Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Peter Howell, RIP

The veteran British character actor Peter Howell passed away on the 20th April following a short illness aged 95.

Howell's eclectic career spanned back to the early 50s and saw him appear in a plethora of TV programmes including Emergency War 10, The Avengers, The Prisoner, No Hiding Place, Doctor Who, The Champions, Elizabeth R, Freewheelers, The Mill On The Floss, Pride and Prejudice, Crown Court, Rumpole of the Bailey, Yes Minister and several Play For Today's including David Hare and Howard Brenton's Brassneck.

In later years he appeared in many comedies including The Alexei Sayle Show, Harry Enfield's Television Programme, Hippies, How Do You Want Me? and Jeeves and Wooster and he starred in films such as ScumBellman and True, The Libertine, Shadowlands and Princess Caraboo. 

He specialised in playing judges, magistrates, men of the cloth, civic dignatories and members of parliament and I had only recently been watching him in the classic Trevor Griffiths political series Bill Brand from 1976 in which he played Venables who succeeded Arthur Lowe to be a rather controversial Labour leader and PM at the close of the series. 

Politically, Howell was a keen social rights campaigner, a staunch supporter of the Labour Party and very active in Equity, the actors union. He attended Oxford but left his studies in 1939 when he was called up for war. Invalided out in 1943, he caught the acting bug from his sister Gillian and studied at her alma mater RADA. He is survived by three daughters and a son.


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