Sunday 13 September 2015

Ian McNeice

Ian McNeice:
Over the years, Ian McNeice has physically expanded to something like Fred Emney proportions, but his cold, regarding eyes have kept him well supplied with roles on the slightly sinister side of the street. Graduating from LAMDA and joining the RSC in the early '70s, he made a breakthrough into TV with the newly-created Channel 4's star-studded 'Nicholas Nickleby'. There followed a role in the also ambitious, but now horribly dated 1983 mini-series 'The Cleopatras'.      
As Harcourt in  'Edge Of Darkness'
The mid-'80s saw him hit the big screen, in comedies like 'Top Secret!' (1984), 'Personal Services' (1987), and 'Whoops Apocalypse' (1988), but also in dramas such as '84 Charing Cross Road' (1987), Cry Freedom' (1987) and with Bob Hoskins in 'The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne' (1987) and 'The Raggedy Rawney' (1988).
As an antique dealer, straight from central casting in 'Lovejoy'
Television also beckoned, with light everyday fare ranging from 'Bergerac' and 'CATS Eyes' to 'Lovejoy' and 'Minder'. There's also a fair bit of detective doings, including 'Cadfael', 'Midsomer Murders', 'Murder Rooms: The Casebook Of The Real Sherlock Holmes' and Jonathan Creek. Perhaps more impressively, there was the memorable double act with Charles Kay in the acclaimed conspiracy drama 'Edge Of Darkness'.
In the Play For Today 'Miss Pym's Day Out' from 1991

The '90s and early '00s saw an increased demand from the cinema, both home-grown and in Hollywood, with roles in 'The Englishman Who Went Up A Hill And Came Down A Mountain (1995), 'Ace Ventura:When Nature Calls' (1995), 'From Hell' (2000), The Fourth Angel (2001), 'Town & Country' (2001), and 'Bridget Jones: The Edge Of Reason' (2004).  
He appears as Winston Churchill in several Matt Smith-era
'Doctor Who' episodes, including 'Victory Of The Daleks'
As the '00s and '10s have rolled on, there have been good parts in popular TV movies and shows including 'Longitude', the BBC/HBO series 'Rome', 'Doctor Who' - reprising his characterisation of Churchill - and the regular looming presence of Bert Large in 'Doc Martin'. 

Tuesday 1 September 2015

Carol MacReady

Actress Carol MacReady

Carol MacReady:

An adaptable actress with expressive eyes and a face made to convey every nuance of doubt and disapproval, Carol MacReady has been a regular presence on the small screen since the early '70s.

Some prestigious dramas include the 1968 Peter Cushing series of 'Sherlock Holmes', 'The Flame Trees Of Thika', 'Mapp And Lucia' 'The Six Wives of Henry VIII', the Michael Hordern 'Christmas Carol' from 1977, as Mrs Cratchitt, and a regular role in the 1975 Thames series 'Couples'.  

As the sister of Anne of Cleves (played by Elvi Hale, right) in
'The Six Wives of Henry VIII' 
There were also roles in sofa-filling favourites like 'The Sweeney', 'Tales Of The Unexpected', 'The Darling Buds Of May', 'Heartbeat', and more recently 'Doc Martin'. Outright comedy and sitcom shows have included 'Victoria Wood', 'Waiting For God', 'The Vicar Of Dibley', 'Birds Of A Feather' and the dreaded 'Never The Twain'. 

As Kath the Aussie barmaid in an episode of 'The Sweeney'

From 'Never The Twain' it's a short hop to children's television. A big success seems to have been the kids' series 'Bodger & Badger' which was a bit after my time, a patently low-budget slapstick affair that makes 'The Sooty Show' look like PG Wodehouse. Her other children's TV appearances include 'The Return Of The Psammead', 'Danger: Marmalade At Work', and feature films like '102 Dalmations' and 'A Feast At Midnight'.

In the kids' show 'Bodger & Badger', mid '90s.

Alongside comedy and children's TV, she seems to have made a speciality of crime drama, with roles in 'Poirot', 'Inspector Alleyn Mysteries', 'Midsomer Murders', Love Lies Bleeding', and the excellent Dorothy L Sayers adaptation 'Gaudy Night' with Harriet Walter. All good solid stuff.     

Carol MacReady-imdb