Peter Blythe - Character Actor Aug 25, 2012 22:02:01 GMT 1
Post by Laurence on Aug 25, 2012 22:02:01 GMT 1
Photo courtesy of www.aveleyman.com
Peter Blythe, who has died aged 69, lived for the theatre, and spent most of his life in it. Whether as a member of the National Theatre, the Old Vic, the Royal Shakespeare Company or in the West End, he brought his pale looks, thoughtful demeanour and dry sense of often angry comedy to some of the most stylish productions of the day, and a fascinating edge to almost every type he played. On television, he is best remembered as "Soapy" Sam Ballard, the head of chambers in Rumpole Of The Bailey, in the 1980s and early 1990s. Earlier this year, he portrayed Tom King in BBC4's The Alan Clark Diaries.
Yorkshire born, Blythe was one of that last generation to be called up for national service. He won a scholarship to Rada, and began his career with the Living Theatre Company, Leicester. Then he moved to the Nottingham Playhouse, under the direction of John Neville and Frank Dunlop. In 1963, Neville assembled a company to tour west Africa. Blythe played Orsino, to Judi Dench's Viola, in Twelfth Night. She fell ill with malaria in Accra: "I passed out and Peter Blythe had to carry me off. There was thunderous applause. They thought it was part of the play."
Blythe's other television credits included The Avengers, Callan, Harriet's Back in Town, Helen: A Woman of Today, Only Fools And Horses, The Falklands Play, Sword Of Honour, The High Life, Devil's Advocate, Love On A Branch Line, Barchester Chronicles and Foyle's War. Blythe was married and had a daughter. For the last eight years, his partner was Harriet Walter.
Peter Blythe, actor, born September 14 1934; died June 27 2004