Saturday 2 January 2021

Dicken Ashworth

British actor Dicken Ashworth dressed in medieval costume in the TV series 'Crossbow'
Dicken Ashworth:

These days, if I were to say the words 'Alan Partridge' to you, you'd probably lunge back with a hearty 'A-ha!'. Well, if you're that sort of person, you might. But, back in the early '80s, those words would immediately bring to mind the image of Dicken Ashworth. He was playing the hefty, sobbing and very drunk sad-sack Alan Partridge, stumbling about the close in Channel 4's new soap 'Brookside', knocking over the bins and yelling 'Why did you leave me, Sam?', while the net curtains twitched nervously in the front rooms of Edna Cross and Sheila Grant.  

As the (very Yorkshire) alien barbarian chieftain, Gunn-Sar,
in 'Blakes 7'. Thankfully, he has his shirt on in this shot. 

Burly, gruff and permanently-moustachioed Yorkshire-born actor Dicken Ashworth made his first TV appearances in the late '70s, but an early memorable role was in 'Minder' as the abusive husband of one of Terry's old girlfriends (played by Sharon Duce). It's the episode where Terry gets a bit wistful and almost gives up all the ducking and diving with Arthur when she tells him the her lad is his son. 

The ominous arrival in London of violent husband 
Ronnie, looking for his wife and son, in 'Minder'

In 'Scabs', the award-winning ITV drama about the
miners' strike, still a very raw subject in 1986.

Comedy buffs might remember him in Norman Lovett's awkwardly surreal sitcom 'I, Lovett', and others such as 'Love Hurts', 'Keeping Up Appearances', 'The Thin Blue Line', The Detectives', and the star-studded but rather clunkily satirical 'Look At The State We're In!'. He also crops up in fun stuff like 'Doctor Who', 'Blakes 7', and 'Crossbow' aka 'William Tell', the international TV collaboration in the 'Robin of Sherwood' mould. 

Norman's neighbour Darren, in 'I, Lovett'

He was arguably more at home in police and action dramas, from the cosy capers of 'Boon' and 'Big Deal', to the more gritty 'Inspector Morse', The Chinese Detective', 'Juliet Bravo', 'The Gentle Touch', 'Hazell'. In addition to 'Brookside', he had soap stints in 'Coronation Street' and 'Emmerdale', as well as multiple roles over the years in 'The Bill' and those old stand-bys 'Doctors' and 'Heartbeat', but he is unusual in avoiding the 'Casualty'/'Holby City' universe.      

A bit of muscle for protection racketeer Philip 
Jackson in an episode of 'The Gentle Touch' 

He was in some feature films too. He's in the fantasy classic 'Krull' (1983), 'Force 10 From Navarone' (1978) and Roman Polanski's 'Tess' (1979). He also provided the voice of Mr Mulch in 'Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were Rabbit' (2005).

So, there you go. Knowing you, Dicken Ashworth. A-ha!

Dicken Ashworth-imdb