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Robin Bailey

Robin Bailey

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Robin Bailey was an English
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

An actor is a person who acts in a dramatic production and who works in film, television, theatre, or radio in that capacity...

. He was born in Hucknall
Hucknall, formerly known as Hucknall Torkard, is a town in Greater Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England, in the district of Ashfield. The town was historically a centre for framework knitting and then for mining but is now a focus for other industries as well providing housing for workers in...

, Nottinghamshire
Nottinghamshire is a county in the East Midlands of England, bordering South Yorkshire to the north-west, Lincolnshire to the east, Leicestershire to the south, and Derbyshire to the west...


Although often chosen for upper class and tradition-bound roles such as Judge (Death's Head) Graves in Thames Television
Thames Television
Thames Television was a licensee of the British ITV television network, covering London and parts of the surrounding counties on weekdays from 30 July 1968 until 31 December 1992....

's Rumpole Of The Bailey
Rumpole of the Bailey
Rumpole of the Bailey is a British television series created and written by the British writer and barrister John Mortimer which starred Leo McKern as Horace Rumpole, an ageing London barrister who defends any and all clients...

, Bailey is perhaps most fondly remembered for his portrayal of Uncle Mort in I Didn't Know You Cared
I Didn't Know You Cared
I Didn't Know You Cared is a British television comedy set in a working class household in South Yorkshire in the 1970s, written by Peter Tinniswood and loosely based upon his books A Touch Of Daniel, I Didn't Know You Cared and Except You're A Bird...

, the BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

's adaptation of Peter Tinniswood
Peter Tinniswood
Peter Tinniswood was an English radio and TV comedy scriptwriter, and author of a series of popular cricketing novels...

's stories about an extended Yorkshire
Yorkshire is a historic county of northern England and the largest in the United Kingdom. Because of its great size in comparison to other English counties, functions have been increasingly undertaken over time by its subdivisions, which have also been subject to periodic reform...

 family. The television series ran from 1975 to 1979, and is available on DVD
A DVD is an optical disc storage media format, invented and developed by Philips, Sony, Toshiba, and Panasonic in 1995. DVDs offer higher storage capacity than Compact Discs while having the same dimensions....

. Bailey continued to play Uncle Mort in a series of radio programmes. Bailey also collaborated with Tinniswood on the television and radio series Tales from a Long Room, playing the Brigadier, an eccentric cricket
Cricket is a bat-and-ball game played between two teams of 11 players on an oval-shaped field, at the centre of which is a rectangular 22-yard long pitch. One team bats, trying to score as many runs as possible while the other team bowls and fields, trying to dismiss the batsmen and thus limit the...

-lover with a fund of extraordinary tales about the game and its players.


In 1959 Bailey was engaged by the Australian theatrical producers J. C. Williamson
J. C. Williamson
James Cassius Williamson was an American actor and later Australia's foremost theatrical manager, founding J. C. Williamson Ltd....

 Limited to play the part of Professor Henry Higgins
Henry Higgins
Henry Higgins may refer to:*The fictional character: see Pygmalion or My Fair Lady*The Australian politician and judge H. B. Higgins* Henry Higgins -See also:*Harry Higgins, English cricketer*Henry Huggins, fictional character...

 in their production of the Lerner & Lowe musical My Fair Lady
My Fair Lady
My Fair Lady is a musical based upon George Bernard Shaw's Pygmalion and with book and lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner and music by Frederick Loewe...

. The production was a duplicate of the New York
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 production. Although Bailey was not a drawcard in Australia
Australia , officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a country in the Southern Hemisphere comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous smaller islands in the Indian and Pacific Oceans. It is the world's sixth-largest country by total area...

 or anywhere for that matter, Williamson's had a policy then in casting their lead players that an unknown they could bill as "direct from the West End" would always draw better than an Australian. Bailey also had a pleasing resemblance to Rex Harrison
Rex Harrison
Sir Reginald Carey “Rex” Harrison was an English actor of stage and screen. Harrison won an Academy Award and two Tony Awards.-Youth and stage career:...

 who had created the Higgins part in London and New York, on record and in the eventual film of the work. Bailey like Harrison was not a singer and like Harrison dealt well with the talksical songs of the show.

Williamson's also imported a female lead Bunty Turner who likewise carried no weight but had an uncanny resemblance to Julie Andrews
Julie Andrews
Dame Julia Elizabeth Andrews, DBE is an English film and stage actress, singer, and author. She is the recipient of Golden Globe, Emmy, Grammy, BAFTA, People's Choice Award, Theatre World Award, Screen Actors Guild and Academy Award honors...

 who had created the role of Eliza Doolittle
Eliza Doolittle
Eliza Sophie Caird , better known by her stage name Eliza Doolittle, is an English singer–songwriter from London, who signed to the Parlophone record label in October 2008. Her debut self-titled album, Eliza Doolittle was released on 12 July 2010, where it debuted at number 3 in the UK...

 in New York and London and would be supplanted by Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn was a British actress and humanitarian. Although modest about her acting ability, Hepburn remains one of the world's most famous actresses of all time, remembered as a film and fashion icon of the twentieth century...

 in the film.

The play was a huge success in Australia and a second company was created so it could continue its run in Melbourne
Melbourne is the capital and most populous city in the state of Victoria, and the second most populous city in Australia. The Melbourne City Centre is the hub of the greater metropolitan area and the Census statistical division—of which "Melbourne" is the common name. As of June 2009, the greater...

 and make its essential move onto Sydney
Sydney is the most populous city in Australia and the state capital of New South Wales. Sydney is located on Australia's south-east coast of the Tasman Sea. As of June 2010, the greater metropolitan area had an approximate population of 4.6 million people...

 where the Empire Theatre was being rebuilt and renamed Her Majesty's Theatre
Her Majesty's Theatre
Her Majesty's Theatre is a West End theatre, in Haymarket, City of Westminster, London. The present building was designed by Charles J. Phipps and was constructed in 1897 for actor-manager Herbert Beerbohm Tree, who established the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art at the theatre...

 especially for the Sydney season of My Fair Lady. Bailey moved to Sydney with the production and the Williamson production of My Fair Lady between the two companies, toured all over Australia, South Africa
South Africa
The Republic of South Africa is a country in southern Africa. Located at the southern tip of Africa, it is divided into nine provinces, with of coastline on the Atlantic and Indian oceans...

 and New Zealand
New Zealand
New Zealand is an island country in the south-western Pacific Ocean comprising two main landmasses and numerous smaller islands. The country is situated some east of Australia across the Tasman Sea, and roughly south of the Pacific island nations of New Caledonia, Fiji, and Tonga...

 for more than five years. It would inarguably become the highest grossing Australian theatrical production of all time, based on the number of paid admissions.

Bailey later visited Australia to play Martin Lynch-Gibbon in A Severed Head
A Severed Head
A Severed Head is a satirical, sometimes farcical 1961 novel by Iris Murdoch.Primary themes include marriage, adultery, and incest within a group of civilized and educated people. Set in and around London, it depicts a power struggle between grown-up middle class people who are lucky to be free of...

by Iris Murdoch
Iris Murdoch
Dame Iris Murdoch DBE was an Irish-born British author and philosopher, best known for her novels about political and social questions of good and evil, sexual relationships, morality, and the power of the unconscious...

 from a novel by the playwright, a role he had created in London and New York. This had been an attempt to exploit the popularity Bailey had gained in My Fair Lady but like its overseas predecessors, was unsuccessful.

Bailey's Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre
Broadway theatre, commonly called simply Broadway, refers to theatrical performances presented in one of the 40 professional theatres with 500 or more seats located in the Theatre District centered along Broadway, and in Lincoln Center, in Manhattan in New York City...

 experience consisted of two flops, the 1963 musical
Musical theatre
Musical theatre is a form of theatre combining songs, spoken dialogue, acting, and dance. The emotional content of the piece – humor, pathos, love, anger – as well as the story itself, is communicated through the words, music, movement and technical aspects of the entertainment as an...

For the Douglas Preston novel, see Jennie .For the name, see Jennifer Jennie is a musical with a book by Arnold Schulman, music by Arthur Schwartz, and lyrics by Howard Dietz, and starred Mary Martin....

and the 1964 comedy
Comedy , as a popular meaning, is any humorous discourse or work generally intended to amuse by creating laughter, especially in television, film, and stand-up comedy. This must be carefully distinguished from its academic definition, namely the comic theatre, whose Western origins are found in...

 A Severed Head
A Severed Head
A Severed Head is a satirical, sometimes farcical 1961 novel by Iris Murdoch.Primary themes include marriage, adultery, and incest within a group of civilized and educated people. Set in and around London, it depicts a power struggle between grown-up middle class people who are lucky to be free of...


Television appearances

In 1983, he took over from the late Arthur Lowe
Arthur Lowe
Arthur Lowe was a BAFTA Award winning English actor. He was best known for playing Captain George Mainwaring in the popular British sitcom Dad's Army from 1968 until 1977.-Early life:...

 in the title role of Roy Clarke
Roy Clarke
Roy Clarke OBE is an English comedy writer.-Career:Clarke is best known for creating BBC Sitcoms; Last of the Summer Wine, Open All Hours and Keeping Up Appearances...

's BBC
The British Broadcasting Corporation is a British public service broadcaster. Its headquarters is at Broadcasting House in the City of Westminster, London. It is the largest broadcaster in the world, with about 23,000 staff...

 television sitcom Potter
Potter (TV series)
Potter was a 1979 BBC sitcom written by Roy Clarke. Running for three series, it originally starred Arthur Lowe as Redvers Potter, a busybody former sweet manufacturer with time on his hands following retirement...

, about a busybody former sweet manufacturer with time on his hands following retirement. The series co-starred John Barron
John Barron (actor)
John Barron was an English actor.-Biography:Born in Marylebone, London, Barron was interested in acting from an early age. For his 18th birthday his godfather paid his entry fee to RADA. After serving as a Lieutenant in the Royal Navy during the Second World War, he returned to stage acting...

 as the Vicar. Potter ran for three series, the first two with Lowe and the third with Bailey.

He also played Charters in the 1985 mini-series Charters and Caldicott
Charters and Caldicott (TV series)
Charters and Caldicott is a 1985 BBC mystery series featuring the characters Charters and Caldicott from the film The Lady Vanishes. It featured six 50 minute episodes broadcast on BBC1 at 9.25pm on Thursdays from 10 January to 14 February 1985....

(the supposed latter-day adventures of two supporting characters
Charters and Caldicott
Caldicott and Charters are two supporting characters in the film The Lady Vanishes, and recurring characters in later films and BBC Radio productions.-Life:...

 from The Lady Vanishes
The Lady Vanishes (1938 film)
The Lady Vanishes is a 1938 British thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and adapted by Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder from the 1936 novel The Wheel Spins by Ethel Lina White...

) co-starring Michael Aldridge
Michael Aldridge
Michael William ffolliott Aldridge was an English actor. While it was his role as Seymour in the television series Last of the Summer Wine which made him widely recognised, his long career as a successful character actor on stage and screen dated back to the 1930s.-Early life:The son of Dr...

 as Caldicott.

Other notable roles included suave civil servant Grainger in The Power Game
The Plane Makers/The Power Game
The Plane Makers is a British television series made by ATV for ITV between 1963 and 1965.The series focused on the power struggles between the trades union and the management on the shop floor of an aircraft factory, Scott Furlong Ltd, as well as the political in-fighting between the management...

(1966), and Channel 4
Channel 4
Channel 4 is a British public-service television broadcaster which began working on 2 November 1982. Although largely commercially self-funded, it is ultimately publicly owned; originally a subsidiary of the Independent Broadcasting Authority , the station is now owned and operated by the Channel...

 television series in 1985), Neville Chamberlain
Neville Chamberlain
Arthur Neville Chamberlain FRS was a British Conservative politician who served as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom from May 1937 to May 1940. Chamberlain is best known for his appeasement foreign policy, and in particular for his signing of the Munich Agreement in 1938, conceding the...

 in The Gathering Storm and Prime Minister Gresham in The Pallisers
The Pallisers
The Pallisers is a 1974 BBC television adaptation of Anthony Trollope's Palliser novels.-Cast :*Anthony Ainley: Rev. Emilius*Terence Alexander: Lord George*Anthony Andrews: Lord Silverbridge*Sarah Badel: Lizzie Eustace...

. He played the role of Mr Fuzziwig in KYTV's The Making of David Chizzlenut episode in 1993. His final television appearance was as Lord Probyn (Kavanagh's wife's father) in Kavanagh QC
Kavanagh QC
Kavanagh QC is a British television series made by Carlton Television for ITV between 1995 and 2001. It has been shown on ITV3 as recently as August 2011; series 1–6 are available on Region 2 DVDs....

in 1997.

Other work

Bailey performed several books on tape, reading books by Agatha Christie
Agatha Christie
Dame Agatha Christie DBE was a British crime writer of novels, short stories, and plays. She also wrote romances under the name Mary Westmacott, but she is best remembered for her 66 detective novels and 14 short story collections , and her successful West End plays.According to...

, Catherine Aird
Catherine Aird
Catherine Aird is the pseudonym of novelist Kinn Hamilton McIntosh. She is the author of more than twenty crime fiction novels and several collections of short stories...

, Neville Shute and Ruth Rendell
Ruth Rendell
Ruth Barbara Rendell, Baroness Rendell of Babergh, CBE, , who also writes under the pseudonym Barbara Vine, is an English crime writer, author of psychological thrillers and murder mysteries....


Agatha Christie
  • The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
  • The Clocks
  • Sparkling Cyanide
  • Ordeal by Innocence

Catherine Aird
  • A Religious Body
  • A Late Phoenix
  • The Stately Home Murders
  • Henrietta Who?
  • A Dead Liberty
  • Parting Breath
  • The Complete Steel

Neville Shute
  • A Town Like Alice
  • The Rainbow and the Rose
  • No Highway
  • The Far Country
  • Ruined City

Ruth Rendell
  • No More Dying
  • Wolf to the Slaughter
  • The Veiled One
  • Murder Being Once Done


He was married to Patricia Mary Weekes from 6 September 1941 to her death on 2 October 1993. They had 3 children.

He died aged 79 in 1999 in Wandsworth
London Borough of Wandsworth
The London Borough of Wandsworth is a London borough in southwest London, England, and forms part of Inner London.-History:The borough was formed in 1965 from the former area of the Metropolitan Borough of Battersea and much of the former area of the Metropolitan Borough of Wandsworth, but...

, London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, of respiratory failure.

Selected filmography

  • Private Angelo
    Private Angelo (film)
    Private Angelo is a 1949 British comedy war film directed by Michael Anderson and Peter Ustinov. It starred Ustinov, Godfrey Tearle, Maria Denis and Marjorie Rhodes. It depicts the misadventures of a soldier in the Italian Army during the Second World War...

  • Portrait of Clare
    Portrait of Clare
    Portrait of Clare is a 1950 British drama film directed by Lance Comfort and starring Margaret Johnston, Richard Todd, Robin Bailey and Ronald Howard.-Cast:* Margaret Johnston - Clare Hingston* Richard Todd - Robert Hart* Robin Bailey - Dudley Wilburn...

  • His Excellency
    His Excellency (film)
    His Excellency is a 1952 British comedy film directed by Robert Hamer and starring Eric Portman, Cecil Parker, Helen Cherry. A blunt Yorkshireman is sent to take over as Governor of a British-ruled island in the Meditarranean.-Cast:...

  • Gift Horse
    Gift Horse (film)
    Gift Horse is a 1952 British war film starring Trevor Howard and Richard Attenborough.The film follows the story of the fictional ship HMS Ballantrae and her crew from the time they come together in 1940 until they go on a one-way mission to destroy a German-held dry dock in France.-Synopsis:A...

  • Folly to Be Wise
    Folly to Be Wise
    Folly to Be Wise is a 1953 British comedy film directed by Frank Launder and starring Alastair Sim, Elizabeth Allan, Roland Culver, Colin Gordon, Martita Hunt and Edward Chapman. It is based on the play It Depends What You Mean by James Bridie...

  • Sailor of the King
    Sailor of the King
    Sailor of the King is a 1953 war film based on the novel Brown on Resolution by C. S. Forester and filmed in the Mediterranean Sea...

  • For Better, for Worse
    For Better, for Worse (1954 film)
    For Better, for Worse is a 1954 British comedy film directed by J. Lee Thompson.-Cast:* Dirk Bogarde as Tony Howard* Susan Stephen as Anne Purves* Cecil Parker as Anne's Father* Eileen Herlie as Anne's Mother* Athene Seyler as Miss Mainbrace...

  • Hell Drivers
    Hell Drivers (film)
    Hell Drivers is a 1957 British film directed by Cy Endfield starring Stanley Baker, Herbert Lom, Peggy Cummins, Patrick McGoohan and Sean Connery, produced by the Rank Organisation and Aqua Film Productions.-Plot:...

  • Just My Luck
    Just My Luck (1957 film)
    Just My Luck is a 1957 British sports comedy film directed by John Paddy Carstairs and starring Norman Wisdom as a worker in a jewellery shop.- Plot :...

  • Another Time, Another Place (1958)
  • The Mouse on the Moon
    The Mouse on the Moon
    The Mouse on the Moon is a 1963 British comedy film, an adaptation of the novel The Mouse on the Moon by Irish author Leonard Wibberley. It was directed by Richard Lester and served as the sequel to The Mouse That Roared. In it, the people of the Duchy of Grand Fenwick, a microstate, attempt space...

  • Catch Us If You Can
    Catch Us If You Can (film)
    Catch Us If You Can was the feature-film debut of director John Boorman...

  • The Spy with a Cold Nose
    The Spy with a Cold Nose
    The Spy with a Cold Nose is a 1966 British comedy film directed by Daniel Petrie.-Cast:* Laurence Harvey as Dr. Francis Trevelyan* Daliah Lavi as Princess Natasha Romanova* Lionel Jeffries as Stanley Farquhar* Eric Sykes as Wrigley...

  • You Only Live Twice
    You Only Live Twice (film)
    You Only Live Twice is the fifth spy film in the James Bond series, and the fifth to star Sean Connery as the fictional MI6 agent James Bond. The film's screenplay was written by Roald Dahl, and loosely based on Ian Fleming's 1964 novel of the same name...

  • The Whisperers
    The Whisperers
    The Whisperers is a 1967 British drama film directed by Bryan Forbes. It is based on the 1961 novel by Robert Nicolson.- Plot :The Whisperers tells the story of an impoverished old woman living alone in a seedy apartment who enjoys a rich fantasy life as an heiress...

  • Danger Route
    Danger Route
    Danger Route is a 1967 British spy film directed by Seth Holt for Amicus Productions and starring Richard Johnson as Jonas Wilde, Carol Lynley and Barbara Bouchet. It was based on Andrew York's 1966 novel The Eliminator that was the working title of the film...

  • See No Evil
    See No Evil (1971 film)
    See No Evil, also known as Blind Terror, is a 1971 British thriller film directed by Richard Fleischer and starring Mia Farrow as a recently-blinded woman named Sarah.-Plot:...

  • Commuter Husbands
    Commuter Husbands
    Commuter Husbands is a 1973 comedy film by noted British sexploitation director Derek Ford. The film was directed and written by Derek Ford, and stars Gabrielle Drake, Robin Bailey, and Claire Gordon.-Cast:* Gabrielle Drake as Carol Appleby...

  • If You Go Down in the Woods Today
    If You Go Down in the Woods Today
    If You Go Down in the Woods Today is the name of a British TV film comedy released in 1981, written, directed and starring Eric Sykes, also featuring Robin Bailey and Norman Bird amongst a cast of dozens. The film, produced by Thames TV, has been described by Sykes as 'a comedy thriller, an Agatha...

  • Dead on Time
    Dead on Time (1983 film)
    Dead on Time is a 1983 British short film directed by Lyndall Hobbs and written by Richard Curtis and Rowan Atkinson. The film is a comedy which tells the story of Bernard Fripp a man who, on attending a routine check-up, is diagnosed by his doctor as having a rare disease leaving him only 30...

  • Jane and the Lost City
    Jane and the Lost City
    Jane and the Lost City was a 1987 film, based on the British newspaper strip Jane by Norman Pett. An adventure comedy set during World War II, the film was directed by Terry Marcel, and stars Kirsten Hughes in the title role, Sam Jones, Maud Adams, Jasper Carrott and Robin Bailey.- Synopsis...


External links