Monday 12 April 2021

David Rowlands

Actor David Rowlands in the '70s British sitcom 'Love Thy Neighbour'

David Rowlands: 

David Rowlands, with his shock of hair and strong features, pops up fairly regularly in Brit TV of the '70s and 80s, and reminds me a little (and in a good way) of Don Martin's cartoon characters from Mad Magazine.  

Rowlands' stock in trade is mainly characters from the politer end of English society: vicars, vaguely aristocratic and upper middle-class types, military officers, doctors, the occasional scientist and the nicer sort of policeman.  

Enjoying classic billing as the 'man with big bra' in 'Are
You Being Served?', facing the daunting Mrs Slocombe.

He first starts to make appearances in the mid-60s in a fairly even mix of dramas and comedy/variety output, but throughtout his career there is a strong tilt to the comedic side. He can be seen in a lot of mainstream sitcoms, on ITV in the channel's finest comedy 'Rising Damp', and its lesser brethren: 'Bless This House', 'On The Buses', 'Father Dear Father', and Love Thy Neighbour'. Over on the BBC, he crops up in such stalwart midweek fare as 'Are You Being Served?', 'Terry & June', 'Citizen Smith' and 'Allo Allo'. He also remained in demand for sketch and variety shows such as 'The Dawson Watch', 'The Two Ronnies', 'Cannon & Ball', 'Kelly Monteith' and 'Mike Yarwood In Persons'.         

Capturing the Abbot family nuptials in the film
spin-off of Bless This House (1972)

Some of the comedy productions he appeared in are now considered classics, witness the likes of 'The Fall & Rise Of Reginald Perrin', 'The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy', and 'Blott On The Landscape'. He's also got a decent role in the Tom Baker-era 'Doctor Who' adventure, 'The Sun Makers' as an inquisitive intellectual in a world of human slave-drones, earning a whole bag of jelly babies for his assistance in defeating a dastardly Henry Woolf

As Bisham in the 1977 'Doctor Who' story 'The Sun Makers'

In the field of more heavyweight drama, he can be spotted in 'Take Three Girls' (and the '80s revisit, 'Take Three Women'), the Boer War saga 'The Regiment', Dennis Potter's 'Pennies From Heaven', and that bizarre ancient-world pot-boiler 'The Cleopatras'.   

As one of the useless Golgafrinchans, sent off into space by
their planet and destined to become the ancestors of humanity,
in the 1981 BBC adaptation of 'Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy'

He's in a very few feature films: the big-screen versions of 'On The Buses' (1971), 'Mutiny On The Buses' (1972) and 'Bless This House' (1972), the Ian Hendry thriller 'Assassin (1973) and the so-bad-it's-all-right-I-suppose comedy horror 'Vampira'/AKA 'Old Dracula' (1974) with David Niven hamming it up as the count. 

In the very silly British horror comedy 'Vampira' (1974)

 David Rowlands-imdb