Sunday 14 September 2014

Bridget Brice

Bridget Brice, British actress

Bridget Brice:

A great choice for a role needing some glamour but with a confident, business-like edge, Ms Brice may be familiar as Cowley's secretary from 'The Professionals', or from some other cop shows of the '70s including 'Z-Cars' and 'The Sweeney'.  

Damsel in distress in 'Department S'
Further TV appearances include 'Department S' and three different characters in the long-running private detective series, 'Public Eye' starring Alfred Burke. In addition to those Euston Films secretary roles, she also appears in 'Doctor at Sea', 'Doctor in Charge', 'Howard's Way', 'Coronation Street', 'Man at the Top' with Kenneth Haigh, and was memorable as Sal Hawke, a criminal mistress-mind in 'Dick Turpin' with Richard O'Sullivan. She also has the distinction of playing the unlikely girlfriend, Pippa, in 'Sorry!', who finally rescues Ronnie Corbett's timid Timothy Lumsden from his manipulative mother.         

With Richard O'Sullivan in 'Dick Turpin'
Movie-wise you can catch her, uncredited, among the British talent in Mel Brooks' 'The Twelve Chairs' (1970), the ecologically apocalyptic 'No Blade of Grass' (1970), and forgotten caper movies 'Loophole' (1981) and 'Real Life' (1984), as well as a fleeting role in the movie version of 'George & Mildred' (1980). 

With a dashing Frank Langella in 'The Twelve Chairs' (1970)

Bridget Brice-imdb

Wednesday 10 September 2014

Alan Dobie

Alan Dobie in 'Cribb'

Alan Dobie:

Alan Dobie seems a rather dour, astringent sort of actor, but perhaps that's because I find it a little difficult to separate him from the character of Inspector Cribb, as seen in the '80s Victorian detective series of that name. His career on the big screen has been one interesting oddities, with early roles including 'Captured' (1959), originally an army training film about resisting interrogation that has come to be seen as a classic POW drama, and the Brit-noir 'Seven Keys' (1961) in which he plays an ex-con unravelling a mystery while seeking hidden loot.    
In 'Captured' (1959), a military training film that remained
unseen by the general public until 2004

He also appears in the popular Disney adventure serial, later released as a feature film, 'Dr Syn, Alias The Scarecrow' (1963) opposite Patrick McGoohan as the eponymous smuggler, and he's in the curiously seedy Kenneth More drama, 'The Comedy Man' (1964).

In the Walt Disney adventure serial 'Dr Syn' (1963)
For much of the '60s and '70s, he became a stalwart of the television play, appearing in various strands such as 'The Wednesday Play', 'BBC Sunday-Night Play', 'Theatre 625', and 'Play For Today'. He also in some heavy drama serials like 'Resurrection',  'The Plane Makers', 'War and Peace' and 'Hard Times', before getting the starring role in 'Cribb', itself a spin-off from an original play. Other highlights of the '80s include the post-'Secret Army' series 'Kessler', the highbrow, but rather fleshy, drama-documentary about the life of Ingres, 'Artists and Models', and the tour-de-force portrayal of Rabbi Moses Ben Nachman in the medieval religious debate of 'The Disputation'.           

As Prince Bolkonsky in the 1972 BBC epic 'War and Peace' 
As befits such an accomplished actor, he's more often been seen on the stage and is a regular of the Peter Hall Company at the Old Vic Theatre in London and the Theatre Royal, Bath.

Alan Dobie - imdb

Thursday 4 September 2014

John Castle

British actor John Castle

John Castle:

A serious actor, strikingly handsome in a sullen way, looking rather like a cross between Derek Jacobi and Oliver Reed. Trained at RADA, he hit the acting scene with a modest bang, securing early appearances in 'Blow Up' (1966), 'The Lion in Winter' (1968), and the most talked-about TV show of the day, 'The Prisoner', though he didn't seem to quite grab the public imagination like some of his illustrious young contemporaries. He played Caesar in Charlton Heston's unloved film version of 'Antony & Cleopatra' (1972) and the Duke in 'The Man of La Mancha' (1972), but then things seemed to go a little bit quiet.  

As Number 12 in 'The Prisoner' episode 'The General'
At the circus with Charlton Heston in 'Antony & Cleopatra' (1972)

There was a certain amount of television drama in the late '60s and early '70s, such as Johnny Speight's 'If There Weren't Any Blacks You'd Have to Invent Them' and a sprinkling of one-offs like 'ITV Sunday Night Theatre', and 'The Wednesday Play'. His next high profile role was as Postumus in the BBC's toga-ripper 'I, Claudius', which seemed to kick-start another spate of varyingly prestigious work. There are quite a few costume dramas and period pieces, which seem to suit his austere, brooding presence, such as 'The Fight Against Slavery', 'King John', 'Lillie', 'Penmarric' and a Jeremy Brett 'Sherlock Holmes'. He also plays Teddy, the destructive love-interest in 'The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie' with Geraldine McEwan. There were also a few action and police jobs like 'Strangers', 'The New Avengers', 'Softly, Softly' and 'The Professionals'. Not much in the way of comedy.

In the BBC's 2013 Christmas ghost story, MR James's "The Tractate Middoth'
The '80s and beyond have seen more of the same on TV, with the emphasis on providing some slightly sinister class to cosy crimes, ho-hum hospitals and political potboilers. Less cosy, perhaps, was the unenviable job of portraying racist historian David Irving in 'The Holocaust on Trial'. The big screen has also not been as forthcoming with good parts as one might hope, offering only the likes of 'RoboCop 3' (1995), Finnish mid-ocean thriller 'Merisairas' (1996), the Richard Gere Old Testament epic, 'King David (1985) and a few others.   

He is, however, in the excellent Mark Gatiss adaptation of the MR James ghost story, 'The Tractate Middoth', which is where I was reminded of his great presence and ability. 


John Castle - imdb