Sounds Familiar

“It’s a free-ish country.” – Lionel Hardcastle (Geoffrey Palmer), AS TIME GOES BY

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Where Do I Know That Actor?

Midsomer Murders again? Of course! If you don’t know by now that guest starring in this series seems to be a must for any UK acting CV, then you haven’t been paying attention!

Saturday night’s episode (“The Great and the Good”) saw Barnaby and Jones searching for a killer in Badger’s Drift, uncovering jealous rivals, ruthless social climbers and a cottage with secrets along the way. There were also several guest stars of note. Let’s see if you spotted them.

Nancy Carroll played schoolteacher Connie Bishop. Carroll is well familiar to anyone who watches Father Brown since she’s Lady Felicia on that show. She was also Mary Collins on the recent Masterpiece series Prime Suspect: Tennison. Continue reading

Where Do I Know That Actor?

Fans of the Father Brown on The Explorer Channel may have spotted a few familiar faces in the most recent adventure. The episode in question (“The Daughters Of Jerusalem”) follows the prying padre pulling a bit of a Rear Window while nursing a broken leg. It’s enjoyable, as always, but a few of the guest stars have been seen before on other shows we’ve aired. Let’s list them.

First, Clare Higgins played Dinah Fortescue. Higgins has been seen on several Masterpiece series. Going way back, she was Miss Kitty Bennet in a 1980 version of Pride & Prejudice. A few years later, she was Christine Manson on The Citadel, Rachel Lucas in After The War and she even popped up on Downton Abbey for a couple of episodes as a Mrs. Bartlett.

Next, Annette Badland portrayed Judith Bunyan. Badland is a veteran actress who has been seen in several series UNC-TV has aired throughout the decades. She was Charlotte in Bergerac, Cook in A Little Princess (which aired on the marvelous children’s anthology series WonderWorks), Chertsey Cook in a Masterpiece Theatre adaptation of Oliver Twist (circa 2001) and a character named Margaret Blaine on a few episodes of Doctor Who.

Finally, the Father Brown mystery featured a character named Vera Thimble played by Janet Henfrey. Henfrey has made guest appearances in everything from Doctor Who to Wolf Hall. However, you may best recognize her as the dour and Shipping Forecast obsessed Mrs. Bale from the Britcom As Time Goes By.

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.

There Is Nothing Like a Dame

It’s Dame Judi Dench’s birthday! She’s a Hollywood A-lister these days but UNC-TV viewers will always remember her fondly as Jean on As Time Goes By or Laura in A Fine Romance. Plus she’s been in Masterpiece presentations like Cranford, Henry V, Mrs. Brown and Middlemarch, so it’s fair to say she’s been a public television staple throughout the years. That’s why I want to wish the fantastic Judi Dench a glorious and happy birthday! Now blow out your Oscar and have a slice of cake, dear.

Where Do I Know That Actor?

Fans of Miss Marple may have caught Part One of A Murder Is Announced Saturday night on UNC-EX. The 3-part mystery was first broadcast in 1985 and features several familiar faces UNC-TV viewers would better know from other shows. See if you spotted them all.

First, we have the delightful Samantha Bond who plays Julia Simmons. She’s shown up on UNC-TV a lot lately so it almost seems unfair to even point her out any more. Nonetheless, Samantha Bond is Lady Rosamund Painswick in Downton Abbey (the Earl of Grantham’s sister), Women’s Institute leader Frances Barden in Home Fires and Auntie Angela in the sitcom Outnumbered. She was also Peter Davison’s wife, Lisa Shore, on the series Distant Shores.

Next up, it’s Kevin Whately. I could play coy and point out he popped up once on the Britcom You Must Be The Husband (or something equally obscure) but he is immediately recognizable from one source and one source only – his portrayal of Robert Lewis on both Inspector Morse and the spin-off/sequel Lewis. By the way, in A Murder Is Announced, Whately plays Detective Sergeant Fletcher. Perhaps it’s this role that initially got him the Lewis part. Continue reading