Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Saturday, 30 March 2013


Following Richard Briers, two more great British comic actors ...

Richard Griffiths (1947-2013), at 65, (left, with Daniel Radcliffe) the very individual Griffiths (his parents were both deaf and dumb)  leaves behind 2 great comic roles: the predatory but melancholy camp Uncle Monty in WITHNAIL & I, Bruce Robinson's 1987 cult hit (according to the newspaper obits, it seems Robinson modelled the role on his experiences of working with Franco Zeffirelli in ROMEO & JULIET!),  and Hector, the larger than life inspirational but tragic history teacher in Alan Bennett's THE HISTORY BOYS, also with amorous advances, a resounding success for Griffiths on stage and film, getting a Tony Award and Olivier - "A masterpiece of wit, delicacy, mischief and desolation, often all at once" according to Bennett. A whole new generation knew him as Uncle Vernon in the HARRY POTTER films, and he also starred opposite Daniel Radcliffe in the recent London and New York revivals of EQUUS. Heaven help you if your mobile phone went off while he was on stage ...

Frank Thornton (1921-2013), at the grand age of 92  - forever the haughty Captain Peacock on the much loved '70s BBC sitcom ARE YOU BEING SERVED, where he had to cope with Mrs Slocombe and her pussy, camp Mr Humpries, Miss Brahms and the others at the Grace Department Store, which ran from 1973 to '85. Captain Peacock (far right) was ideal casting for Thornton, who went on to appear in all 10 series. For when it came to a sense of the punctilious, the right way to do things, Peacock was your man. His deadpan manner and ability to play the straight man (including to Julian Clary in his tv series!) gave him a career that extended for more than seven decades from a debut in 1940. He was also a stalwart in the BBC series WORLD OF BEACHCOMBER in the '60s. He pops up in films like VICTIM (the other hairdresser at the barber shop) and GOSFORD PARK.

1 comment:

  1. The first time I saw Richard Griffiths was in a training video called If Looks Could Kill.