffin, demonstrating a dummy that drops its own trousers in 'Are You Being Served?'.  

Chrissie's pipe-smoking boyfriend in 'Man About the House'

He appeared in two episodes of 'The Young Ones': as a teacher in a 'Grange Hill' spoof scene with Ben Elton; and as the vicar in Rik's favourite sitcom 'Oh Crikey!'

As the man from the BBC in the 'Dad's Army' skit from
'A Christmas Night With The Stars' in 1972 

The trail goes cold with this sketchy imdb snippet from 2002: 'Works for an independent research company, but still does corporate work and directs local shows.' 

Postscript and apologia:
In my initial post, I inexcusably gave him the credit for one of British cinema's finest 'Fwooooaarr!'s as Henry the clumsy ambulance driver in 'Carry On Doctor' (1967)Click here.  This is of course the late Peter Gilmore. I'm indebted to r lewis for the correction.

*Further postscript:
Sorry to hear, via the contribution in comments below, that Peter Greene passed away in 2009