Successful TV Drama careers

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drmih
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Successful TV Drama careers

Post by drmih »

I was reading an article about Raymond Burr, and the success he had moving from Perry Mason to Ironside and eventually back to Perry Mason and I was thinking of UK equivalents - looking at main roles in series rather than just the shear volume of appearances, but most importantly the ability to leave one role behind and become synonymous with another. Anyway, the three obvious ones to me are:

John Thaw: Redcap / Sweeney / Morse
Martin Shaw: Professionals / The Chief / Judge John Deed / Inspector George Gently
James Bolam: Likely Lads / WTBCI / Only When I Laugh / Beiderbecke / Second Thoughts / Born and Bread / New Tricks

Can I suggest that we exclude single series even if they were (hugely) popular, so no Danger Man / Prisoner, or Saint / Persuaders etc. I also thought about Doctor Who / Worzel but wasn't sure, but could see a good case for ACGAS / Doctor Who / Very Peculiar Practise / Campion / Last Detective / Braithwaites.

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stearn
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Re: Successful TV Drama careers

Post by stearn »

David Jason as Del Boy, Pa Larkin, Granville and Frost also springs to mind, although this does cross over to comedy.

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Re: Successful TV Drama careers

Post by Private Frazer »

Sir David sprang to mind first too and
Joanna Lumley for The New Avengers, Sapphire and Steel etc. and her comedies.
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drmih
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Re: Successful TV Drama careers

Post by drmih »

I think comedies are just as valid unless the actor is just rehashing a comedy creation.

marsey
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Re: Successful TV Drama careers

Post by marsey »

Jon Pertwee for Worzel and Doctor Who. I'd be hard pressed to think of someone as an icon in two completely different roles

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Re: Successful TV Drama careers

Post by marsey »

Few others

Paul Eddington for Yes Minister and The Good Life
Brian Blessed in Z Cars and I,Claudius
Bill Hartnell in The Army Game and Who
Peter Davidson
Rowan Atkinson for Bean and Black Adder

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Re: Successful TV Drama careers

Post by Duncan »

How can anyone posting on a TV related forum still make the Davidson/Davison mistake...

I'd have thought Davison is worthy of being included in any list of successful TV actors, with key recognisable roles over several decades.

Given that some of the suggestions above concern as few as 2 successes - how about John Nettles for Bergerac and Midsomer Murders - both real long term successes for him.

Ian McShane for Lovejoy and Deadwood

Michael Landon for Bonanza, Little House and Highway to Heaven

I'm sure there are many more.

drmih
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Re: Successful TV Drama careers

Post by drmih »

Yes I should have moved Davison into a list of four rather than just the programme titles, and McShane and Nettles are good shouts - therefore probably Trevor Eve as well for Shoestring and Waking the Dead. Coming at it from a slightly different angle, what about UK favourites who suddenly become mainstream US without them ever been known for the earlier programmes, such as Andrew Lincoln: This Life / Teachers //Walking Dead .

drmih
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Re: Successful TV Drama careers

Post by drmih »

marsey wrote:Few others

Paul Eddington for Yes Minister and The Good Life
Brian Blessed in Z Cars and I,Claudius
Bill Hartnell in The Army Game and Who
Peter Davidson
Rowan Atkinson for Bean and Black Adder
I think that Brian Blessed was only in a handful of episodes of I, Claudius and was a very Brian Blessed Augustus, if you know what I mean. I always see Mr Bean and Blackadder the First as being very NTNOCN Atkinson characters.

marsey
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Re: Successful TV Drama careers

Post by marsey »

drmih wrote:
marsey wrote:Few others

Paul Eddington for Yes Minister and The Good Life
Brian Blessed in Z Cars and I,Claudius
Bill Hartnell in The Army Game and Who
Peter Davidson
Rowan Atkinson for Bean and Black Adder
I think that Brian Blessed was only in a handful of episodes of I, Claudius and was a very Brian Blessed Augustus, if you know what I mean. I always see Mr Bean and Blackadder the First as being very NTNOCN Atkinson characters.

True, it's just that I was so enamoured by his performance as Augustus that I always remember him for that role; I guess most others won't. And yes, Bean and Edmund in series 1 do resemble that same shy, awkward, foolish character and very much in the vein of many of his performances in NTNOCN.

As for Peter, I always thought he WAS called Davidson! Probably because I not watched an episode of Who with him in it for 20+ years and not watched any of the other programmes he was in.

As I mentioned before though, I would find it hard to suggest someone more than Pertwee who played such iconic and disparate roles as a scarecrow and a timelord, even moreso when (in my opinion) he played Doctor Who as serious drama and Worzel in a comedic role.

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Re: Successful TV Drama careers

Post by marsey »

drmih wrote:Yes I should have moved Davison into a list of four rather than just the programme titles, and McShane and Nettles are good shouts - therefore probably Trevor Eve as well for Shoestring and Waking the Dead. Coming at it from a slightly different angle, what about UK favourites who suddenly become mainstream US without them ever been known for the earlier programmes, such as Andrew Lincoln: This Life / Teachers //Walking Dead .
I'm not that familiar with what was popular in the US , but I would have thought that Hugh Laurie would count. I can imagine that many would see him as a serious drama actor whilst many (most?) in the UK would view him as a comedian/comedy actor.

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Re: Successful TV Drama careers

Post by Mark »

There's Gerald Harper: "Adamant Adamant Lives!" and "Hadleigh".

In the other category, there's Edward Woodward with "Callan" and "The Equalizer" and back again with "Common As Muck".

Robert Vaughn with "The Man From UNCLE" and into "The Protectors", and I suppose "Hustle", although it wasn't a starring role.
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drmih
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Re: Successful TV Drama careers

Post by drmih »

marsey wrote:
drmih wrote:Yes I should have moved Davison into a list of four rather than just the programme titles, and McShane and Nettles are good shouts - therefore probably Trevor Eve as well for Shoestring and Waking the Dead. Coming at it from a slightly different angle, what about UK favourites who suddenly become mainstream US without them ever been known for the earlier programmes, such as Andrew Lincoln: This Life / Teachers //Walking Dead .
I'm not that familiar with what was popular in the US , but I would have thought that Hugh Laurie would count. I can imagine that many would see him as a serious drama actor whilst many (most?) in the UK would view him as a comedian/comedy actor.
Certainly Jeeves and Wooster was shown worldwide, so a good shout, and he's now in Chance, VEEP and The Night Manager.

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Re: Successful TV Drama careers

Post by Duncan »

Mark wrote:There's Gerald Harper: "Adamant Adamant Lives!" and "Hadleigh".

In the other category, there's Edward Woodward with "Callan" and "The Equalizer" and back again with "Common As Muck".

Robert Vaughn with "The Man From UNCLE" and into "The Protectors", and I suppose "Hustle", although it wasn't a starring role.
Far more Vaughn for Hustle than Woodward for Common As Muck - how many people remember that show at all?

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Re: Successful TV Drama careers

Post by Joe King »

Dennis Waterman - The Sweeney / Minder / New Tricks
David McCallum - UNCLE / The Invisible Man / Colditz / Sapphire & Steel / NCIS
Keely Hawes - Spooks / Ashes to Ashes / Line of Duty
Ronnie Barker - Open All Hours / Porridge
Sarah Lancashire - Corrie / Last Tango in Halifax / Happy Valley
Robson Green - Soldier, Solider / Touching Evil / Wire in the Blood / Grantchester
Jimmy Nail - Auf Wiedersehen Pet / Spender / Crocodile Shoes
Bruce Boxleitner - Scarecrow & Mrs King / Babylon 5

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Re: Successful TV Drama careers

Post by Mark »

Duncan wrote:
Mark wrote:There's Gerald Harper: "Adamant Adamant Lives!" and "Hadleigh".

In the other category, there's Edward Woodward with "Callan" and "The Equalizer" and back again with "Common As Muck".

Robert Vaughn with "The Man From UNCLE" and into "The Protectors", and I suppose "Hustle", although it wasn't a starring role.
Far more Vaughn for Hustle than Woodward for Common As Muck - how many people remember that show at all?
Yes, probably should have omitted that one, I was just going by the 'Starring'
criteria.
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Re: Successful TV Drama careers

Post by Simon Coward »

Perhaps...
Amanda Burton in Peak Practice and Silent Witness.
Siobhan Redmond in Bulman and Between the Lines.
Don Henderson in Strangers/Bulman and The Paradise Club.
Mark McManus in Sam, Strangers and Taggart.
George Cole in Don't Forget to Write and Minder, as well as comedies like A Life of Bliss! and The Bounder.
Ian Hendry in The Lotus Eaters and The Informer, not to mention one series of The Avengers.
Peter Bowles in Lytton's Diary, The Irish RM, Perfect Scoundrels as well as comedies like Only When I Laugh, To The Manor Born, The Bounder.
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Re: Successful TV Drama careers

Post by murphy1961 »

Three actors synonymous with one role and then another:

Windsor Davies, in It Ain't Half Hot Mum and then Never The Twain.

Buddy Ebsen, in The Beverly Hillbillies and then Barnaby Jones.

Jack Klugman, in The Odd Couple and then Quincy.

You could say Ron Howard, in The Andy Griffith Show and then Happy Days, but he was basically a kid in the first and an adult in the second and they were about six years apart.

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Post by brigham »

Wow! I never realised that so many TV actors had played more than one role!

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Post by Brock »

I assume that was meant ironically... but yes, apart from certain soap stars, it's hard to think of any well-known TV actor or actress who isn't known for more than one role. I suppose the criterion here is the extent to which a given performer made the role their own.

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Post by Simon Coward »

Brock wrote:I assume that was meant ironically... but yes, apart from certain soap stars, it's hard to think of any well-known TV actor or actress who isn't known for more than one role.
Well quite... though drmih's suggestion of ignoring single series shows - and so restricting this to roles taken by the various actors over an extended period of time - does reduce the possibilities somewhat.
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drmih
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Re: Successful TV Drama careers

Post by drmih »

It was really the idea of someone who was so synonymous with a role, and then perhaps to a different age group / generation / audience, a totally different character. For instance, I always remember the articles running up to launch of Inspector Morse lowering people's expectations that it wasn't going to be a Regan (hardman) policeman. Now, looking back, I would say that Morse is the primarly role with which John Thaw is remembered. Therefore, with the execption of The Prisoner (amusingly a character wthout a name) where although one season I'd say that a more memorable character than Danger Man, the role either has to have such an impact, or occurs after a period of time where the original role was forgotten by some of the audience (e.g Gerald Harper - Adam Adamant / Hadleigh).

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Post by Don Satchley »

If we are including comedies Penelope Keith in To The Manor Born and The Good Life.

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Focus II
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Post by Focus II »

Thaw was one of a few actors who appeared in many, often one off dramas and serials such as the generally forgotten "Stanley and the Women", yet returned to play Inspector Morse.

To a lesser extent as they were guests rather than the main stars both Jon Pertwee and Patrick Troughton reprised their roles as Doctor Who on more than one occasion.

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Focus II
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Re: Successful TV Drama careers

Post by Focus II »

Richard Briers- '60s comedy about a newly wedded couple, can't recall name. The Good Life, If You See God Tell Him and Monarch of the Glen.

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Post by Simon Coward »

Focus II wrote:Richard Briers- '60s comedy about a newly wedded couple, can't recall name
Marriage Lines, with Prunella Scales (Marriage Lines, Mr. Big, Fawlty Towers, Mapp & Lucia, After Henry).
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Post by Mark »

Also with Richard Briers, "The Other One", "Ever Decreasing Circles" and "All In Good Faith".
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Focus II
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Re: Successful TV Drama careers

Post by Focus II »

Some that come to mind, mainly American though I doubt they were as successful as the earlier programmes were:

Patrick McGoohan- Rafferty (late '70s US drama. Played a Doctor?)
William Shatner- Kirk and later TJ Hooker
William Conrad- Cannon and Jake and the Fat Man
David Janssen- The Fugitive and Harry O
Lee Majors- Six Million Dollar Man and The Fall Guy.

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Focus II
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Re: Successful TV Drama careers

Post by Focus II »

marsey wrote:Jon Pertwee for Worzel and Doctor Who. I'd be hard pressed to think of someone as an icon in two completely different roles
Absolutely! Even John Thaw's fame in playing Jack Regan, as Regan did for his Redcap character, was eventually over shadowed by his role as Inspector Morse.

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Post by Nick Cooper 625 »

Roy Marsden - The Sandbaggers/Adam Dalgliesh in various PD James adaptations.

Denis Lawson - two series of The Justice Game/Holby City/New Tricks

And more topical than usual, Matt Smith in Dr Who and The Crown.
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