Ronald Lacey

Character & Episode: Beatnik (Hendy) in My Late, Lamented Friend and Partner
Born: 28/09/1935, Harrow, Middlesex, England (as Ronald William Lacey)
Died: 15/05/1991, London, England


Ronald Lacey was a popular character actor with a career spanning more than thirty years, often known for playing villains. Perhaps his most famous role was as Major Arnold Toht in Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981). Ronald attended Harrow Weald Grammar School and soon after a brief stint of national service, he studied for two years at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, graduating in 1959. He began his screen career in the same year in The Secret Agent, an ITV Play of the Week. His first notable performance was at the Royal Court in 1962's Chips with Everything. Ronald had an unusual pug look with beady eyes and cherub's cheeks, which landed him repeatedly in bizarre roles on both stage and screen.


With nearly two hundred television and screen credits, Ronald became a familiar face on the British screens and was often compared to Peter Lorre due to his mannerisms. Despite being busy, Ronald was disappointed with his career and by the late Seventies considered starting a talent agency. His role in Raiders of the Lost Ark changed his mind and he followed this up appearing with Clint Eastwood in Firefox (1982), Brooke Shields in Sahara (1983), and with Arnold Schwarzenegger in Red Sonja (1985).


Ronald was well-liked and had time for his fans. He was of Welsh descent and he owned a cottage in Wales. He was married twice, firstly in 1962 to Mela White, with whom he had two children - David Lacey and Rebecca Lacey, both of whom became actors. David acted professionally as Jonathan Lacey, while Rebecca is most notable for her appearances in the BBC hospital drama Casualty. After a bitter divorce in the late 1960s, he married stage actress Joanna Baker and the couple had a son, Matthew, who is the godson of the memorable Hammer Films' leading lady Barbara Shelley. Ronald was a heavy drinker and smoker and appeared regularly in the gossip pages, often for the wrong reasons. It is possible that his lifestyle contributed to his long-term battle with cancer. Even when in his twenties he had his lower intestines removed and as a result had to have a colostomy bag fitted. His health problems continued over the years and he was turned down for several film roles due to his health, though this period included a fine comic performance in Blackadder II as the Bishop of Bath and Wells. During the last decade of his life his weight ballooned dramatically, mainly due to his treatment as he fought his ongoing battle with cancer. He would succumb to the disease when it spread to his liver. He was a fine character actor.


Peter Lawrence

Character & Episode: Policeman in The Smile Behind the Veil
Died: 10/02/1998, Tunisia


Peter Lawrence was a minor supporting actor and variety artiste who appeared on screen occasionally and often went uncredited in non-speaking roles, with the greater part of his career spent in the theatre. Partly of Welsh stock, he turned professional at the age of nine when he joined Jack Lewis' Singing Scholars, with whom he toured all the major (and very minor!) music halls and appeared, aged ten, in his first film. For a spell, Lawrence worked the variety circuit with a partner as the Peters Brothers, and in his time he appeared with the likes of the Deep River Boys, Robert Donat, Deborah Kerr, Margaret Lockwood, Carmen Miranda, Anthony Newley, Tommy Trinder, Michael Wilding and Wee Georgie Wood. In later years, Lawrence reflected that, "My theatrical 'parents' were those great stars of music hall and films, Arthur Lucan and Kitty McShane, otherwise Old Mother Riley and her daughter Kitty, and comedian Frank Randle, and to them I owe an enormous debt of gratitude. 'As well as appearing on stage and in films with them, I was doing fit-up rep when a boy, often changing plays nightly, and at the age of 16 I once played a 91-year-old man. I was also assistant stage manager and sold programmes and tickets before the show."


Peter debuted on television in the first half of the 1950s. In October 1955 he is thought to have participated - uncredited - in both Quatermass II and Sunday Night Theatre: The Makepeace Story. Peter's first credited appearance on television seems to have been in the BBC Wales series How Green was My Valley, in which he played Idris, a barman, in the second episode (transmitted 8th January 1960). He also featured in two other BBC Wales productions later that same year: Who Killed Menna Lorraine? (21st April 1960) and A Matter of Degree (13th June 1960). He appeared in several episodes of Z Cars and later, Softly Softly, and also featured in Crossroads as Detective Inspector Rigby, a recurring role between 1965 and 1972. He also had small roles in Call Oxbridge 2000 (a 1961 spin-off series of Emergency Ward 10), Doctor Who (he played the Vizier in the serial Marco Polo in 1964), Department S and The Saint. Also, in common with his colleague Clare Jenkins from The Smile Behind the Veil, he appeared in Anglia Television's 1966 soap opera Weaver's Green, in which he played the regular role of Police Constable Moneypenny. His last known appearance was playing a doctor in The Spongers, a Play for Today broadcast by the BBC on 24th January 1978.


Outside of television, Peter was a very well respected stage performer who had taken part in a great number of theatrical tours. Looming largest on his stage resumé is his long association with the smash hit Tim Rice / Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat. Peter doubled as Jacob and Potiphar in the touring version produced by Bill Kenwright, and is estimated to have made more than 6,000 performances in the show's run.


He died of a heart attack while on holiday in Tunisia. Lawrence never disclosed his age but is thought to have been in his seventies. He had been working on a new touring production of Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat just weeks before his death. Rod Coton, executive producer to Bill Kenwright Ltd, said, ''There is a great sadness here. Peter worked up until a few weeks ago, back in his old roles ... although for health reasons we had to be a bit selective in where he played. He was one of those dedicated professionals who loved the business and who couldn't have retired. He will be greatly missed."


George Lee

Character & Episode: Police Sergeant in For the Girl Who Has Everything


An occasional actor, George made his television debut during the 1950s, with one of his earliest roles coming in 1957 when - ironically - he played a police constable in the BBC crime series Dixon of Dock Green. He would often play policeman or security guards in a number of minor roles.


His contributions, mainly on television, would be to series including Softly Softly, Dixon of Dock Green, Blake's 7 and two episodes of Fawlty Towers. His last appearance was in 1991 in the TV drama Scum, for which he was credited as 'Chief Officer'.


Philip Lennard MBE

Character & Episode: Johns, the Butler in Who Killed Cock Robin?
Born: 24/09/1908, London, England (as Philip Craig Lennard)
Died: 18/09/1994, Lambeth, London, England


During the Second World War, Philip worked for British Intelligence in Germany, and was actually reported falsely as killed. His efforts for his country gained him an MBE in 1945. Although he had been acting on the stage since the mid-1920s, it was not until some ten years later that he began to take film work. His earliest television roles are believed to have been small and uncredited, with his first credited appearances being made during the 1950s. He was for a while busy during the Fifties, appearing in such well-known television shows of the time as The Three Musketeers, The Count of Monte Cristo and The Grove Family. By the Sixties his output slowed, and he made his final television appearance in 1978 in A Villain's Tale, an episode of Law and Order.


Valerie Leon

Character & Episode: Kay in That's How Murder Snowballs
Born: 12/11/1943, Islington, London, England (as Valerie Therese Leon)


A strikingly good looking brunette actress, tall at 5 feet 11 inches, Valerie has many memorable credits to her name, though it is undoubtedly as the Hai Karate girl in a series of 1970s after shave advertisements that she is best remembered. Her father was the director of a textile company and her mother had trained at RADA but left acting to raise her family. The eldest of four children who were all taught privately, Valerie studied retail design at college from the age of 15. Afterwards, she worked briefly as an au pair in France, but soon returned to Britain and was employed by Harrods as a trainee fashion buyer. She also decided to take singing lessons and soon played truant to audition for a part as a chorus girl in a theatre production and gained the part. When the show's tour of Britain was cancelled after some weeks, she was contracted by Central Casting and started to work as a film extra - her first film was That Riviera Touch (1966, filmed 1965), in which she was hired as a girl wearing a bikini at the beach. In 1966 she featured in a tour with Barbara Streisand of Funny Girl, in which Valerie was given a small speaking part.


Valerie, though, wanted to be seen in roles that were more noteworthy. In 1967 she made her television debut in The Saint. She soon followed this with minor roles in The Baron (1967) and The Avengers (1968). Later that year she played a hospitality girl in Carry On Up the Khyber. The following year she returned with a speaking part as Miss Dobbin in Carry On Camping and showed Charles Hawtrey "How to put the pole up". Later that year she had an uncredited role in The Italian Job, and played Kay in an episode of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) That’s How Murder Snowballs.


In 1970 she starred as Tanya alongside Peter Cook in The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer; the film was not a box office success though it has since become a cult favourite. Her biggest screen role followed in 1971 when she was cast as Margaret Fuchs and Queen Tera in the horror film Blood from the Mummy’s Tomb which also starred Peter Cushing, Andrew Keir and James Villers. In this film, Valerie showed that she was much more than just a pretty face, putting in a fine acting performance. Sadly, no further major roles were to follow for her.


In 1972 Valerie was cast as Jane Darling in Carry On Matron and she returned for her last Carry On film, with a much more sizable role as Paula Perkins, in Carry On Girls in 1973, though her voice was dubbed by June Whitfield.  In the same year, she also featured in the film No Sex Please, We’re British.

In 1974 she married television producer Michael Mills (1919-1988) and they remained married until his death. The couple had two children: Leon (1975- ), who works in multimedia and web design, and Merope (1977- ), who is a journalist with The Guardian newspaper.


In 1975 Valerie appeared in an episode of Space: 1999 and the following year was seen in The Goodies - It Might As Well Be String. She was twice a James Bond girl, making her first appearance in 1977 in The Spy Who Loved Me with Roger Moore, before returning in 1983 as the ‘Lady in Bahamas’ in Never Say Never Again, which saw the unexpected return of Sean Connery as Bond. In 1978 she played prostitute Tanya, dressed in black leather gear and brandishing a whip, in Revenge of the Pink Panther.


Valerie retired from the screen in 1983 to raise her family but returned in 2006 in the thriller Gas and is still acting today. Her appearances in horror, Bond films and the Carry Ons have resulted in Valerie gaining cult status; she is regularly seen at conventions. In 2008 she attended the fiftieth anniversary Carry On convention at Pinewood and looked as stunning as ever. Valerie has her own company called Valerie Leon Promotions and specialises in gourmet restaurants and art-related activities. She has a website:


Sue Lloyd

Character & Episode: Elizabeth Saxton in Money to Burn
Born: 07/08/1939, Aldburgh, Suffolk, England (as Susan Margery Jeaffreson Lloyd)
Died: 20/10/2011, London, England


Born in Suffolk, Sue Lloyd's was the daughter of a general practitioner. When her family moved to Birmingham, Sue attended Edgbaston High School and trained at the Janet Cranmore Ballet School until she was 11 years old. After this, she studied dance in the evenings, attending Sadler’s Wells Ballet School for five years. Sue's eventual height of 5 foot 8 inches diminished her chances of a career in dance career, and upon leaving left school she became a showgirl, model and, briefly, a member of Lionel Blair's dance troupe.


A slightly less well-known fact is that Sue was one of the last two debutantes to be presented to the Queen at Buckingham Palace in 1958 – the final such ceremony. Sue then took to acting, taking lessons with the once-blacklisted actor Jeff Corey in Los Angeles' Method School. She started making uncredited bit-part appearances in feature films including Go to Blazes (1962). In 1963, she decided to abandon her modeling career to come a fully-fledged actress, making her television debut in the same year in an episode of The Sentimental Agent. Her first notable film role was in 1965 when Sue was cast as a foil to Michael Caine's Harry Palmer in the spy thriller The Ipcress File. She was reunited with Caine in Bullet to Beijing (1995), one of the later Palmer films.


An early role that she is well remembered for also came in 1965 when Sue was cast as Cordelia Winfield, alongside Steve Forrest in the 1965-66 British ITC television series The Baron. Originally, Sue’s character only appeared in the pilot episode, with Steve Forrest's sidekick being played by the actor and composer Paul Ferris. Pressure from the American television network who were to screen the show caused the production team to dispense with Ferris' services and write Sue's character into the remaining episodes.


Notable guest appearances followed in the Sixties and early Seventies in such popular series as The Saint, Department S, Jason King, The Persuaders! and The Sweeney. She also co-starred in a 1971 stage production of The Avengers, playing a character called Hannah Wild, John Steed partner in the production. She had previously appeared in the 1965 Avengers episode A Surfeit of H2O. Meanwhile, film engagements during this period included Corruption, Revenge of the Pink Panther, The Stud and The Bitch. On her Twitter page Joan Collins said that she and Sue had to get drunk prior to their nude scenes.


However, Sue is best remembered by the British public as Barbara Hunter in the long-running teatime soap Crossroads from 1979 to 1985 (when Sue and her on screen and real life partner Ronald Allen were dropped from the series on the same day). Sue had known Allen for many years. He had had a long-term relationship with fellow Crossroads actor Brian Hankins, who had died from cancer in 1978. Lloyd's friends were surprised when, in 1991, she married the ailing Allen six weeks before he died from cancer on 18th June. Sue’s career never really reignited after Crossroads and she only made occasional television appearances afterwards. In the second half of the 1990s, she wrote her autobiography It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time (Quartet Books, 1998).


Sue died of cancer in 2011 aged 72. She had played just over sixty television and film roles, her final appearance being in the comedy feature film Beginner's Luck in 2001. She was a close friend of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) star Annette Andre and you can read Annette's memories of Sue in her own autobiography Where Have I Been All My Life? (Quoit Media, 2018).


Charles Lloyd Pack

Character & Episode: Cecil Purley in Whoever Heard of a Ghost Dying?
Born: 10/10/1902, London, England
Died: 22/12/1983, London, England


Charles Lloyd Pack was a well-known and popular character actor with more than two hundred film and television credits to his name in a career lasting close to sixty years. He trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA), graduating in 1925, after which he concentrated initially on stage work. After serving in H.M. Forces during the Second World War, he returned to the West End stage in 1946.


Although he had made his screen debut in 1936 he was not a regular in films and television until the late Forties, and initially appeared in a number films that are now long forgotten. Early notable roles from the Fifties and Sixties include a succession of guest roles in The Adventures of Robin Hood (1955-1960), The Larkins (as the Reverend Spoonforth from 1958-1963), Hancock (The Lift, 1961) and four Armchair Theatre plays between 1956 and 1964. Charles was also seen in several horror movies produced by Hammer Studios including Dracula and The Revenge of Frankenstein (both 1958), The Man Who Could Cheat Death (1959) and The Reptile (1966). His best known role was as Professor Marks in the ITC television series Strange Report (1969-1970) but he is also fondly remembered for his work in Quatermass 2 (the Hammer Films adaptation of Nigel Kneale's classic BBC Television serial, 1957), The Avengers (Silent Dust, 1965, and You'll Catch Your Death, 1968) and The Prisoner (It's Your Funeral, 1967).


From 1941 until his death he was married to Ulrike Elizabeth Pulay (1921–2000). The couple had two children: Roger Lloyd Pack (1944-2014), who became an actor and is fondly remembered for his role as Trigger in the hugely popular BBC situation comedy Only Fools and Horses, and Christopher (1946- ), a stage manager. Roger's daughter is the actress Emily Lloyd (1970-), who met with success as a young actress, though her career has suffered more recently due to psychological issues. Charles' grandson is the writer Louis Lloyd Pack, so there is a plentiful family tradition in the creative arts.


Harry Locke

Character & Episode: Night Porter (Sid) in My Late, Lamented Friend and Partner
Born: 10/12/1912, Acton London, England
Died: 07/09/1987, England


Harry was a familiar face for over three decades on our screens and appeared in well over one hundred films and television series, often being a member of the supporting cast. He started his career in the theatre as a young man, but the war intervened during which he spent five years serving in the Intelligence Corps. During his service career, he toured in documentary plays. After being demobbed in 1945, Harry was involved in various aspects of the media - and even had a go at being a stand-up comedian.


Though he made his screen debut during the 1930s, he steadily gained bit parts in films from 1945. In 1949 he played a Sergeant in Passport to Pimlico. The following year he played Haggot in Treasure Island, which starred Bobby Driscoll and Robert Newton. As the Fifties progressed, Harry won roles in Doctor in the House (1954), Reach for the Sky (1956), Doctor at Large (1957) and Carlton-Browne of the F.O. (1959). Later in 1959 he played Mick the Orderly in the first of his three Carry On films in Carry On Nurse (he would return to the series in 1967 in Carry On Doctor and in 1969 in Carry On Again Doctor). The Fifties ended for Harry with a role as a union official in another comedy, I'm All Right Jack. In 1962 he starred in Crooks Anonymous, and later that year he was cast as Albert Huggin in The Amorous Prawn. Later, in 1965, he starred in the Norman Wisdom film The Early Bird. The following year he was in two episodes of Disneyland. As the Seventies approached, Harry was seen less on our screens: in 1972 he played a cook in the horror film Tales from the Crypt, and his last appearance was as a gardener in the children's series Just William in 1977.


In his personal life, Harry married Cordelia Sewell (1908-1990) in 1952.


David Lodge

Character & Episode: Beeches in Who Killed Cock Robin?
Born: 19/08/1921, Rochester, Kent, England (as David William Frederick Lodge)
Died: 18/10/2003, Denville Hall, Northwood, London, England


David's father was a well-known orator in the Royal Navy; his mother was a singer. As a child, David attended St Nicholas School in Golden Square, London, and enjoyed singing comic songs in concerts. Whilst there, he worked as a paperboy and butcher's assistant. When he left school, he joined the Post Office, but when war broke out, David, who had grown to six feet tall with the physique to match, joined the RAF. His career in showbusiness stems from being heard singing in the bath one evening by a pianist called Teddy Rubach who invited him to sing in his band. By the end of the war, David was one of twelve members of Ralph Reader's Gang Show, alongside the likes of Dick Emery and Peter Sellers, with whom David would remain a close friend until Sellers' death in 1980.


On being demobbed, David worked in rep, holidays camps and was even the circus. After a short spell in Ireland as part of a double act, he came back to Britain and featured in the comedy Orders Are Orders (1954). David would appear in well over a hundred films, though he was never cast in a lead role. David said that he was not cut out for romantic roles, insisting "this ugly mug of mine gets me the meaty parts". Early on, his roles were often in war film like The Cockleshell Heroes (1955) but by the end of the Fifties he was coming to notice in comedy roles in films including Girls at Sea (1958) and I'm All Right Jack (1959, alongside Sellers). Other roles with Sellers followed swiftly in its wake: Two Way Stretch (1960) and A Shot in the Dark (1964). In 1961 he appeared in the first of five Carry On films, starting with Carry On Regardless (he would also feature in seven television episodes of Carry On Laughing in 1975).


Other Sixties film roles included small parts in The Intelligence Men (1965), The Wrong Box (1966) and Casino Royale (1967), while on television he could be seen in the BBC's Benny Hill series, The Avengers and The Champions. In the following decade, he figured notably in The Amazing Mr Blunden (1972) as Mr Wickens, returned to the side of Peter Sellers' Inspector Clouseau in The Return of the Pink Panther (1975), and filmed his final Carry On appearance as Captain Bull in Carry On England (1976). On television from 1975 he was a regular cast member of the anarchic comedy sketch show Q which was written by and starred Spike Milligan.


Although the frequency of David's screen appearances lessened in the Eighties, he did however write his autobiography, Up The Ladder to Obscurity (Anchor Publications, 1986). His last screen appearance was in Lovejoy in 1993. For many years he lived as a bachelor with his parents and a budgerigar in Winchmore Hill, North London. However, in June 1963, while working in Yugoslavia on the Viking epic The Long Ships he surprised everyone - after a whirlwind 24-hour courtship, he proposed to a French journalist and ex-model Lyn Guillermin, to whom he remained devoted until her death in 1996.


Maggie London

Character & Episode: Nurse in You Can Always Find a Fall Guy
Born: 1937, England (as Margaret Evelyn Lyndon)


Maggie was a well known model in the Sixties and made a few minor film and television appearances during this time. She had an uncredited role in the Beatles film A Hard Day's Night in 1964, and also appeared in Maroc 7 (1967), a largely forgotten film which featured Gene Barry and Leslie Phillips. Maggie also featured in The Desperate Diplomat, a 1968 episode of The Saint and There Must Be a Mr X, a 1969 Paul Temple story. Her last role was - aptly - playing a model in the television drama Menace in 1970.


In her personal life, she was once married to Mike d'Abo, the lead singer of Manfred Mann. They had a son, Ben d'Abo (1967- ) and daughter, Olivia d'Abo (1969- ), both of whom went into the acting profession. She has lived for many years in California, USA.


Bessie Love

Character & Episode: Mrs. Trotter in When Did You Start to Stop Seeing Things?
Born: 10/09/1898, Midland, Texas, USA (as Juanita Horton)
Died: 26/04/1986, Northwood, London, England


Bessie Love is arguably one of the most facinating people in the cast of Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased). Born in Midland, Texas, Bessie attended school in her home town until she was in the eighth grade, when her chiropractor father moved the family to Hollywood. When Bessie graduated from Los Angeles High School her parents gifted her a six-month trip around the United States. On her return home to Los Angeles, in order to help with the family's financial situation, Bessie was sent by her mother to Biograph Studios, where she met the pioneering film director D.W. Griffith. He gave her small roles in his films The Birth of a Nation (1915) and Intolerance (1916). She also appeared opposite William S. Hart in The Aryan and with Douglas Fairbanks Snr in The Good Bad Man, Reggie Mixes In and The Mystery of the Leaping Fish (all in 1916).


Bessie achieved early prominence mainly in silent films and early talkies. With a small frame and delicate features, she played innocent young girls, flappers, and wholesome leading ladies. In addition to her acting career, she wrote the screenplay for the 1919 movie A Yankee Princess. In 1922, Bessie was selected as one of the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers (WAMPA) 'Baby Stars', an accolade awarded to 13 aspiring young actresses each year who were deemed to be on the brink of stardom. In 1923, she starred in Human Wreckage with Dorothy Davenport and produced by Thomas Ince. As her roles got larger, so did her popularity. She performed the Charleston in the movie The King on Main Street in 1925. Also that same year she played the lead female character Paula White in The Lost World, a highly influentual science fiction adventure film based on the novel of the same name by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Three years later she starred in The Matinee Idol, a romantic comedy directed by a young Frank Capra.


Unlike many other actors at the time, she successfully made the transition to talkies, and in 1929 she was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress for The Broadway Melody. She also appeared in several other early musicals including The Hollywood Revue of 1929 (1929), Chasing Rainbows (1930), Good News (1930) and They Learned About Women (1930). Bessie even has her own Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.


By 1932, as she entered her mid-thirties, Bessie's American film career was in decline. She moved in 1935 to England, where she worked in the theatre and occasionally in feature films. As war came to Europe, she returned to the USA, working for the Red Cross, and entertaining the troops. After the war, she moved back to Britain, which became her main residence, and continued to play small film roles on both sides of the Atlantic. These included The Barefoot Contessa (1954) with Humphrey Bogart, The Greengage Summer (1961), starring Kenneth More, and the James Bond thriller On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969, as an American tourist). She also played a small but pivotal role as a switchboard operator in 1971's Sunday Bloody Sunday.

In the early Seventies, Bessie took British citizenship and was soon almost as busy as in her early years, featuring in several films which included Ragtime (1981), which featured James Cagney, Warren Beatty's Reds (1981), Lady Chatterley's Lover (1981) and her final film, The Hunger (1983), starring Catherine Deneuve, David Bowie and Susan Sarandon. During her lifetime, Bessie featured in more than one hundred and fifty films and television roles.

In her private life, Bessie married William Hawks (brother of film director Howard Hawks) in 1929; the couple had one daughter, Patricia (1932- ), but divorced in 1936. In 1977, she published her autobiography, From Hollywood with Love. She was at this time living comfortably in a flat overlooking London’s Clapham Common and had recently appeared in a television account of the abdication of King Edward VIII. In 1963 Bessie had been the subject of a This Is Your Life television programme, presented by Eamonn Andrews. Bessie died in 1986 at the age of 87, having enjoyed a long and interesting life.


Olga Lowe

Character & Episode: Angela Kendon in Money to Burn
Born: 14/09/1919, Durban, South Africa
Died: 02/09/2013, England


Olga Lowe was born on September 14 1919 in Durban, the daughter of the leader of the Johannesburg Symphony Orchestra, Charles Lowe, whose family came from a Russian-Jewish background. Olga attended dancing classes in Johannesburg before moving to London to further her studies. At the age of 17 she travelled to Brazil to support the exotic singer Carmen Miranda in cabaret. She then joined the glamorous French troupe the Folies Bergère, rehearsing in Paris and touring North America. She decided to return to South Africa on board the liner City of New York in 1942, the year after America joined the Second World War. On the journey back, the ship was torpedoed by a German U-boat on 29th March. Olga survived the attack but 24 people lost their lives on that day.


Olga returned to Britain after the war and gained experience in repertory theatre at the New Royal in Norwich. She was reunited soon after with comic actor Sidney James and his wife; she had known Sid as a child and had worked with him in 1940 on Hoopla, a South African charity show for which James taught her tap dancing. The South African-born pair would remain lifelong friends and ironically Olga was with Sid on stage in Sunderland on 26th April 1976 when he died of a heart attack during a performance of The Mating Season.


In 1949 Olga was at the London Palladium as stooge to Harpo Marx, who was appearing there with his brother, Chico. Her big break came when she was cast in the London production of the Rodgers and Hart musical comedy Pal Joey (1954) at the Coliseum. Her relatively small role, replete with a memorable song, Zip, proved a triumph, and on the second night of the production the scene that followed her song was delayed for several minutes by applause.


Olga made her screen debut, albeit uncredited, in the 1949 film Tottie True. Her first screen credit arrived a year later in the romantic drama State Secret (1950) in which she played Baba Robinson, a singer in the film. In 1952 she was in war romance called So Little Time and in 1955 she appeared in the musical film Oh… Rosalinda!!, which also starred Anthony Quayle and Mel Ferrer.


In 1961 Olga appeared in an episode of The Avengers - the now lost Ashes of Roses - and in 1968 she took her most prominent role, in the film Where Eagles Dare playing a German lieutenant named Anne-Marie Kernistser. In 1972 she was Madame Fifi the head of a brothel in Carry On Abroad and the following year she was in the second feature film of television's Steptoe and Son sitcom - Steptoe and Son Ride Again.


Later, in 1975, she appeared in three episodes of the comedy Don’t Drink The Water, a spin-off from the successful ITV sitcom On the Buses, which also featured Pat Coombs and Stephen Lewis. Olga. Afterwards Olga continued to work in theatre and appear occasionally on television screens, featuring briefly in EastEnders in 1994. Her last screen appearance was in Cous-Cous in 1996; Olga retired from acting the following year.


In her personal life, Olga was married three times. Her first husband, South African composer and playwright John Tore, died suddenly in London on 1st July 1959, aged 35. She married Peter Todd in 1959 shortly after Tore's death. The marriage between them ended in divorce in 1962. In 1970, Olga married actor Keith Morris; the couple remained together until her death at 93 in 2013. Sadly she spent her last years suffering with Alzheimer's Disease in a care home. Despite her affliction, she would often sing along when entertainers visited to raise the spirits of the residents and reputedly she was always word perfect!


Cyril Luckham

Character & Episode: Laverick in Who Killed Cock Robin?
Born: 25/07/1907, Salisbury, Wiltshire, England (as Cyril Alexander Garland Luckham)
Died: 07/02/1989, London, England


A popular and recognisable character actor with a considerable acting range, Cyril Luckham was well known in theatre and has more than one hundred and fifty film and television credits to his name. The son of Charles Minty Luckham (1866-1934), a paymaster captain in the Royal Navy, Cyril's ambition from childhood was for a career in the Royal Navy. Consequently, he was educated at Royal Naval College Osborne and Dartmouth, and briefly followed his father into the service. His first taste of acting came when he was 15 and playing the lead role in the annual Dartmouth College play. Finally, the choice between a career on the stage or at sea was made for him when, as a 24-year-old lieutenant in 1931, Luckham was invalided out of the Navy. Soon, he embarked upon studying for the stage at the Arthur Brough School in Folkestone, making his theatrical debut with Brough's company in The Admirable Crichton in 1935. He made his screen debut in the thriller Murder in Reverse in 1945. He would, during a lengthy career, appear in many well-known television series. These included playing the White Guardian, a powerful being acting in the interests of order in the universe, in the long running science fiction television series Doctor Who. He appeared in The Ribos Operation, the first serial in the 1978-79 season (retrospectively dubbed the Key to Time season), and returned in Enlightenment in 1983. Viewers following the post-Doctor Who career of actress Louise Jameson (Leela in the series) might well have tuned into The Omega Factor, a 1979 psychological thriller series made by BBC Scotland and seen the urbane, gentle White Guardian in another, quite terrifying guise, as rogue psychic Edward Drexel - perhaps Cyril's most impressive role.


In other genres on television, Cyril had featured in the 1967 BBC serialisation of The Forsyte Saga, in which he played Sir Lawrence Mont, father-in-law of Fleur Forsyte. He also portrayed Archbishop Thomas Cranmer in the film adaptation of A Man for All Seasons (1966) and the long-suffering Father O'Hara in the BBC situation comedy Some Mothers Do 'Ave 'Em.


In his personal life, he was married to actress Violet Lamb (1910-2009). The couple had three children - one daughter and two sons, one of whom was Robert Luckham (1942-2012), an actor. Taken ill while visiting his doctor, Cyril died suddenly of a heart attack in 1989.


Reg Lye

Character & Episode: Manny in When the Spirit Moves You
Born: 14/10/1912, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia  (as Reginald Thomas Lye)
Died: 23/03/1987, Windsor, New South Wales, Australia


Born in Australia, Reg built up a good career in his home country before moving to England, where he became a familiar face on television. When he moved to Britain in 1961, he was already regarded as one of the best character actors in Australia. In a long career he figured in more than one hundred and fifty film and television productions.


Reg immediately found regular work in Britain, appearing in many of the series of the day. Notable appearances include The Saint (1964-65), Mrs Thursday (1966-67), Doctor Who - The Enemy of the World (1968) and Dixon of Dock Green (1964-69). In the Seventies, he appeared in shows such as Jason King (1971), Doctor on the Go (1975), Crown Court (1973-76) and Return of the Saint (1978).


However, by the Seventies he was splitting his time between Britain and Australia. He won the Australian Film Institute award for the 1975 production Sunday Too Far Away, opposite Jack Thompson. By the turn of the decade his output slowed considerably.


In his private life, Reg was first married to Phylis Alma Bessey (1916-1964) in 1937, with the relationship ending in divorce in 1946. They had one child. He then tied the knot with his second wife, Ruth Margaret Clyne (1919-2006), in 1948, with the marriage enduring until his death in his native country in 1987. They had two children, daughter Suzanne and son Phillip.


Section compiled by Darren Senior

Additional research and presentation by Alan Hayes and Denis Kirsanov
with thanks to Oliver Dale

Back to Top