Character & Episode:
Dr Plevitt in Never Trust a Ghost
Born: 11/2/1908, Liverpool, Lancashire, England
Died: 13/4/1992, 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. His screen appearances were rare until after the Second
World War, and gradually he became
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