Michael Radford

Character & Episode: Male Hiker in The Smile Behind the Veil
Born: 24/02/1946, New Delhi, India


Born in India to a British father and an Austrian Jewish mother, Michael was educated at Bedford School before he attended Worcester College, Oxford. After teaching for a few years, he went to the National Film and Television School, becoming a student there in its inaugural year.


Michael is well known for being a director and writer; he only has three screen acting credits to his name, all minor with only a few seconds of screen time. After leaving education, he began work as a documentary film maker and worked for the BBC from 1976 to 1982. He then left to pursue a directing career, coming to international attention with Nineteen Eighty-Four (1984), his adaptation of George Orwell's most famous novel. It starred John Hurt as Winston Smith, alongside Richard Burton who was giving his final film performance. The film was made in the time and place (London, April–June 1984) in which the book was set. Michael is most widely known as the writer and director of the 1994 film Il Postino, which he adapted from the novel Ardiente Paciencia by Antonio Skármeta. The massive international success of the film (for many years it was the highest grossing non-English language film ever made) led to international acclaim for Radford and the star of the film Massimo Troisi, who had died tragically the day after filming on Il Postino was completed. The film won many international film awards including a BAFTA for Radford, who was also nominated for the Best Director and Adapted Screenplay Academy Awards. In 2004, Radford directed The Merchant of Venice. Three years later he was responsible for Flawless, a diamond heist story set in 1960 which starred Demi Moore and Michael Caine. His most recent film is Elsa & Fred (2014), a romantic comedy starring Shirley MacLaine and Christopher Plummer.


Married twice, Michael has three children, and speaks fluent Spanish, French, Italian and some Mandarin. In 2013 he took part in the Clipper Round the World Sailing Race, in which he raced one of twelve identical 70 foot racing yachts from London to Rio. For someone who appeared in only a small role in Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), Michael has led a remarkably interesting and enriched life.


John Rae

Character & Episode: Mr Alexander in A Sentimental Journey
Born: 19/07/1896, Perth, Scotland
Died: 02/1985, Droxford, Hampshire, England


John Rae started in theatre as early as 1918. However, it would be twenty years before he appeared on television in an adapted play in 1938. Over the next forty years he would appear regularly as a dependable middle-aged to elderly actor in a number of now largely forgotten films.


From the mid-Fifties, his main output consisted of television guest appearances on a number of shows that included Crossroads, Gideon Way, Dr Finlay's Casebook and The Onedin Line. John's last appearance was in the drama series Bouquet of Barbed Wire in 1976. John is also notable for featuring in two of the three legendary Quatermass television serials of the Fifties, appearing in Quatermass II (1955) as McLeod and in Quatermass and the Pit (1958) as a works foreman.


Michael Rathborne

Character & Episode: Man in Laundromat in All Work and No Pay
Born: 06/04/1923, York, England
Died: 22/01/1971, Kensington, London, England


An actor whose a screen appearances were infrequent, Michael was the son of an Irish major in the Durham Light Infantry, his mother being a trained ballet and musical theatre dancer. The marriage was said to be a difficult one. In the Second World War, Michael saw active service as a captain in his father's regiment.  At the age of twenty-one he was promoted to acting major in the Burma Campaign of 1944-45, and was wounded in fighting. After the war, he made his screen acting debut in the BBC’s Sunday Night Theatre play strand in 1952. Other contributions, which often went uncredited, included the television serial Quatermass II (1955), Doctor Who (as a taxi driver in The War Machines, 1966) and The Mini Affair (1967). His last appearance was as an employment office clerk in Connecting Rooms in 1970. In his private life, he was married to actress Diana van Proosdy (1929-2007), and their daughter, Pippa Rathborne, is also an actress.  Either in Burma, or from childhood exposure to contaminated water in Egypt, where his father had been stationed, he contracted the liver disease which eventually killed him, aged 47.


Cyril Renison

Character & Episode: Andrews in But What a Sweet Little Room
Born: 1903, Kingston-upon-Thames, Surrey, England
Died: 08/12/1993, London, England


An occasional screen actor notching up just over 20 known appearances in nearly two decades. Cyril's first appearance was in 1955 in the crime drama As I Was Saying, and over the next five years or so he was fairly busy in this medium. Other notable contributions around this time were to series such as Quatermass II (1955) and The Avengers (two appearances, one in 1961 and another in 1962 alongside Patrick Macnee, Ian Hendry and latterly Honor Blackman). As the Sixties progressed, his career lost momentum. His last screen appearance came in 1973 when he had a minor role in O Lucky Man!, the comedy fantasy film which starred Malcolm McDowell.


Marjorie Rhodes

Character & Episode: Mrs Pleasance in For the Girl Who Has Everything
Born: 09/04/1897, Hull, East Riding of Yorkshire, England (as Millicent Wise)
Died: 04/07/1979, Hove, East Sussex, England


A popular character actress, prolific in the theatre, Marjorie first appeared on screen in 1938. She was busy mainly in films during the war figuring mainly in small roles. She continued this trend right up to the end of the Fifties, notching up nearly sixty appearances on film and television. She often played landladies, aunts or busybodies. By the late Fifties she was appearing more regularly on television and made notable contributions to such series as The Army Game, Dixon of Dock Green and All Gas and Gaiters. Still busy in theatre, Marjorie was nominated for a Broadway Tony Award in 1965 as best actress for the play All in Good Time. Her last screen appearance was in 1974 in an episode of Z Cars. During her career she clocked up more than one hundred television and film credits.


John Richmond

Character & Episode: Lord Manning in Whoever Heard of a Ghost Dying?
Born: 14/06/1912, Hendon, Middlesex, England
Died: 08/11/1992, Thursley, Surrey, England


An occasional bit player actor, John Richmond made his screen debut in the TV play Reunion in 1948 for the BBC. In the Fifties he guested in such series as The Grove Family, Emergency Ward 10 and was a cast regular in the detective series Sergeant Cork. Later roles came in Special Branch, The Pallisers and the Sir John Mills Quatermass. His last screen appearance was in 1984 in the series Strangers and Brothers. Despite quite a long career he only made forty credited appearances, though he was also a noted narrator on radio. John was married and had three children.


Colin Rix

Character & Episode: Police Driver in Vendetta for a Dead Man
Born: 1932, Brentford, Middlesex, England (as Colin Arthur Rix)
Died: 11/11/2013, Newcastle, Monmouthshire, Wales


In common with most people cast in small roles in Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), Colin Rix was a good supporting actor, often appearing in minor roles. Colin contributed to well over one hundred film and television productions in a career which last for nearly forty years. He made his television debut in 1955 in The Makepeace Story, a play in the BBC's Sunday Night Theatre strand and this was followed with a steady flow of work which really picked up momentum in the early Sixties. His most notable appearances included Z Cars (five episodes between 1963 and 1972 as well as two episodes of its spin-off Softly Softly), Dixon of Dock Green (six episodes, 1966-68), Public Eye (two episodes, 1966 and 1968), Castle Haven (more than two dozen episodes of this 'lost' Yorkshire Television soap opera of 1969-70), Dick Barton Special Agent (1979), The Professionals (1980), The Gentle Touch (1983) and in 1992 he was a regular cast member in Forever Green, playing PC Dave Weatherby alongside Pauline Collins and John Alderton. Colin's last screen appearance was in Ian McShane’s Lovejoy in 1993.


In his personal life, Colin was married to Greeta Pedlingham from 1955 until his death in November 2013.


Anton Rodgers

Character & Episode: Calvin P Bream in When the Spirit Moves You
Born: 10/01/1933, Wisbech, Cambridgeshire, England (as Anthony Rodgers)
Died: 01/12/2007, Reading, Berkshire, England


Born the son of Leonore (née Wood) and William Robert Rodgers, as a child Anton attended Westminster School. Initially he wanted to be a doctor, but his mother (a former singer) ran a dance school and from the age of five Anton was acting and singing in charity shows. This led him into wanting to be an actor, later training at the Italia Conti Academy and LAMDA.


Anton’s first stage appearance was at 14 and he soon made his West End debut in Carmen at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden. He followed this in 1948 with a tour of an adaptation of Charles Dickens' Great Expectations, playing Pip, and the title role in a revival of Terence Rattigan's The Winslow Boy which toured the UK in 1949. After repertory experience at Birmingham, Northampton and Hornchurch, he trained at LAMDA.


Anton was a regular in the theatre throughout his career; in 1963 he gained excellent reviews as Mr Jingle in the musical Pickwick, which later transferred to Broadway in America. He also directed numerous plays in the regions and on the fringe.


Anton’s screen debut was in 1958 playing Mr Mell in the television series Tales From Dickens, marking the start of a long and extensive career in television. He became more known for playing comedy. In 1961 he played a character called Alec in the film Petticoat Pirates and the following year was cast as a young man in Carry On Cruising (he also appeared in Carry on Jack in 1963). In 1970, he starred in the film Scrooge and was nominated for an academy award for singing Thank You Very Much. Also, that year he was cast as Tony Alexander in the film The Man Who Haunted Himself, which starred Roger Moore in the lead role.  In 1987, he starred in the film The Fourth Protocol and the following year he played Inspector Andre in the film comedy Dirty Rotten Scoundrels which starred Michael Caine and Steve Martin. Towards the end of his life, he featured in Secret Passage (2004) and Go Go Tales (2007).


He also worked in filmed television, with roles in ITC series such as Danger Man, The Saint, Man in a Suitcase, The Prisoner, The Champions, Department S, Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) and Jason King.


In 1972, he starred in his first regular television role as Peter Frame in the Philip Mackie drama series The Organisation. In 1974, he was cast as David Gradley in the short-lived comedy drama series Zodiac alongside Anouska Hempel.


In 1984, he was cast as William Field in the comedy series Fresh Fields. It is in this role that viewers probably remember him best; the series ran until 1986 with twenty-seven episodes being made, the series also starred Julia McKenzie and Ann Beach. In 1989, the series returned as French Fields, now based in France. This series ran until 1991 with nineteen episodes being made. McKenzie was still his co-star, and Pamela Salem became a cast regular.


Between 1989 and 1994, Anton starred in another successful comedy show, May To December, as Alec, the lead solicitor in a practice. The series lasted for 39 episodes and amongst the cast were Frances White and Rebecca Lacey. In 1997 Anton was cast as Noah Kirby in the drama series Noah’s Ark and in 2005 featured in C.S.Lewis: Beyond Narnia. His last screen appearance was in the television comedy You Can Choose Your Way in 2007, which reunited him with Julia McKenzie.


Anton was married twice, the first time to former ballet dancer Morna Watson, and latterly to actress Elizabeth Garvie (1957-) who was his junior by 24 years. He had five children in all, two from his marriage to Morna and three with Elizabeth. One of his sons, Adam, is in the television industry in the camera department.


Edina Ronay

Character & Episode: Sandra in Never Trust a Ghost
Born: 01/1943, Budapest, Hungary (as Edina Maria Ronay)


Daughter of world famous food critic Egon Ronay (1915-2010), who moved the family to England when Edina was two, having the sensed the changing political climate in Hungary. Edina trained at St Martin’s School of Art and later studied at The Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA). As well as being an actress Edina was also a model. She was blonde, petite and very pretty. She made her screen debut in 1960 playing a character called Lavinia, a small uncredited part in the comedy film The Pure Hell of St Trinian’s.


In 1962, she appeared in The Avengers as Nicole Cauvin in the episode The Removal Men. She would return to the series to play a different role shortly afterwards. Then in 1964 she had a minor uncredited role playing a girl at a disco in A Hard Day’s Night. Later that year she starred as Julie in the film thriller Night Train To Paris, which also starred Leslie Nielsen. Edina had a sizable role in the 1965 comedy film The Big Job alongside Jim Dale, Joan Sims, Sid James and Sylvia Sims. It was at about this time that Edina started to make nostalgic handmade knitwear and began selling them at London markets.


In 1965, she played Mary Kelly in the hammer horror film A Study in Terror, which also included Donald Houston and John Fraser amongst the cast. The following year she played Dolores in Carry On Cowboy and shared some funny scenes with Joan Sims, Angela Douglas and Jim Dale. Later appearances included The Champions (1968) and Jason King (1972) and her last screen appearance was in 1975 when Edina starred as Harlot in the television series Shades Of Greene episode called The Root Of Evil. She then retired from the business to concentrate on her fashion business which was expanding and soon to go global.


In 1984, she founded her own label and in 1999 agreed a contract with Debenhams’s to supply clothes. She has made her name in Fair Isle patterns, motifs and bead decorations. With her numerous outworkers, she is one of the biggest UK hand knit designers. Edina continues to be successful today and her daughter Shebah Ronay (1972- ) also became an actress and is best remembered for her role as Natasha Andersen in the soap Hollyoaks from 1995-9.


Robert Russell

Character & Episode: Harry in The Trouble with Women
Born: 24/5/1936, Kent, England
Died: 12/5/2008, Maidenhead, Berkshire, England


Robert was a tall actor (6 foot 3 inches), thick set with dark receding hair and often a beard. For more than twenty years he was a useful supporting actor, mainly in television. Though born in Kent, he spent nine childhood years in South Africa, and upon leaving school there, he worked for a time in a gold mine. On returning to England he trained as an actor at the Webber Douglas Academy of Dramatic Art. He then developed his skills in theatre, becoming a regular member of the National Theatre touring company.


During his screen career Robert amassed more than seventy credits in film and television. Early on, he was stereotyped in police roles, but by the mid-Sixties he was cast in more interesting roles, for instance in the Saint episode The Man Who Liked Lions and as Anger in Peter Cook and Dudley Moore's Bedazzled (1967). His most memorable supporting role came in 1968 when he played John Stearne alongside Vincent Price in the cult horror film Witchfinder General. On television at the turn of the decade he could be seen in The Avengers, The Champions and Department S, while he could briefly be spied on the big screen playing a policeman in Carry On Loving (1970).


Robert's association with ITC film series continued into the Seventies, with appearances in The Persuaders!, The Protectors and the Space:1999 episode Mission of the Darians. Robert also appeared two Doctor Who stories; as an uncredited guard in The Power of the Daleks (1966) and a fine turn as The Caber in Terror of the Zygons (1975). In 1977 Robert was cast as Matvey in the historical drama Anna Karenina. A year later he played the leader of a religious cult on a penal planet in the Blake's 7 episode Cygnus Alpha. In 1979 he featured in the children's drama The Feathered Serpent alongside Diane Keen and Patrick Troughton. Robert's television credits continued into the Eighties and included roles in The Enigma Files (1980), Sorry! (1981) and Hammer House of Horror (1985). After this, Robert virtually retired from the industry. His only other screen appearance was in 1993 when he played the inronically named Shorty in the sci-fi film Strange Horizons. Robert died of a heart attack at home in 2008.


Michael Ripper

Character & Episode: Punter in It's Supposed to be Thicker Than Water
Born: 27/01/1913, Portsmouth, Hampshire, England
Died: 28/06/2000, London, England


Interested in acting from a young age, Michael was encouraged to enter public speaking competitions by his father, a speech therapist by profession. Michael's father was also involved in amateur dramatics, so from a young age Michael was introduced to the medium, putting him in good stead for a career that lasted for sixty years. In that time, Michael would appear in well over two hundred films and television series, and become a recognised, well-liked and reliable supporting character actor.


Michael entered the theatre in 1929 after winning a scholarship. He made his film debut in 1936 in Father and Son, and worked as an assistant director for Walton Studios in the early years of his career. When his acting career quickly blossomed, he left directing to concentrate on work in front of the camera and on stage. He would come to worldwide notice through his 25 year relationship with Hammer Film Productions, appearing in 35 of the company's films, mostly in the horror genre with which Hammer became synonymous. For Hammer he played parts  such as innkeepers, gravediggers and poachers, often with an air of comedy. His most notable Hammer Films include The Revenge of Frankenstein (1958), The Mummy (1959), Brides of Dracula (1960), The Camp on Blood Island (1958), Captain Clegg (1962), The Scarlet Blade (1963), Plague of the Zombies (1966) and The Mummy's Shroud (1967). Occasionally he was disguised almost beyond recognition, and yet his raspy voice remained unmistakable. Some roles were minor, but his penultimate role for Hammer Films was a significant supporting part as a landlord in Scars of Dracula in 1970. Michael holds the record for the most Hammer film appearances, and while there is no doubting Ripper's talent and dependability, this achievement undoubtedly also owes something to his close friendship with Hammer producer Anthony Hinds.


Michael suffered from a thyroid condition which meant after 1952 his power was reduced, so he did well to remain successful on screen and in theatre. He is also well remembered for his role as the liftman in four of the St Trinian's comedies, and on television for his role as Thomas the chauffeur in the BBC comedy Butterflies (1978–83) and as Burke, one of the two criminals in the children's television series Freewheelers (1968–71). His other TV roles include Phunkey in The Pickwick Papers (1985) and as Drones Porter in Jeeves and Wooster (1990–91). In his personal life, he was married three times and had a daughter from his first marriage. He listed his hobbies as photography, woodworking and classical music.


Section compiled by Darren Senior

Additional research and presentation by Alan Hayes and Denis Kirsanov

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