Monday 9 March 2015

Denis Lawson

British actor Denis Lawson as Wedge Antilles in 'Star Wars'

Denis Lawson:

Compact and suavely handsome in a slightly weasely way, Scottish actor Denis Lawson is a stalwart of British television, but probably known only to the wider world - or the nerdier portion of it - as Wedge Antilles, one of the heroic X-Wing pilots of the original 'Star Wars' trilogy. Extra galactic trivia points are doubtless also accrued by being the uncle of Obi Wan Kenobi, Ewan McGregor. 

British actor Dennis Lawson in the 'Merchant of Venice'
As Launcelot Gobbo in the 1973 ITV version of
'The Merchant of Venice'
'Survivors': an episode called 'The Future Hour' from 1975
Up until 'Star Wars' (1977) or whatever they call it now, he had been in an interesting grab-bag of serious drama, typified by the televised version of the NT 'Merchant of Venice' with Laurence Olivier, late night plays like 'Ms Jill or Jack' and 'The Paradise Run', and middle-brow TV hits like 'Survivors', and 'Rock Follies'.

Starring in the DJ sitcom 'The Kit Curran Radio Show'
made by Thames Television in 1984.
The '80s were a bit of a boom time and he appeared in memorable stuff like the quirky time-travel TV play 'The Flipside of Dominick Hyde' and the prescient neo-noir conspiracy crime serial 'Dead Head' as well as getting the starring role in the lightweight sitcom 'The Kit Curran Radio Show'.    

As a jet-setting assassin in 'Bergerac' 
There was also some day-to-day drama and comedy to fill the diary too, 'Boon' and 'Bergerac', 'Robin Hood' and 'Miss Marple', and 'The Good Companions' and 'Victoria Wood: As Seen On TV'. More recently, he had the key role of Jarndyce in the BBC's adaptation of 'Bleak House', as well as major parts in the ghost tale 'Marchlands', 'Criminal Justice' and now 'New Tricks'. I also enjoyed the bleak slapstick of the 'Inside No 9' episode where he played the victim of Shearsmith and Pemberton's hapless art thieves.

Aside from the George Lucas gigs, his film credits include a rare Scottish part in 'Local Hero' (1983) and Jack Rosenthal's clever class vignette, 'The Chain' (1984). He also appears alongside his nephew in 'Perfect Sense' (2011), an example of that under-represented genre, romantic Scottish epidemic-apocalypse sci fi. 

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