Some Joe You Don't Know: An American Biographical Guide to 100 British Television Personalities

Some Joe You Don't Know: An American Biographical Guide to 100 British Television Personalities

Some Joe You Don't Know: An American Biographical Guide to 100 British Television Personalities

Some Joe You Don't Know: An American Biographical Guide to 100 British Television Personalities

Synopsis

Americans have been watching and enjoying British television programming since the mid-1950s, but the information on the personalities involved is difficult, if not impossible, to find in the United States. This guide provides biographical essays, complete with bibliographies, on 100 of the best known and loved actors and actresses from Richard Greene (Robin Hood) and William Russell (Sir Lancelot) in the 1950s through stars of Masterpiece Theatre, including Robin Ellis and Jean Marsh, to the new generation of British comedy performers such as Alexei Sayle and Jennifer Saunders. Not only are serious dramatic actors and actresses, such as Joan Hickson and Roy Marsden to be found here, but also the great comedy stars, including Benny Hill and John Inman. Among the many shows discussed in the text are Absolutely Fabulous; Are You Being Served?; Dad's Army; Doctor Who; EastEnders; Fawlty Towers; The Good Life; The Jewel in the Crown; Poldark; Rumpole of the Bailey; Upstairs, Downstairs; and Yes, Minister. The guide offers not only factual information but also samplings of contemporary critical commentary and in-depth interviews with Terence Alexander, Richard Briers, Benny Hill, Wendy Richard, Prunella Scales, and Moray Watson. This is a reference source that also serves as a fascinating entree into the wonderful world of British television, one that is as fun to browse as it is to use for factual documentation.

Excerpt

It is always gratifying to discover that an actor who appears very nice on television is that way in real life, and such happily is the case with Terence Alexander. a familiar affable figure in the world of British entertainment, he has made something of an art form of creating "nice" characters, each of whom are decidedly different, linked only by their amiability. As he notes, "When I was younger I would play suave villains or English idiots. a lot of directors saw me as a suave villain, a young George Sanders, while others saw me as a Bertie Wooster character. I have been lucky that I have not played the same sort of part throughout."

In the field of comedy, Alexander has worked with some of Britain's best-loved entertainers, including Tony Hancock, Benny Hill, Kenneth Williams, and Norman Wisdom, a group that he describes as some of the unhappiest people he has ever known. He played opposite Frankie Howerd--"a miserable man really"--in the comedian's first film, The Runaway Bus (1953). After taping sessions of Hancock's Half Hour, both Hancock and Alexander would repair to Alexander's Battersea apartment for dinner, and around the table, Terence Alexander would help Tony Hancock work out sketches for later shows.

As a dramatic actor, Terence Alexander made his screen debut in Michael Powell's The Elusive Pimpernel (1950). His favorite on-screen dramatic role is Rupert Rutland-Smith in Basil Dearden The League of Gentlemen (1960): "It was a slightly sad fellow, and it was not the sort of thing that I usually play. But I loved doing it. It was quite a challenge."

The linkage in the lineage of Terence Alexander roles is that they are never the starring parts but always the role of the other fellow, the reliable sidekick, the straight man whose timing has to be impeccable in order to allow the comedian to get the laugh, the good guy who never quite makes . . .

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.