Further proof that Janurary has been the shittest month - Frank Finlay, one of my favourite actors, has passed away at the age of 89.
Bolton born Finlay (a dead ringer for my late Uncle Harold) was an accomplished veteran of the stage and both the big and small screen since the mid '50s. A silver fox with a dark, handsome demeanour, Finlay played a memorable green eyed Iago in 1965's Othello opposite Olivier, and played older than his years (as was often the case) as a memorable Van Helsing in the 1977 BBC adaptation of Dracula. He also appeared as Inspector Lestrade on two occasions, Study In Terror and Murder By Decree aiding each films respective Holmes on the hunt for Jack The Ripper and played the Dutch detective Van Der Valk for West German television. Roles in Robbery, Sitting Target, The Deadly Bees, Cromwell, The Molly Maguires, The Wild Geese and Shaft in Africa kept him busy throughout the 1960s and 1970s, with roles in The Pianist. Common as Muck, The Sins, Eroica, Life Begins, Prime Suspect and Johnny and The Bomb keeping him active in recent years. But he is perhaps best known for three key roles in the 1970s; firsly as Casanova in Dennis Potter's TV drama of the same name, as Porthos in Richard Lester's definitive and wonderful Musketeers films - The Three Musketeers, The Four Musketeers and The Return of the Musketeers - and as a father whose relationship was a touch too close to his daughter in the excellent, scandalous TV adaptation of Andrea Newman's novel A Bouquet of Barbed Wire. I will also remember him for his marvellous turn in that supremely underrated sitcom How Do You Want Me? playing Dylan Moran's father in law from hell in what was effectively, Straw Dogs as a sitcom!