Saturday, 26 May 2018

RIP Peter Byrne

Sad to hear that Peter Byrne, who played Andy Crawford in Dixon of Dock Green for twenty years, died earlier this month at the age of 90.

Byrne first played the role of PC Andy Crawford in Ted Willis' stage adaptation of his film screenplay The Blue Lamp in 1952 and, when Willis brought Dixon of Dock Green to the BBC three years later, he resurrected the role to become a household name. In the twenty years Byrne starred in the series, his character progressed from a wet behind the ears rookie constable under the wing of the capable Dixon, as played by Jack Warner, to Dixon's son-in-law and later, superior within CID. With Warner's age, Byrne took on much of the legwork in later years and the series reflected the more cynical '70s, with Crawford's attitudes often shown at odds with that of his father-in-law and former mentor. In 1975, after twenty-one series, Byrne left the show and the series continued for just one more year before the doors of Dock Green nick closed for good in 1976. 

Away from the show that made his name, Byrne appeared in films such as The Large Rope, Reach For The Sky, Watch Your Stern and Carry On Cabby, and appeared in the West End in the '60s with lead roles in the farces Boeing Boeing and There's a Girl In My Soup. He directed and starred in several Agatha Christie plays and appeared in numerous pantomimes. Other TV credits included Derek, the widower who attempted to woo Nellie Boswell in the '80s sitcom Bread, and an ageing Tony Blair, roaming the war torn streets he was responsible for, in Armando Iannucci's futuristic satire Time Trumpet in 2006. His last TV appearance was in an episode of Holby City in 2012.


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