Brian Oulton

Character & Episode: Dr Plevitt in Never Trust a Ghost
Born: 11/02/1908, Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Died: 13/04/1992, London, England

 

Born in Liverpool, Brian always wanted to be an actor right from childhood. He trained at RADA and at twenty joined Liverpool Repertory Theatre, and this led to appearances in top West End plays in London. He made his first screen appearance in a minor role, the comedy musical Sally in Our Alley, in 1931 a film centered on Gracie Fields.

 

During the Second World War, Brian served in the Army and, on being demobbed, returned to the theatre and the screen, becoming a familiar face, often in character roles, eventually amassing over one hundred and fifty film and television appearances in addition to many theatre roles. He was to become associated with playing pompous upper-class roles.

 

He resumed his career in rep at Birmingham and also spent two years on the radio in the Just William series. In 1949, he starred in the film The Huggetts Abroad, had a minor role in the comedy Doctor in the House (1954) and in 1956 he played Mr Paxton in the musical Charley Moon which starred Max Bygraves in the title role and was given good support from Dennis Price and a young Shirley Eaton.

In 1959 he was cast as Henry Bray in his first of four Carry On films - Carry On Nurse. Later that year he appeared in the film The 39 Steps with Kenneth More in the lead role as Richard Hannay. Brian also starred in several episodes of Hancock between 1959 and 1960. In 1961 he played a concert agent in Raising The Wind. The following year he was a guest in an episode of Steptoe and Son and also appeared in an episode of The Saint. In 1963 he was a disciple in the horror film The Kiss of the Vampire, which starred Clifford Evans.

 

Then in 1965 he had a cameo role in the Morecambe and Wise film The Intelligence Men. In 1969 he was cast as Mr Trumper in the television series Mr Digby Darling, a comedy with Peter Jones and Shelia Hancock. Later that same year he starred as Mr Short in his last Carry On (Camping) and before 1969 was over he made his Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) appearance as an eccentric psychic medium. In 1972, he was a regular character in the comedy Scoop with Harry Worth and Sinead Cusack and at Christmas he appeared in the Carry On Christmas television special entitled Stuffing.

 

In 1975 Brian wrote the stage play Births, Marriages and Deaths and followed this up a year later with For Entertainment Only. He remained busy, guest starring in numerous productions which included Happy Ever After (1977), The Old Curiosity Shop (1980) and in 1984 he played Neil the Hippy’s dad in The Young Ones. Brian’s last television appearance came in 1987 when he starred in an episode of Suspicion. He was also involved in the direction and production of plays later in his career. He was married to the actress Peggy Thorpe-Bates (1914-1989), best known for her portrayal of the wife of Horace Rumpole ("she who must be obeyed") in the first television series of John Mortimer's novels.

 
 

Richard Owens

Character & Episode: Police Sergeant Bodyguard in Vendetta for a Dead Man
Born: 26/09/1931, Bristol, Gloucestershire, England (as John Richard Owens)
Died: 03/11/2015, Wimbledon, Merton, Greater London, England

 

A regular supporting actor, almost exclusively on television, who amassed 70 screen credits during his thirty-five-year career. His most notable television appearances included several ITC appearances in addition to his Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) role, in Danger Man (A Date with Doris and The Black Book, 1964 and 1965), The Saint (The House on Dragon's Rock and Island of Chance, 1966 and 1967), The Baron (Portrait of Louisa, 1966), Man in a Suitcase (Essay in Evil, 1967) and The Champions (Autokill, 1969). On a similar tack, he also featured in two episodes of The Avengers (The £50,000 Breakfast and Who Was That Man I Saw You With?, 1967 and 1969). He played Colonel Brandon in Denis Constanduros' BBC serialisation of Sense and Sensibility (1971), and was also cast The Mayor of Casterbridge (1978) and many other roles, with an Inspector Morse episode (Deadly Slumber, 1993) marking his final television appearance. Richard made only three feature film appearances in his career, in Hammer's Vampire Circus (1972), the Children's Film Foundation's Tightrope to Terror (1983) and The Abduction Club (2002), the latter being the final screen credit in his career.

 

In his private life, Richard was married to actress Polly Adams (1931-), who played Mrs. Brown in the Nineties version of Just William. The couple later divorced. Richard has two daughters, both actresses, Susannah Harker (1965-) and Caroline Harker (1966-), the latter of whom is married to actor Anthony Calf (1959-). Susannah, meanwhile, among many roles, was notably Sapphire of Sapphire and Steel in an audio series revival produced between 2005 and 2008 by Big Finish Productions.

 

Section compiled by Darren Senior

Additional research and presentation by Alan Hayes and Denis Kirsanov

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