Freda Jackson

Character & Episode: Mrs Evans in The Smile Behind the Veil
Born: 29/12/1907, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England
Died: 20/10/1990, Northampton, Northamptonshire, England

A character actress who was active in the business for almost fifty years, Freda made her stage debut in 1934 in Sweet Lavender at the Northampton Repertory Theatre. After two years with the resident company there, she first appeared London in The Sacred Flame at the Q Theatre, after which she toured with Emlyn Williams in his play Night Must Fall. She made her television debut in the play Trelawny of the Wells (transmitted 9th October 1938) in a minor role. Later that year she joined the Old Vic Company, with whom she toured Europe and Egypt during the following year, and in 1940 she became part of the Stratford Memorial Theatre company. The previous year she had married the artist Henry Bird (1915-2000). The couple would have one child, Julian, who initially became a psychiatrist, before he later switched to acting. Early film work included roles in Powell and Pressburger's A Canterbury Tale (1944), Laurence Olivier's Henry V (1944) and David Lean's Great Expectations (1946). In July 1945 she scored a major success at the Embassy Theatre, playing the sadistic landlady Mrs Voray in Joan Temple's No Room at the Inn. She also starred in the play's West End transfer and in the 1948 film adaptation. Four years later she played a similar role, Mrs Allistair, in the stage and screen versions of Sylvia Rayman's Women of Twilight.

Her success on stage would, however, render her screen appearances rather infrequent. In 1955 at Northampton Theatre she played Marguerite Gautier in The Lady of the Camellias, a role which she later listed as her favourite in Who's Who in the Theatre. Later stage appearances included the Gypsy in Camino Real (Phoenix Theatre, 1957), Duel of Angels (Apollo Theatre, 1958), Mrs Hitchcock in Serjeant Musgrave's Dance (Royal Court Theatre, 1959), Gunhild in John Gabriel Borkman (Mermaid Theatre, 1961), the title role in Mother Courage (Bristol Old Vic, 1961), Naked (Royal Court Theatre, 1963), a 1967 tour of Arsenic and Old Lace, and Maria Helliwell in When We Are Married (Strand Theatre, 1970).

However, Freda did figure in a modest number of television programmes, including the small screen adaptation of Serjeant Musgrave's Dance (an ITV Play of the Week starring Patrick McGoohan, transmitted on 24th October 1961), a memorably villainous turn in the opening episode of Adam Adamant Lives! in 1967, and in the Blake's 7 episode The Keeper in 1979. On the silver screen, she featured most notably in The Good Die Young playing the mother of a young Joan Collins, The Brides of Dracula and Die, Monster, Die!, in which she played the wife of Boris Karloff's character. Summarising her film career, David Quinlan has noted that she "created some memorably grim portraits... less than one would have liked, but she was really too ferocious for supporting roles". She made her last screen appearance in Clash of the Titans in 1981, in which she played a Stygian Witch.

Sir David Jason OBE

Character & Episode: Abel in That's How Murder Snowballs
Born: 02/02/1940, Edmonton, London, England (as David John White)

David Jason was brought up in North Finchley, and as a child attended Northside Primary School. After leaving school, he trained as an electrician while negotiating his way into repertory theatre. He was just 15 years old in July 1955 when noted local drama critic, W.H. Gelder, spotted his talent and warmly praised his performance in the Incognito Theatre Group's production of Robert's Wife by St John Ervine.

David started his television career in 1964 playing the part of Bert Bradshaw in Crossroads. In 1967 he played a spoof super-hero Captain Fantastic (and also other roles), in the children's television sketch comedy series Do Not Adjust Your Set (Rediffusion / Thames). His co-stars were Eric Idle, Terry Jones, Denise Coffey and Michael Palin. Humphrey Barclay, who recruited David Jason to appear in the show (partly to offset the rather intellectual style of Idle, Jones and Palin), admired David's sense of timing. Do Not Adjust Your Set had a very successful run on ITV, ending in 1969.

David was considered for the role of Lance-Corporal Jack Jones in the BBC comedy Dad's Army by Jimmy Perry and David Croft. Croft had been very impressed with the actor and knew that he had the ability to play much older than his age. The role ultimately went to Clive Dunn.

David appeared in the BBC comedy series Hugh and I, which starred Hugh Lloyd and Terry Scott as two friends who lived together in south London. He also appeared in variety shows in support of stars such as Dick Emery, his performances catching the eye of Ronnie Barker, who soon became a mentor to David. In 1973 David played junior employee Granville in the first programme of the BBC comedy anthology Seven of One, called Open All Hours which starred Barker as the miserly proprietor of a corner shop. Four series of Open All Hours were made from 1976 to 1985 - and David would return to the role, some years after Barker's death, in Still Open All Hours (2013-). He also featured as the elderly Blanco in a couple of episodes of Barker's Porridge, a prison-based comedy, and appeared in various disguises in The Two Ronnies show, notably as the voice of the Phantom Raspberry Blower of Old London Town.

In 1981 he found his most enduring and popular role, Derek 'Del-Boy' Trotter in the BBC situation comedy Only Fools and Horses (created by John Sullivan). Del-Boy was a wide-boy who made a dubious living in Peckham, south London, trading in shoddy, stolen, and counterfeit goods. In this role, Jason popularised some slang words and phrases; examples being the mild insults "dipstick" and "plonker", and the celebratory "lovely jubbly". His portrayal of the elder brother to Rodney (Nicholas Lyndhurst) produced classic comic scenes and touching serious moments.

David has also been the voice of Mr Toad in The Wind in the Willows and starred as detective Jack Frost on the ITV crime drama A Touch of Frost from 1992 to 2010. He also provided the voices of cartoon characters Danger Mouse and Count Duckula for Cosgrove-Hall Productions in the 1980s and early 1990s.

David was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) in 1993, and was knighted in 2005, both for services to drama. He has won four British Academy Television Awards (BAFTAs), four British Comedy Awards and six National Television Awards. These included the British Comedy Awards Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001, and the BAFTA Academy Fellowship Award in 2003. In 2006, David topped the poll to find TV's 50 Greatest Stars, as part of ITV's 50th anniversary celebrations.

David lived with his long-term partner, actress Myfanwy Talog for eighteen years until her death from breast cancer in 1995. He became a father for the first time at age 61, when his girlfriend, 41-year-old Gill Hinchcliffe, gave birth to a baby girl in 2001. In 2005, David and Gill married. His older brother, Arthur White (1933-), is also an actor and played Ernie Trigg alongside David in A Touch of Frost.

Clare Jenkins

Character & Episode: Female Hiker in The Smile Behind the Veil

A minor supporting actress with only a dozen television credits to her name. Clare worked mainly in the mid to late Sixties. Her best remembered roles were in the Doctor Who, in which she played opposite the William Hartnell and Patrick Troughton incarnations of the famous Time Lord: in 1966 she portrayed Nanina in The Savages, then in 1968 she played Tanya Lernov in The Wheel in Space. She would reprise this latter role in a short scene in the final episode of The War Games a year later, when the Doctor's companion Zoe is returned to the space station where she had joined the TARDIS crew. She was also a regular in the Anglia Television soap opera Weaver's Green (as Carol Thorpe, 1966) and also appeared in Crossroads as Pauline Carr in 1972. Clare's last screen appearance was in the ITV Sunday Night Theatre play The Death of Adolf Hitler in 1973.

Peter Jesson

Character & Episode: Hooper in The Smile Behind the Veil
Born: 03/03/1937, London, England (as Peter George Henry Jones)

A tall actor standing at 6 feet 2 inches, Peter was generally seen on film during the Sixties in minor supporting roles. His first credited screen appearance was in 1959 when he appeared in the drama series The Spy Catcher. He followed this up by appearing in Dixon of Dock Green (1961) and Z Cars (1962). He had a small part in the comedy film Twice Round The Daffodils later in 1962. The following year he played Mr Top in Nurse on Wheels and a car salesman in Carry On Cabby. This latter engagement would prove to be the first of three contributions to the Carry On series, though his last appearance, in Carry On Follow That Camel in 1967, ended with his scenes deleted from the final version. Peter also worked for Gerald Thomas and Peter Rogers (director and producer of the Carry On series) in the comedy The Big Job in 1965.

In 1968 he filmed his scenes for Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), though his episode, The Smile Behind the Veil, would be held back in the transmission order and was not aired until 1970. In 1969 Peter appeared as Hans in a number of episodes of the television series Spindoe, which starred Ray McAnally in the lead role. His last known screen appearance followed in 1973 when he appeared in an episode of Menace. Peter is married with three children.

Robin John

Character & Episode: Constable Jenkins in Whoever Heard of a Ghost Dying?

Robin was an occasional actor who appeared in a dozen or so television and film productions between the mid-Sixties and the early Seventies. 1969, when he made his Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) appearance, was his busiest year, also appearing in The Power Game (Without Prejudice), The Mind of Mr J.G. Reeder (The Troupe) and Department S (The Man from 'X') on television and the feature film Crossplot, which starred Roger Moore. Robin made his television debut in 1965 appearing the series The Flying Swan for BBC Midlands. Other appearances included Adam Adamant Lives! (Death Has a Thousand Faces), Mickey Dunne and Compact. His only other feature film appearance aside from Crossplot was in Hammer Films' Creatures the World Forgot (1971).

His last appearance was as a Cossack Horseman in the ten-minute experimental film The Reprieve in 1972, made by the National Film and Television School - in one continuous take and in Russian. That really does qualify as "experimental"!

Freddie Jones

Character & Episode: James McAllister in For the Girl Who Has Everything
Born: 12/09/1927, Longton, Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, England
(as Frederick Charles Jones)

Upon leaving school, Freddie worked as a laboratory assistant with a firm making ceramic products, but soon his hobby of acting set him on a different path. He was trained at the prestigious Rose Bruford College. His first screen appearance was in 1963 in the television drama series It Happened Like This. Since then Freddie has notched up well over two hundred television and screen appearances. He has been a solid and busy actor for over five decades, during which time he has featured in many notable series including The Avengers, The Caesars, Space: 1999, The Ghosts of Motley Hall and, since 2005, the long running Yorkshire Television soap opera Emmerdale. Amongst his film credits, Freddie has appeared in The Man Who Haunted Himself (1970), The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973) and Zulu Dawn (1979).

He has also enjoyed a long association with the maverick American film director David Lynch, which has seen him feature in many of his productions: The Elephant Man (1980), Dune (1984), Wild At Heart (1990), Lynch's short-lived TV series On The Air (1992) and his short film Hotel Room (1993). Freddie married Jennie Heslewood, a former actress, in 1965, and the couple have three sons - two, Toby and Caspar, are actors, while the other, Rupert, is a director.

Along with Dudley Sutton, Freddie is the only actor to have appeared in both the original Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and its remake of 2000-2001 with Bob Mortimer and Vic Reeves.

Section compiled by Darren Senior

Additional research and presentation by Alan Hayes

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