Anthony Sagar

Character & Episode: Hotel Proprietor in My Late, Lamented Friend and Partner
Born: 19/06/1920, Burnley, Lancashire, England
Died: 24/01/1973, Kensington, London, England

 

A well-known character actor from the Fifties and Sixties, though only a supporting cast member. Anthony gave some excellent cameos in his screen career. Despite a career in which he contributed to nearly a hundred screen productions, Anthony did not make his screen debut until 1956 at 36, when he had a small uncredited role in the film Sailor Beware.

 

Further small screen roles, often uncredited, followed. In 1958 he made the first of eight contributions to the Carry On film series, as a stores sergeant in Carry On Sergeant, and over the next dozen years he would appear occasionally in the odd cameo role (though his last scenes, in Carry On Henry, ended up on the cutting room floor). His 1970 cameo as a patient in bed in Carry On Loving is a highlight of his association with the Carry Ons. Also in 1958, he figured in the film I Was Monty's Double which also starred John Mills and Cecil Parker. 1959 saw Anthony gain his biggest role to date as the footman James in the series The Moonstone; Anthony was to appear in six episodes. In 1961 he played a police sergeant in the soap Coronation Street, and two years later starred in the Steptoe and Son episode Full House. From 1960 to 1964 he was a regular guest in the crime series No Hiding Place, portraying a character called Dave Butler. Anthony also featured in a 1969 episode of The Avengers, Take-Over. He was also a regular guest player in two police series: Dixon of Dock Green (from 1956 to 1969) and  Z Cars (from 1962 to 1970).

 

Later television appearances included Dads Army (1969 to 1970), The Onedin Line (1971), The Fenn Street Gang (1971) and in 1972 he was a cast regular playing Detective Sergeant Watson in It's Murder But Is It Art?, which also starred Arthur Lowe and Dudley Foster. Anthony's last screen role was recorded late in 1972 when he starred as an inspector in the comedy series Upper Crusts. Shortly after this, he died suddenly in January 1973, and Upper Crusts was screened posthumously. As well as being a fine character actor, Anthony was a keen cricket fan and played in many charity matches for the Lord's Taverners.

 
 

Leslie Schofield

Character & Episode: Peter in Who Killed Cock Robin?
Born: 12/12/1938, Oldham, Lancashire, England

 

A busy and reliable actor throughout a career in which Leslie has featured in in excess of one hundred screen productions. As a youth, Leslie became rebellious after his parents split and later divorced. He gained stability and a direction in life when he spent two years in the Royal Navy, after which he spent several years in the Fleet Air Arm. It was here that he began acting.

 

Leaving the Navy, he decided to try acting and made his screen debut in 1969 in the sci-fi horror The Body Stealers, his minor role in Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) following shortly afterwards. He soon became a familiar face on British television, appearing in many well-known series of the time. He also appeared as Chief Bast, an Imperial Officer aboard the doomed Death Star in George Lucas' phenomenally successful Star Wars (1977). Other sci-fi appearances include two Doctor Who stories - The War Games (1969) and The Face of Evil (1977) - and as ruthless prison ship officer Sub-Commander Raiker in the Blake's 7 episode Space Fall.

 

He is perhaps most famously remembered for his 1997-2000 role as Jeff Healy in the popular soap opera, EastEnders. His character was famous for unsuccessfully proposing to Pauline Fowler (played by Wendy Richard). His most recent television appearance was in 2006 in the popular detective series Midsomer Murders.

 
 

Alex Scott

Character & Episode: Donald Seaton in The Smile Behind the Veil
Born: 18/09/1929, Australia
Died: 25/06/2015, Toorak, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

 

Australian born Alex grew up in Ballarat in Victoria. He was educated there at St Patrick's College, and he later attended Xavier College in Melbourne. He moved to England in the mid-Fifties to pursue an acting career, having completed a couple of years in repertory theatre in Melbourne. He made his television debut in 1955 appearing in London Playhouse. Over the next twenty years he established himself as a solid character actor, appearing in many popular television series. These included The Avengers, Danger Man, The Saint and The Smile Behind the Veil, which was screened as the final episode of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). In addition to his television output, he also had a number of prominent roles in films such as Fahrenheit 451, Darling, The Abominable Dr Phibes and The Blue Max.

 

Alex notched up nearly one hundred film and television credits during his career which lasted nearly sixty years. He moved back to Australia in 1981 and, although his output slowed, he appeared in a number of Australian films, including Next of Kin, Sky Pirates, Now and Forever, Romper Stomper and Remembering Nigel. Alex was also a founder member of the Melbourne Theatre Company, and he also won the Tony Award four times. His last screen appearance was in 1997, when he featured in the Australian television series Janus. He continued to act in theatre until he was nearly eighty.

He was married to Barbara Potger, a cousin of Keith Potger from the Australian pop group The Seekers. The couple had two sons and a stepdaughter.

 
 

George Sewell

Character & Episode: Eric Jansen in Vendetta for a Dead Man
Born: 31/08/1924, Hoxton, London, England
Died: 01/04/2007, London, England

 

George Sewell was a popular actor whose rugged, pockmarked features were offset with a voice that made viewers warm to many of his characters and performances. Born in the East End of London, his father had been a professional boxer. Once George had grown up, he served in the RAF during the Second World War. Afterwards he drifted from job to job, most notably working as a steward on the cruise liners RMS Queen Mary and RMS Queen Elizabeth.

 

It was not until a chance encounter with the actor Dudley Sutton in a pub that George was persuaded to try his luck as an actor. He shortly afterwards was successful in an audition to join Joan Littlewood’s Theatre Workshop, though he was by now 35. Joan’s company helped launch the careers of many actors such as Barbara Windsor, Sheila Hancock, Harry H. Corbett and fellow Randall and Hopkirk guest actor Dudley Foster.

 

George's cockney upbringing made him ideal for casting directors and in 1963 he put his gifts to good use in the Theatre Workshop production of Oh, What A Lovely War! and early film roles such as those in This Sporting Life and The Informers. From the early Sixties until his last appearance in 2006 George remained a busy actor and could play straight roles or comedy and would register well over one hundred appearances in television and film.

 

A role he is fondly remembered for came in 1970 when he played the role of Colonel Alec Freeman in the science fiction series UFO, which featured Ed Bishop and Michael Billington. Sadly, he was dropped overnight after 17 of the 26 episodes had been made when Abe Mandell, head of the American arm of the show's commissioning company ITC, issued an instruction to producer Gerry Anderson: "The guy with the pockmarked face - get rid of him!" And that was an end of one of the most popular characters in the series...

 

Unusually in an era in which stereotyping was rife in the entertainment business, George's sandblasted features and shifty, haunted looks made him ideal for playing villainous characters or hard-bitten detectives and as such was regularly cast in roles on both sides of the law. He was a gangster colleague of Michael Caine's Jack Carter in Mike Hodges classic feature film Get Carter (1971), but was just as convincing as good guys in police dramas such as when playing DCI Alan Craven in the revamped Special Branch film series of 1973-74. His final regular role, as Superintendent Cottam in the joyous situation comedy The Detectives (1993-97) alongside Jasper Carrott and Robert Powell, acted as a wry parody of his Special Branch role.

 

In the last decade of his career, the frequency of George’s screen appearances slowed as he has moved to the South of France, though he would die in London aged 82, from cancer. George had been married with one child. His brother was Danny Sewell (1930-2001), who was a promising light-heavyweight boxer whose sporting career was ended by polio, after which he, like older brother George, went into acting, mainly in bit-parts, though he did play Bill Sikes in the original stage production of Oliver! and later toured the USA.

 
 

Anne Sharp

Character & Episode: Fay Sorrensen in My Late, Lamented Friend and Partner
Born: 1934, Haltwhistle, Northumberland, England
Died: 23/06/2010, London, England

 

A supporting actress seen mainly in the late Fifties and the Sixties. Although she made less than twenty screen appearances, Anne though did appear in some classic television series. These included The Saint, The Champions, The Baron and her main role was playing Nicola Harvester in seven episodes of Jason King, which starred the flamboyant Peter Wyngarde.

 

Anne was married to ITC producer Monty Berman from 1956 until his death in 2006. During their time together, Anne appeared in several of her husband's productions including a duo of horror films in the late Fifties: The Crawling Eye and Jack the Ripper. Berman was of course producer of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased).

 
 

Michael Sheard

Characters & Episodes: Supermarket Manager in Money to Burn
and German Commentator in Somebody Just Walked Over My Grave
Born: 18/06/1938, Aberdeen, Scotland (as Michael Lawson Perkins)
Died: 31/08/2005, Newport, Isle of Wight, England

 

A popular character actor, Michael Sheard's career is almost certainly remembered for his roles in three productions - Grange Hill, Doctor Who and the first Star Wars film - with an honorable mention for having played Adolf Hitler on no less than five occasions during his career (in Rogue Male (1976), The Tomorrow People: Hitler's Last Secret (1978), The Dirty Dozen: Next Mission (1985), Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) and the documentary Secret History: Hitler of the Andes (2003). Remarkably, he also played Heinrich Himmler and Hermann Göring's double in a long career - obviously no-one noticed he was Scottish and not Austrian or German...

 

His character - Admiral Ozzel's - death scene at the hands of Darth Vader in Star Wars elicited an unexpected compliment from director George Lucas: "That's the best screen death I've ever seen," he is reputed to have told Sheard. The Star Wars connection led to Sheard being feted at conventions and other Star Wars events, something he took to with good humour and enthusiasm.

 

He did much the same regarding his Doctor Who connections and kept in touch with many fans up to his death in 2005. He appeared with most of the classic series Doctors: with William Hartnell in The Ark (1965), Jon Pertwee in The Mind of Evil (1971), Tom Baker in Pyramids of Mars (1975) and The Invisible Enemy (1977), Peter Davison in Castrovalva (1982), Sylvester McCoy in Remembrance of the Daleks (1988) and Paul McGann, on audio in The Stones of Venice (2001).

 

But it is probably for Grange Hill, as the overbearing, bewigged Deputy Headteacher Mr Bronson, that Sheard will be remembered for. He played the role for five series and entered the cult history books. The character wasn't entirely unlikeable, indeed he was passionate about teaching languages, and was once placed in a 'TV's Biggest Bastard' poll. Sheard later commented that "I was very pleased that when they voted for Mr Bronson ... that he actually came in at number 4, and not number 1, because he did have that kind side."

 

In his personal life, Michael was married to Rosalind Muir from 1961 until his death. He was survived by his wife and their three children, two sons: Simon and Rupert and a daughter Susanna.

 
 

William Squire

Character & Episode: Sam Seymour in A Sentimental Journey
Born: 29/04/1916, Neath, Glamorgan, England
Died: 03/05/1989, London, England

 

A solid character actor who notched up numerous theatre, film and television credits during a career that spanned nearly forty years. William did not become a regular stage actor until after the age of 30. He made his television debut in the crime drama film The Long Dark Hall in 1951. It was not until the mid-Fifties that he started working on the big screen, mainly in movies such as The Man Who Never Was and Alexander The Great (both 1956). By the end of the decade he had become a regular on the BBC appearing in such series as Pride and Prejudice, Hilda Lessways, How Green Was My Valley and The Verdict Is Yours.

 

As a stage actor, William performed at Stratford-upon-Avon and at the Old Vic, and notably replaced his fellow-countryman Richard Burton as King Arthur in Camelot at the Majestic Theatre on Broadway (and became a good friend of Burton and Elizabeth Taylor). In the Sixties he continued to be busy in television and theatre and in 1968 he played Thomas in Where Eagles Dare, which saw him cast with Burton and Clint Eastwood.

 

Having been firstly married to actress Betty Dickson, in 1967 he married Juliet Harmer (1943-) who was more than 25 years his junior. Juliet appeared in the Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) episode You Can Always Find A Fall Guy. Sadly, the couple would later divorce.

 

William continued to be busy well into the Seventies, appearing mainly in long running television series. These included Callan (he appeared as Hunter, one the the bosses of the eponymous agent), The Black Arrow and Doctor Who (as the memorable if wildly theatrical villain The Shadow in The Armageddon Factor).

 

 During the Eighties his output slowed and his last credited screen appearance was in the television series Rumpole of the Bailey in 1988. William has a bench dedicated to him on Hampstead Heath in Hampstead, London. A lesser known fact is that he helped James Fox become an actor.

 
 

Tony Steedman

Character & Episode: Surgeon in You Can Always Find a Fall Guy
Born: 21/08/1927, Warwickshire, England (as Anthony Francis Steedman)
Died: 04/02/2001, Haywards Heath, West Sussex, England

 

A dependable actor, Tony made his television debut in 1964 and remained busy, mainly on television, over the next thirty years. During the Sixties, he appeared in numerous well known series including The Avengers, Dixon of Dock Green, The Champions and Strange Report. In the Seventies, he contributed to such shows as The Professionals, Jason King, Arthur of the Britons and in 1978 was a regular on the soap opera Crossroads for a while.

 

Tony holds the distinction of portraying the Nazi General Alfred Jodl twice, first in The Death of Adolf Hitler (1973) and later in The Bunker (1981). He is probably best remembered, however, for the BBC situation comedy Citizen Smith, in which he took over the role of Charles Johnson from Peter Vaughan (another Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) actor) for the last two years of the series. During the mid-Eighties, he moved to America for a while and contributed to a number of well known American television shows of the time such as The A Team, The Fall Guy and Beauty and the Beast. He was also cast as Socrates in the feature film comedy Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989).

 

By the Nineties, he was back in Britain (though continued to work occasionally in America), and he resumed his career as an in-demand character actor, featuring in Boon, Minder, Inspector Morse, and The Brittas Empire, among many other roles. Tony made his final screen appearance in 1997 when he was cast as Tom Hope in the adventure series Animal Ark.

 

In his personal life he was married to the well known character actress Judy Parfitt (1935-). The couple had one son. Tony had previously been married to another actress, Ann Taylor, but the marriage had only lasted a few years.

 
 

John Styles MBE

Character & Episode: The Ventriloquist in That's How Murder Snowballs
Born:
1934, Walthamstow, London, England

 

A magician and well known puppeteer, who has been in the business since December 1950, John has several acting credits that include The Avengers (1968) and The Goodies (1975). He could also be seen from time to time on the popular children’s television series Rainbow from 1975 to 1980.

 

As a puppeteer, he has worked on several films, most notably Terry Gilliam's Time Bandits (1981), 102 Dalmatians (2000) and The Polar Express (2004).

 

John is a past President of the International Brotherhood of Magicians and from 1950 to 2013 he was a Gold Star member of the Inner Magic Circle. In 2004 he was awarded an MBE for his services to the Arts.

 
 

Ingrid Sylvester

Character & Episode: Yateman's Receptionist in You Can Always Find a Fall Guy
Born: 1945, Pimlico, London, England

 

Ingrid is an actress with just over a dozen television credits to her name, although she was prolific in dancing, modelling and acting in television commercials. Born in the Pimlico area of London, Ingrid's mother was a dressmaker for Hartnell and Dior and her father was from a circus background. She aspired to become a ballet dancer and joined the ART stage school, where the curriculum was split 50/50 between academic subjects and stagecraft.

 

Her first audition took place in a caravan in a car park when she was 12 years old, and this interview led to her big break on television. Her first role on television came in 1957 when she played Bronia Balicki in the BBC  drama serial The Silver Sword, set in Poland in World War II. She was also a regular in the Associated-Rediffusion adventure series Smugglers' Cove (1963) in which she played a character called Patricia. Other television appearances included Z Cars and All Gas and Gaiters. While her role as the receptionist in You Can Always Find A Fall Guy was not her last recorded television appearance (she made episodes of Gazette and The Troubleshooters after filming Randall and Hopkirk), it would prove to be the last to be transmitted.

 

Ingrid danced in several well known ballets including three seasons at the Royal Festival Hall in The Nutcracker. She was also much in demand as an actress in television commercials, shown on the ITV Network, for products including Stork Margarine, Kellogg's breakfast cereals, soap and many others. Her work in advertising was not restricted to television, as she was also regularly called to do photographic advertising work for many clients, notably appearing in the Grattan mail order catalogue.

 

Section compiled by Darren Senior

Additional research and presentation by Alan Hayes and Denis Kirsanov

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