Clifford Earl

Character & Episode: 1st Detective in You Can Always Find a Fall Guy
Born: 29/08/1933, Romney Marsh, New Romney, England (as Kenneth Clifford Earl)
Died: 30/07/2015, Aylesford, Kent, England


A steady supporting actor, mainly on television and often in minor roles, Clifford made his television debut in 1959 in the BBC serialisation of H.G. Wells' The History of Mr Polly. Clifford's career was at its height in the Sixties when he featured in a number of notable series such as The Saint, The Avengers, Doctor Who and was a cast regular in the children's adventure series Orlando in which he played Sgt Prothero. After appearing in an episode of Jason King in 1972 the frequency of his appearances slowed considerably. He later became a newsreader and continuity announcer in-vision for Southern Television in the 1970s and in voiceover for TVS in the 1980s. His last known television appearance was as a cast regular playing Bruce Jenkins in the series The Upper Hand in 1990.


What is not so well known about Clifford is that he was a founder member of the Porton Down Veteran Support Group. This was a group who claimed to be victims of illegal chemical and biological testing whilst serving in the army. Clifford himself claimed to have been subjected to the Sarin nerve agent whilst on National Service at Porton Down on 4th May 1953. He had been told that the test was simply designed to find a cure for the common cold and he, like others, had volunteered to take part as a result. Two days later, Ronald Maddison, a fellow serviceman died within 45 minutes of having the same dose of Sarin applied to his skin. Years later, many veterans were still suffering side effects and ill health as a result of these tests, and many died early as a consequence of them. In 2008, Clifford's campaigning won 3 million in compensation for the thousands of servicemen who had been unwittingly subjected to these life-threatening tests. Clifford considered himself lucky, despite his health issues resulting from the tests - spondylosis, liver cists, prostate and skin cancer, a heart murmur and depression - and told the BBC in 2004 that, "At least I'm alive and I have had three score years and ten. Poor old Ronald Maddison got only 45 minutes." Clifford was married, to Beth, and the couple had a son and two daughters.


Meredith Edwards

Character & Episode: Hodder in It's Supposed to be Thicker Than Water
Born: 10/06/1917, Rhosllannerchrugog, Denbighshire, Wales
(as Gwilym Meredith Edwards)
Died: 08/02/1999, Denbighshire, Wales


The son of a collier, Meredith started work as a laboratory assistant at the Courtfields factory in Flint. In 1938 he turned to acting and joined the Welsh National Theatre Company, then later the Liverpool Playhouse. He was a conscientious objector in the Second World War, serving in the Non-Combatant Corps, before being seconded to the National Fire Service in Liverpool and London. His film debut was in A Run for Your Money (1949). After making this film, Meredith was offered a contract to go to Hollywood but turned this down - arguably a very brave decision. Staying in Britain he became a solid supporting character actor, building up over one hundred film and television appearances. His last appearance was in the crime drama A Mind to Kill in 1997. Other notable film appearances include The Blue Lamp (1950), The Magnet (1950), The Lavender Hill Mob (1951), The Cruel Sea (1953), The Great Game (1953), Dunkirk (1958) and Tiger Bay (1959).


In his personal life, he married actress Daisy Clark in 1942 and the couple had three children. His son Ioan became an actor and Meredith's two grandchildren Ifan and Rhys are also actors.


Peter J. Elliott

Character & Episode: Wilks in When the Spirit Moves You
Born: 14/06/1930, Sheerness, Kent, England (as Peter John Henry Elliott)


On first look, Peter J. Elliott's screen credits seem perhaps a little limited - only about twenty-five identified supporting roles during a twenty-year career - but there is considerably more to learn. Amongst his television credits are minor roles in The Avengers (1967-68), The Champions (1968) and Department S (1968), and his earliest roles were as a stunt performer. He had been convinced to double for Diana Rigg in The Avengers by director Ray Austin (who would later direct him in Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)) for a fight on, and dive spectacularly from, a seven-metre high diving board and before long he had moved successfully into character parts.


Peter appeared in minor roles in the films Those Naughty Angels (1974), Snake Dancer (1976) and Zulu Dawn (1979). He also worked on television in South Africa in the late 1970s, one of his credits being in The Good Old Gold Rush Days, a programme that paid tribute to Victorian Music Hall. His last appearance was in 1980 in The Ray Bradbury Theatre episode Here There Be Tygers.


What is less well known about Peter is that prior to his move into acting, he was successful in another branch of the entertainment industry - singing. Among his hit records were Your Hand, Your Heart, Your Love and The End, and he was dubbed the Swimming Singer... as even earlier he had been an Olympic high diver, who had competed in the 1948 Olympic Games. A remarkable life, that he continues to live well.


Tenniel Evans

Character & Episode: James Howe in Who Killed Cock Robin?
Born: 17/05/1926, Nairobi, Kenya (as Walter Tenniel Evans)
Died: 10/06/2009, Wycombe, Buckinghamshire, England


A well-regarded character actor who started his adult career attending the British Army officer training centre at Sandhurst (1945-46). Tenniel decided he did not want an army life and left. He then went to the University of St Andrews and studied German and Economics. After graduating he spent three years at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (1949-51), after which he started acting in theatre; in between acting jobs he was a private teacher. His theatre experiences would lead Tenniel to figure in a number of shows in the West End. His television debut did not come until 1960 when he appeared in an episode of Armchair Theatre. From the early Sixties he was a cast regular in the popular radio comedy The Navy Lark playing a character called Taffy Goldstein. It was thanks to Tenniel that Jon Pertwee, a fellow 'crewman' in this radio series,  was persuaded to audition for the role of the Doctor in Doctor Who.


Tenniel's appearances were largely limited to guest appearances in a number of notable television series including The Saint, The Avengers, Doctor Who and Crown Court. He was often cast as doctors, policemen or a men in authority. In 1985 he was ordained as a non-stipendiary minister of the Church of England and he retired from stage acting, although he continued to perform in TV programmes until shortly before his death. Later television credits include Inspector Morse, Lovejoy, September Song, Peak Practice, The Bill, Pie in the Sky, Heartbeat, Hetty Wainthropp Investigates, Casualty and Dalziel and Pascoe. His final screen appearance was in an episode of the romantic comedy series William and Mary in 2004.


In his personal life he was married to actress Evangeline Banks from 1953 until his death; the couple had two children, who both went into the acting profession. Tenniel was a distant relative of novelist George Eliot and illustrator John Tenniel (he was given Tenniel's surname as his middle name at birth). Tenniel died of emphysema in 2009 after a long battle.


Section compiled by Darren Senior

Additional research and presentation by Alan Hayes and Denis Kirsanov

Back to Top