Thursday, 15 January 2015

Benjamin Whitrow

Benjamin Whitrow:

† Feb 17 1937 – Sep 28 2017*

A very well respected character actor, probably best known for his portrayal of the peaceable Mr Bennett in the much admired 1995 BBC version of 'Pride & Prejudice', though he has had a quite slow-building TV career. After serving in the Army, he secured a few roles through the '60s before finding his feet in the popular period dramas of the early '70s, such as 'The Pallisers', 'The Bronte's of Haworth', and 'Clayhanger'.

Losing his patience with his cheeky mod employees in 'Quadrophenia' (1979)     
His officer experience made him highly convincing in roles requiring gravitas and authority, either in actual military dramas like 'Wings' and 'Danger UXB', or as a string of headmasters, politicians and politicians. He played Amundsen in 'Shackleton', Superintendent Braithwaite in 'The Sweeney' and aristocratic socialist Paddy O'Rourke in 'The New Statesman' as well as one-offs in the likes of 'Minder', 'Boon', 'Bergerac', 'Perfect Scoundrels' and 'Rumpole'.  

In 'The New Statesman' with the late Rik Mayall
He has done a fair number of classic dramas and serials, from 'A Man For All Seasons' to 'The Merchant of Venice', and after the mega-success of the Colin Firth-powered 'Pride & Prejudice', there were others in the same vein, including Squire Allworthy in 'The History of Tom Jones'. And lots more primetime drama and comedy throught the '90s and '00s, like 'Jonathan Creek', 'Monarch of the Glen', 'New Tricks', 'Doc Martin' and recently, 'Toast of London'.

As Julie Walters's accountant and client in 'Personal Services' (1987)
In the cinema, you can see him as Jimmy's boss in 'Quadrophenia' (1979), in the John Cleese vehicle 'Clockwise' (1986), and in 'Personal Services' (1987), Louis Malle's 'Damage' (1992), and the Val Kilmer movie of 'The Saint' (1997). He also voices Mr Fowler in the hit Ardman animation 'Chicken Run' (2000). 

*(Edit: Oct 2, 2017. Very sad to hear that Benjamin Whitrow has died. One of those actors who seems like he would be the ideal next-door neighbour. Which I mean as no faint praise.)   

Benjamin Whitrow-imdb