As 2017 comes to an end, we here at Telly Visions pause to remember those we have lost in the British entertainment industry over the past twelve months. The losses have touched the fields of television, film and literature equally. As fans we have mourned the deaths of people who brought thrills, tears and laughter into our lives. We thank them for sharing their talents with the world and they will continue to live on in our memories through the work they left behind.
Author and creator of Paddington Bear
Bond’s first book, A Bear Called Paddington, was inspired by a bear glove-puppet he found lonely and rejected on a department store shelf on Christmas Eve. Published in 1958, it was just the beginning of an international adoration for the little bear from darkest Peru. Michael Bond wrote over 150 books which sold 35 million copies worldwide.
He is also known for a mystery series for adults featuring detective Monsieur Pamplemousse. For services to children's literature, Bond was appointed an OBE in 1997 and received a CBE in 2015.
Starting as a singer in working men’s clubs and pubs, this Northern lass with no formal training moved from commercial work to small guest TV spots. She eventually won the role of her career as Coronation Street fan favorite Vera Duckworth, whom she played for thirty-four years.
In 2000, Liz was appointed MBE for services to charity and received a lifetime achievement award in 2008 from the British Soap Awards.
Author and creator of Inspector Morse
A classics teacher by training, Dexter penned his first Inspector Morse story after reading two crime novels during a rainy holiday and deciding he could do better. A dozen more Morse books followed plus several short story and novella collections.
Besides contributing to a handful of Morse scripts, Dexter also made forty cameo appearances total spread across all three of the TV series based on his characters (Inspector Morse, Inspector Lewis and Endeavour). He won four Silver and Gold Dagger awards from the Crime Writers’ Association and was appointed an OBE in 2000.
Sir Bruce Forsyth
Presenter, actor, comedian, singer, dancer
A man of multiple talents, Forsyth began his career on the variety stage as a teenager before hosting some of the most successful shows on British TV. From Sunday Night at the London Palladium in the late 1950s to The Generation Game in the 1970s, Bruce is probably most beloved for his stint on the highly rated celebrity competition show, Strictly Come Dancing where he served as co-host from 2004 to 2015.
In 2012, Guinness World Records recognized Forsyth as having the longest television career for a male entertainer and in 2013 he became the oldest performer ever at the Glastonbury Festival. Following a years-long public campaign to award him a knighthood, Mr. Forsyth got his investiture in 2011.
Hardy started his career as a classical actor after service as an RAF pilot in WWII. His television roles included All Creatures Great and Small where he played cantankerous senior veterinarian Siegfried Farnon and six appearances as Winston Churchill including the 1981 mini-series The Wilderness Years, for which he was BAFTA nominated. Hardy also appeared in films such as Sense and Sensibility, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and of course as the Minister for Magic, Cornelius Fudge, in four of the Harry Potter films. He was appointed a CBE in 1981.
Sir John Hurt
You may know of Mr. Hurt from his roles as John Merrick (aka The Elephant Man); Mr. Ollivander, the wand maker from Harry Potter; Max, a heroin-addicted prisoner in Midnight Express; or that guy from Alien who has the misfortune to have a hideous little creature burst through his chest.
In a career that spanned six decades, Sir John received two Oscar nominations, a Golden Globe and three BAFTA awards. He was knighted in 2015 for his services to drama. And he also took a turn at one of the most British roles an actor can portray, The Doctor!
Mr. Kaye was best remembered for his role as Rene Artois, the unfortunate owner of a rural cafe in Nazi-occupied France in the 80’s sitcom, ‘Allo ‘Allo. Gorden appeared in every episode throughout the nine season run of the show and in 1200 performances of the Australian stage production as well.
Sir Roger Moore
Known for the lighter touch he brought to the role of James Bond in his seven-film run, Royal Academy of Dramatic Art-trained Roger Moore had earlier television success on both sides of the pond.
He starred in series such as Ivanhoe, Maverick, The Persuaders and The Saint. After his 007 years, Moore devoted much of his time as a roving ambassador for the children's charity, UNICEF, a position that was suggested by his friend and predecessor, Audrey Hepburn. His charity work was recognized by a CBE in 1998 and he was knighted in 2003.
Mr. Piggot-Smith’s first television role was on a 1963 episode of Doctor Who . Other TV appearances followed over the years in series such as Downton Abbey, North & South, and Houdini. But it was his Bafta award-winning performance as Ronald Merrick in 1984’s mini-series The Jewel in the Crown that will forever be cited as his career-defining role.
That being said, he was, first and foremost, a stage actor. His theater experiences ranged from Shakespearean roles such as Brutus, King Lear and Prospero to contemporary works like Mike Bartlett’s King Charles III for which Tim was Tony and Olivier award nominated. He received an OBE in 2017.
An established career character actor for twenty-five years previously, Sallis was best known as the mild-mannered Norman Clegg in the BBC sitcom Last of the Summer Wine. He was the longest-serving cast member of the beloved series appearing in 295 episodes! Sallis expanded his audience further when he voiced the role of Wallace, the eternal tinkering cheese-lover, in the animated series, Wallace and Gromit. He was awarded the OBE in 2007 for services to drama.
I urge you to share your memories of these and other performers who have passed away in 2017. Here’s hoping for a happy, healthy 2018!