Where Do I Know That Actor?

Saturday’s MIDSOMER MURDERS featured a very familiar face to viewers of UNC-TV’s programming. In “Shot At Dawn” (part one), Samantha Bond played Arabella “Bella” Hammond, daughter of a military family engaged in a longtime feud over a WWI incident.

Samantha Bond might be best known for playing Moneypenny in the James Bond films (featuring Pierce Brosnan in the 007 role) but her public television presence goes back to the 1980s. While she may not be the household name Helen Mirren or Judi Dench is, you’d have to be a poor public television viewer to not to have seen her in something. Certainly there have been guest roles aplenty in shows such as Poirot, Marple, Inspector Lynley and Inspector Morse (Bond has also been featured in three separate roles on MIDSOMER MURDERS over the years) but the actress has been seen in several series UNC-TV has aired. Bond played Liz Probert in Rumpole Of The Bailey on Mystery and Mary MacKenzie in The Ginger Tree on Masterpiece Theatre. She was Peter Davison’s wife, Lisa, on Distant Shores and Aunt Angela on the Britcom Outnumbered. On Downton Abbey, Samantha Bond was Lord Grantham’s sister, Lady Rosamund Painswick, and she played Great Paxford Women’s Institute leader Frances Barden on Home Fires.

MIDSOMER MURDERS continues with part two of “Shot At Dawn” Saturday night at 8 on UNC-TV.

Got a face you can’t place from one of the plethora of programs UNC-TV airs from the UK? Email me at sparkymac@unctv.org and I’ll try to help out.

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Where Do I Know That Actor?

If you caught the most recent MIDSOMER MURDERS, you may have spied a trio of familiar faces from elsewhere on UNC-TV. The episode in question (“Blood Wedding” – part one) saw Barnaby investigating the death of a bridesmaid while getting caught up in the drama of his own daughter’s impending nuptials.

We’ll start with Charles Edwards, who portrayed newlywed Sir Edward “Ned” Fitzroy, and Mark Umbers, who was his younger brother Henry “Harry” Fitzroy.

Edwards most recently was seen as Alfred Wood in the Masterpiece presentation Arthur & George where he played a pal of Sherlock Holmes creator Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. (Interestingly enough, Edwards also played Doyle in a 2001 series called Murder Rooms: Mysteries Of The Real Sherlock Holmes.) He also played Lady Edith’s love interest Michael Gregson on Downton Abbey. Continue reading

Where Do I Know That Actor?

The MASTERPIECE hit series VICTORIA is back for its sophomore season and, as the Queen finds herself in the midst of potential revolution, viewers find themselves introduced to new characters. Since new characters are sometimes played by familiar actors, let’s meet some of VICTORIA’s new faces.

First off, Kate Fleetwood is Victoria’s estranged sister, Princess Feodora. While she’s appeared in guest spots on Foyle’s War, Midsomer Murders and even EastEnders (she played someone named Karen on that soap for four episodes in 2001), UNC-TV viewers first spotted Fleetwood as Lady MacBeth opposite Patrick Stewart’s Thane of Cawdor in a 2010 Great Performances presentation. More recently, she played Felicity Webster in the mini-series The Widower. Continue reading

Where Do I Know That Actor?

Ah, MIDSOMER MURDERS! What would this feature be without you? Eagle-eyed fans who tuned into Saturday’s “Birds Of Prey” may have caught a couple of faces they have spied before.

David Calder, who played George Hamilton, is the first worth mentioning. A longtime character actor, Calder has appeared in many feature films and on television in everything from MI-5 and Mr. Selfridge to DCI Banks and Inspector Lynley. However, he had major roles in several series UNC-TV has broadcast. He was Lord Cawston in The Last Enemy (which starred Benedict Cumberbatch). He played Dr. Robert Bramwell (the title character’s father) in the Masterpiece Theatre series Bramwell. He was Victor Chekhov in the 1991 series Sleepers, another Masterpiece Theatre presentation. And he portrayed Nathan Spring in the sci fi drama series Star Cops. Continue reading

Where Do I Know That Actor?

If you are an EASTENDERS fan, you know that the narrative nature of the series doesn’t invite special guests like, say, a DEATH IN PARADISE or FATHER BROWN does. Nonetheless, every now and again, an actor will pop up you may know from elsewhere. Often, this means the performer got his or her start on the English soap and is best known from another, more recent program (the EASTENDERS currently airing on UNC-TV originally aired on the BBC in 2007). However, there was a guest in some recent episodes whom keen-eyed viewers should know from a long-running Britcom.

EASTENDERS viewers know that one of the more interesting additions to the cast is Shirley’s pal, Heather (played to great comic relief by Cheryl Fergison). In order to alleviate some of Shirley’s financial woes, Heather decides to move in with her – but first Heather must break the news to her manipulative mother. If you didn’t immediately recognize the actress who played Heather’s mother, Queenie, you can be forgiven since there’s a time gap of about a dozen years between her EASTENDERS appearance and the role you’ll definitely know her from. Continue reading

Where Do I Know That Actor?

I hope you caught the series seven finale of DOC MARTIN. The last two episodes were broadcast Saturday night on UNC-TV in advance of the season eight premiere this week. However, keen-eyed viewers may have noticed an interesting trio of guest stars that I think bear mentioning. See if you spotted them.

The first person of note is Gemma Jones, who played Annie Winton. This veteran actress has been active since the 1960s so it’s quite possible you’ve seen her in such fare as Inspector Morse, An Unsuitable Job For A Woman, Poirot, Capital and MI-5. She appeared as Clare Slater on season one of Unforgotten which we aired last year but I believe her most famous public broadcasting role was as Louisa Trotter on Masterpiece Theatre‘s The Duchess Of Duke Street. Continue reading

Where Do I Know That Actor?

Agatha Christie’s AND THEN THERE WERE NONE is supposed to be the mystery writer’s best-selling novel with more than 100 million copies sold worldwide. The classic mystery has been adapted for radio, stage, TV and film numerous times since its original publication. One of the more recent, a three-part 2016 BBC mini-series, debuted Saturday night on UNC-TV and featured a veritable who’s who of actors from other public broadcasting fare. Let’s meet them.

Aidan Turner portrays soldier of fortune Philip Lombard. Of course, Turner is best known as the dashing Ross Poldark on the hit Masterpiece series.

Sam Neill is General John MacArthur. The Jurassic Park actor has had a long and storied career but longtime PBS viewers may recall him as Sidney Reilly on Reilly: Ace Of Spies on Mystery! Neill also played Victor Komarovsky on an early-aughts Doctor Zhivago (starring Keira Knightly) and Mr. Prettiman on To The Ends of the Earth. Continue reading