Monday 13 April 2020

Patrick Murray

British actor Patrick Murray as Mickey Pearce in the BBC comedy 'Only fools And Horses'
Patrick Murray:

London-born actor, probably most instantly recognisable as Mickey Pearce, Rodney's comedy foil in 'Only Fools And Horses', permanently frozen as a chirpy two-tone wideboy, already something of an anachronism by the time he appeared in 1983.

Patrick Murray had previously been seen in the gritty Borstal drama 'Scum' (1979) and before that, the low-budget 'Moon Over The Alley' (1976) a sort-of musical that dealt fairly unflinchingly with racism in '70s Notting Hill, and 'The Class Of Miss McMichael' (1977) which saw a rigid Oliver Reed and progressive Glenda Jackson clashing in the staff room of a rough-house  London school.      

In the interesting social conscience musical 'Moon Over The Alley' (1975)

  At the tail-end of the '70s there was a flush of tougher social dramas with 'natural' actors and Patrick Murray was able to find a series of roles in these, but his 'authentic' London characterisations were tempered by his slight build and less-than-menacing demeanour which led to a series of comedy parts, including the perennial chancer of the Nag's Head.              
As Dougan in the powerful and influential 'Scum' (1979)

While a semi-regular gig in 'Only Fools And Horses' that ran across 20 years, from 1983 till 2003, other roles filled out the actor's schedule. TV comedies included 'The Upper Hand', 'Shelley', Hale & Pace's 'The Management', and the strangely memorable Robert Gillespie vehicle, 'Keep It In The Family. 

With Glenda Jackson in 'The Class Of Miss McMichael' (1977)

As a lift boy in the feeble 'Curse Of The Pink Panther' (1983)

On the drama side, he shows up in smallish roles in 'Bergerac', 'Lovejoy', Roy Clarke's short-lived 'Pulaski', 'House Of Elliott' and of course 'The Bill'. I'm slightly surprised to see that he never appeared in 'The Sweeney' or 'Minder', which I would have thought were nailed-on certainties. One interesting oddity is 'Big Jim & The Figaro Club' a one-off nostalgic drama about a student who returns to his village for summer work on a building site, it later became a series, but without Murray.     

Playing Enid Blyton's idea of a villain in 'Five On Kirrin Island Again' 

Most recently, he has been starring in his own series - originally to be called 'Brain Damage', but which is now being touted under the name 'Conditions' - a light-hearted (I think) drama about retrieving some escaped mental patients. As far as I can tell, it has yet to be picked up by a network, although a number of episodes have been made - with Denis Waterman joining the cast at some point.    

Still wearing the Mickey Pearce pork-pie hat for the fans 

Feature film jobs since the '70s have been rather thin on the ground, but he can be spotted briefly in 'The Curse Of The Pink Panther' (1983) a poor effort made after Peter Sellers died, and has a rather grisly moment in the Hazel O'Connnor pop potboiler 'Breaking Glass' (1980) as the kid killed during a skinhead riot under the Westway.  Much more recently, he appears in 'Vikingdom' (2013) a cartoony 3D-CGI fantasy movie, although he's not easy to recognise under the world's biggest eyebrows. Here's the trailer.       

Something a bit different. As the wise man Alcuin in the
Norse hokum 'Vikingdom' (2013)
Patrick Murray-imdb

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