Friday 12 January 2024

Nicholas Woodeson

 British actor Nicholas Woodeson in 'The Blackheath Poisonings'

Nicholas Woodeson:

A classic character actor, always believable and technically accomplished without being at all obtrusive. In fact you will have seen Nicholas Woodeson quite often if you have watched British television much since the '80s.     

Or if you've seen some of the bigger feature films of the period, because he appears in 'Heaven's Gate' (1980), 'The Russia House' (1990), 'The Pelican Brief' (1993), Bill Murray's 'The Man Who Knew Too Little' (1997), 'The Avengers' (1998), 'Mad Cows' (1999), 'Topsy-Turvy' (1999), 'John Carter' (2012), and 'Hannah Arendt' (2012), 'Skyfall' (2012), 'The Limehouse Golem' (2016) and 'Paddington 2' (2019). And he's the conductor dragged out of bed at the beginning of 'The Death of Stalin' (2017). 

Appearing in the film version of 'The Avengers' (1999)
On television, Nicholas Woodeson, can be spotted in quite a cavalcade of quality viewing, encompassing 'Poirot', 'Red Riding', the BBC's 1999 'Great Expectations' as Wemmick to Charlotte Rampling's Miss Havisham, 'The Blackheath Poisonings', 'Mapp & Lucia', 'Blackeyes' and 'Rome'.

And plenty of more everyday stuff: 'Doc Martin', 'Midsomer Murders', 'Touch of Frost', and the unavoidable 'Holby City'.

In the concert scene from 'The Death of Stalin' (2017) 

It's notable that he's played a very wide range of characters, from doctors and detectives to scientists and spies. Interestingly, he has also appeared several times as a rabbi - 'Friday Night Dinner', 'Disobedience (2017), 'My Father's Secrets' (voice, 2022), although he isn't Jewish and is a fairly outspoken critic of US interference in the Middle East, where he was born - his father being a British diplomat.    

Tuesday 2 January 2024

Brian Gwaspari

Brian Gwaspari: 

Wiry, resolute sort of character actor, swerving equally expertly through some of the better action thrillers and comedies of the '70s and '80s, Londoner Brian Gwaspari is a more familiar face than he is a name. Getting an initial TV break in the bedsit 1974 drama serial 'Rooms', he soon started to crop up in popular shows such as 'The Sweeney', 'Van der Valk', 'The Professionals', 'Hazell' and 'The Gentle Touch'. He hit the big screen, in a comparatively small way, in 'The Spy Who Loved Me' (1977) and 'A Bridge Too Far' (1977) and was in a European-set episode of the American TV series 'Remington Steele' with Pierce Brosnan.     

After all that burning rubber and gunplay, the '80s saw a bit more comedy and light-hearted material. He had a stint as a copper investigating Roy's car-lot fire on 'EastEnders', and can be spotted in 'Ever Decreasing Circles', 'Help!', 'Roll Over Beethoven', 'No Frills' (a short lived sitcom with Kathy Staff reprising a sort of Nora Batty role in yuppy London), 'Hi De Hi', 'Yes, Prime Minister', and 'Joint Account', surely one of the beige-est sitcoms ever, about a female bank manager - whatever next?    

'Sweeney 2' (1978)

And an episode of The Professionals

Into the '90s and '00s and we've got a dusting of cosy crime sneaking into the mix: 'Wycliffe' and 'Poirot' for example, and a few more sitcoms, such as the Gwen Taylor vehicle, 'Screaming', 'The Brittas Empire' and 'Waiting for God'. On the cop show front, we can see him in 'The Chief' with Tim Piggot-Smith, and the oddball, largely-misfiring 'Virtual Murder' a character-actor-studded 1992 effort that might have attained some cult status if not let down by its dreary low budget feel.    

The Brittas Empire

More recently, there's the short 'Raspberry Ripple' (2007), followed by a single episode of 'Doctors' and a 'Midsomer Murders' in 2010. He's about 75 at time of writing, so hopefully he may pop up again somewhere unless he's got out of the business. In any case, a great supporting actor.          

Brian Gwaspari - imdb