Wednesday 25 June 2014

Robert East

Actor Robert East, in 'Black Adder'

Robert East:

A trim and businesslike character actor, probably still familiar to many as Edmund's elder brother, the smug Prince of Wales in the first incarnation of 'The Black Adder'. By that time (1983), Robert East had been seen in a fair number of television roles. He was in the BBC's 1972 adaptation of 'Emma' as the rakish Frank Churchill, and in 'Warship', 'Churchill's People', and 'Napoleon and Love'. A smattering of comedy parts includes; 'Dave Allen at Large', 'Moody & Pegg', 'Happy Ever After' and the long-lost Stephen Potter-inspired comedy 'One-Upmanship' with Richard Briers and Peter Jones.  

In the 'did you fart?' sketch from 'Dave Allen at Large'

As he matured in looks, casting directors found him a popular choice for more patrician characters, and he can be seen in 'Rumpole of the Bailey', 'Miss Marple' and 'London's Burning', while still handling a wide range of comedy from the sophisticated: 'Yes, Minister', 'Yes, Prime Minister' and the aforementioned 'The Black Adder', to the more infantile: 'The Kenny Everett Television Show', 'Rentaghost', and 'Allo Allo'.     

The steely face of the establishment, as Dolby in 'Spooks'
In recent years, the dull potage of potboiler cop and doctor drama series ('Heartbeat', 'Peak Practice', Holby City')has been peppered with tastier morsels such as the 2003 modernised version of 'Canterbury Tales' and the silly but entertaining secret service series 'Spooks', or 'MI-5' as it now calls itself.    

Robert East-imdb

Friday 20 June 2014

Stephen Bent

Stephen Bent:

Yes, that one…

Apart from being the genius behind this classic single, he's a rarely-idle character actor with a stocky build, and often a droopy moustache, who has been spotted in an impressive  array of comedy and drama on our screens over the years. To give you an idea, he's been in 'Doctors' about once every couple of years, playing six different characters so far

As the car dealer only able to offer 'Blue Marigold' Toyah Willcox
£900 for her E-Type Jaguar in 'Tales of The Unexpected'
In the '70s he was typically cast as a long haired youth, in the likes of 'Follyfoot', 'The Lovers', 'Z Cars' and Jack Rosenthal's amateur football play 'Sunday Morning and Sweet FA', but as he filled out a little he became associated with a string of parts as workmen, uniformed plod, barmen, prison warders, petty criminals and shortlived boyfriends in shows including 'The Sweeney', 'The Professionals', 'Angels', 'Target' and 'The Liver Birds'. 

In 'City Slacker' (2012), wedged between Tom Conti and Christopher Ryan

In the '80s he seemed to be in almost everything: 'Minder', 'Bergerac', 'Lovejoy', 'Tales of the Unexpected', 'Juliet Bravo', 'Brush Strokes', and 'Casualty'.  Then there were the soaps of course, a fairly full set of 'Crossroads' (ATV were connected via the show 'New Faces' to the Bradley's record label who released 'I'm Going To Spain'), 'Coronation Street', 'EastEnders' and latterly 'Emmerdale' in which he played the seemingly ordinary chap who turns out to be a rapist, Derek Benrose. Since then, you can add 'Truckers', 'My Family', 'Wire In The Blood' and 'Life On Mars' among others.  

As the creepy Derek in 'Emmerdale' 
He was in a few feature films, 'McVicar' (1980), the Vinnie Jones prison football nonsense 'Mean Machine' (2001), 'Ali G In Da House' (2002),  'Les Miserables' (2012), and City Slacker (2012), and he appeared in that supremely odd TV series 'Kinvig' with that other character actor somewhat in the same vein, Tony Haygarth.  

But mainly, this:
'I'm Going To Spain'

Stephen Bent-imdb

Friday 13 June 2014

Pauline Moran

Pauline Moran:

As far as I can ascertain, Pauline Moran is only now about to appear in her first big screen role, in Alan Rickman's period drama, 'A Little Chaos'. As well as directing, Rickman appears as Louis XIV and Kate Winslet plays Versailles landscape architect Madame Sabine De Barra. I don't know what part the most excellent Pauline Moran will play but, after a long career in television, it seems overdue.    

As the estimable Miss Lemon in an episode of 'Poirot'

Best known as Hercule Poirot's resourceful and efficient secretary, Miss Lemon, in 32 episodes of the long-running series of dramatisations starring David Suchet, she has given the part a lot more sassiness than Agatha Christie wrote into the rather severe and spinsterish character. Which isn't to say that there isn't a touch of severity about Ms Moran's attractive features. Her austere good looks have graced such roles as the memorable Cleopatra Berenike in the slightly hysterical 1983 BBC series 'The Cleopatras', while other famous actors made poor headway against the tide of comical costumes and novel video tricks.  

A first glimpse of 'The Lady In Black'
In the 1981 version of Ford Madox Ford's 'The Good Soldier'
She was cast as the disquieting spectre in the 1989 TV version of 'The Lady In Black', but also as the frail and vulnerable Maisie Maiden, deceived by the suave Jeremy Brett in the Edwardian period drama 'The Good Soldier'. Other appearances include 'Nicholas Nickleby' (the 1977 Nigel Havers one), DH Lawrence's 'The Trespasser',  and an episode of Jim Henson's 'The Storyteller' that saw her play the kindly queen to evil king Philip Jackson, later to be Poirot's Scotland Yard connection, Inspector Japp.      

A year before her Poirot debut, with Philip Jackson in 'The Storyteller' 
Trivia: In her early twenties she was the bass player in the all-girl rock group She Trinity (sometimes known in Europe as British Maid, or later, Gilded Cage), and nowadays she is also a professional astrologer. Get your own personal chart from her here.  

With all-girl rock group
 She Trinity in the late '60s.

Rebranded as Gilded Cage, as in 'I'm Only A Bird In A...' 

Pauline Moran - imdb

Wednesday 11 June 2014

Peter Bland

Peter Bland in 'Don't Just Lie There, Say Something!' (1973)

Peter Bland:

An unassuming name for an accomplished actor who has managed to become a highly recognisable TV fixture without ever achieving widespread fame. With his fleshy, expressive face and hefty build, he has appeared in a wide variety of roles from foreign potentates and hearty policemen to dishevelled drunks and sleek confidence tricksters. He was born in Yorkshire, but emigrated to New Zealand in the '50s. In addition to acting, he is a well known poet and playwright in his adopted homeland, founding the Downstage Theatre Company in Wellington before heading back to London at the end of the '60s.       

There have been a few movie roles; starting with saucy '70s British comedies 'A Touch of The Other' (1970) and 'Don't Just Lie There, Say Something!' (1973), and more recently as a major player in some New Zealand-produced films, such as 'Came A Hot Friday (1985), 'Dangerous Orphans' (1985), 'Queen City Rocker', and 'Savage Play' (1995).

In the popular New Zealand movie 'Came A Hot Friday' (1985)
The '70s was a busy time for him, having joined the Bristol Old Vic, meeting farceur Brian Rix and finding his feet in television comedy and drama. He appeared in Rix's political sitcom series 'Men of Affairs', and in 'Dave Allen at Large', as well as the groundbreaking black family comedy 'The Fosters' and the BBC adaptation of 'The Old Curiosity Shop' which starred Trevor Peacock as Mr Quilp.   
As Charlie the shotgun-toting Greek-Cypriot in 'Minder'
The '80s extended his repertoire, with roles in 'Minder', Victorian police procedural 'Cribb', and light comedy in the regular casts of 'Kelly Monteith' and 'Victoria Wood: As Seen on TV'. He was also the guv'nor in the Steve Frost and Mark Arden (you remember, 'I bet he drinks Carling Black Label…') cop spoof 'Lazarus & Dingwall'.  

As the music hall proprietor Samuel Plunkett in 'Cribb'

To find out more about Peter Bland's poetry, click here.

Peter Bland-imdb

Sunday 8 June 2014

Jeffrey Segal

Actor Jeffrey Segal, in 'Rentaghost'

Jeffrey Segal:

† Aug 1 1920 – Feb 5 2015

A true veteran actor, born in 1920, who made his film debut in the sympathetic British version of 'Jew Suss' (1934) with Conrad Veidt. Now generally sullied and overshadowed by the antisemitic version made by the Nazis in 1940, it was London-born Jeffrey Segal's only appearance until the late '50s when he began to act for television.  

Not convinced by Commander Straker's accounts in 'UFO'
By the mid-'60s he'd been seen in such popular shows as 'Emergency-Ward 10', 'No Hiding Place', the BBC adaptation of 'Barnaby Rudge', 'The Forsyte Saga', 'Softly Softly' and a single episode of 'Coronation Street'.

As the '60s turned into the '70s, more favoured names of British television were added to his CV; 'Callan', 'UFO', The Power Game', 'Dad's Army', 'It Ain't Half Hot Mum', Are You Being Served?, 'The Sweeney', 'Fawlty Towers' (in 'Gourmet Night' with the horrible kid who wants proper salad cream) and my old favourite 'The Flaxborough Chronicles: Murder Most English'. 

Another dissatisfied customer in 'Are You Being Served?' 
With the '80s came a stint as the Meaker's unfortunate neighbour, Mr Perkins, in the kids' series 'Rentaghost', plus a smattering of period dramas and a roll-call of primetime favourites, including 'Bergerac', 'Minder', Terry & June', and 'Yes Minister', which sounds like a typical '80s evening avoiding homework to those of my generation.  

'A collar stud? I thought they went out with Clement Attlee…'
With George Cole in an episode of 'Minder'.
His most recent outing was in 'Jonathan Creek' in 2003, but I trust he is enjoying a well-deserved retirement after a very long and interesting career. 

As a boy in the British film of 'Jew Süss' (1934)

In 'Dad's Army', as the man from the Ministry, come to
see a demonstration of the Big Wheel secret weapon.

Jeffrey Segal - imdb