Monday, March 05, 2012

Also On Ze List

The great Welsh character actor Philip Madoc has died after a short illness, his agent confirmed. The seventy seven-year-old had a long career on stage and screen, playing the title role in the 1980s BBC drama The Life and Times of David Lloyd George. His agent, Michael Hallett, said that Philip died on Monday morning in hospital in Hertfordshire surrounded by his family. Born in Merthyr Tydfil, Madoc appeared in numerous television shows including Doctor Who, The Avengers (on five occasions), The Monsters, Maigret, Cluff, For Whom The Bell Tolls, The Power Game, Dixon of Dock Green, The Saint, Man in a Suitcase, The Tyrant King, Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased), Z Cars, Jason King, The Troubleshooters, Public Eye, The Sweeney, Poldark, Another Bouquet, Target, Cowboys, A Very British Coup, Midsmoner Murders and the detective series A Mind to Kill (1994-2002). His extensive radio work included the title role in the BBC Radio 3 adaptation of King Lear and more recently he starred in S4C's new series The Cockle Farmer. Despite his many other notable performances he may well be most fondly remembered for his ten minute cameo as a haughty German U-Boat commander, brandishing 'Ze List!' in the The Deadly Attachment episode of Dad's Army. Hallett said: 'He will be greatly missed by all.' He added that Philip had suffered a short illness since January. His children, son Rhys and daughter Lowri, and his grandchildren were with him along with other members of his family when he died. His former wife, actress Ruth Madoc, said that she had known for some time Philip was unwell. 'I've known him since I was seventeen and I married him at nineteen,' she said. 'We had two children and have five grandchildren. I saw him on a regular basis and we had the family in common and a love of the business. I've got some wonderful memories of Philip. He was such a talented actor and had that wonderful voice.' Philip first became interested in acting when he was a teenager. He studied at the University of Vienna and pursued a theatrical career attending the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts. During the 1960s, he became a familiar face on British television, often cast in rather sinister baddie roles due to his dark looks and deep voice. 'Certainly initially I rarely played heroes because there was still this tradition that heroes were six foot tall,' he once noted. 'If you had a voice that wasn't high and dark eyes then there was a feeling that we were set out to play the villains of this world. I didn't ever argue with that, because they were more or less the best parts!' He first gained widespread recognition in two TV serials, first as the relentless SS Officer Lutzig in the World War II serial Manhunt (1969), and then as the vicious Huron warrior Magua in a serialisation of The Last of the Mohicans (1971). Philip's ability to give life to German villains also surfaced in the Kenneth Branagh and Emma Thompson TV series The Fortunes of War. Additionally, he was a terrific dry comedy actor, working extensively on sketches for The Ronnie Corbett Show and appearing in episodes of classic BBC sitcoms The Good Life and Porridge (Disturbing The Peace) and in a controversial episode of The Goodies which satirised apartheid. Philip had a long and memorable association with Doctor Who, appearing in the second Doctor Who film, Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150 AD (1966) and later four stories in the BBC series itself. He was in two Second Doctor serials — The Krotons and, memorably, as the villainous War Lord, in Patrick Troughton's final ten-part story The War Games. He returned in the 1970s in two Tom Baker serials — The Power of Kroll and as the mad scientist Solon in The Brain of Morbius (1975). Philip clearly enjoyed his time on the show, and years later recorded DVD commentaries for The War Games and The Brain of Morbius and was interviewed about his roles in the series in a documentary Philip Madoc - A Villain for All Seasons. He also appeared twice in another classic SF drama series, UFO, once as the partner of Ed Straker's estranged wife and again as the captain of a British warship under attack by the aliens. In the pilot episode of Space: 1999 (1975) he had a brief appearance as Commander Anton Gorski. He also made a memorable guest appearance in the Survivors television series. No stranger to the stage, Madoc appeared in a number of productions, working at 'home' at Theatr Clwyd and Theatre Wales and throughout the UK, including the West End, on tour, and with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Notables roles include Iago in Othello, Antony in Antony and Cleopatra, Shylock in The Merchant of Venice, Henry Higgins in Pygmalion and co-starring in The Forsyte Saga. His fantastically rich voice made him a natural for radio. Philip starred as Ellis Peters's medieval detective Brother Cadfael in the BBC Radio 4 Adaptations of Monk's Hood, The Virgin in the Ice and Dead Man's Ransom. He recorded a twelve-CD audiobook of selections from Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. In 2007, Madoc appeared as Y Llywydd in the S4C gangster series Y Pris, where he acted and spoke in his native Welsh. He was the narrator for the Discovery Channel documentary series Egypt Uncovered. Philip was also a noted linguist. He studied languages at the Universities of Wales and Vienna and worked as an interpreter. he was also a keen motrocyclists and had toured around Europe on several occasions on his Triumph. He was patron to a St Albans-based theatre school for children, Best Theatre Arts. Philip was married to Ruth Madoc for twenty years, but they divorced in 1981. His film roles included Operation Crossbow (1965), The Spy Who Came In from The Cold (1965), The Quiller Memorandum (1966), Hell Boats (1970), Dr Jekyll & Sister Hyde (1971) and Operation Daybreak (1975). He played Leon Trotsky in 1986's Zina and Manchester United coach Jimmy Murphy in Best (2000). Sherlock author Mark Gatiss writing on Twitter started his obituary with a quote from The Brain of Morbius: '"What a magnificent head!" Farewell to the always wonderful Philip Madoc. What presence.' Actress Frances Barber added: 'So sad to hear about Philip Madoc. I played Regan when he was King Lear on the radio. Saw him just last December. A lovely man.' Actress Susan Penhaligon added: 'Many moons ago I worked with Philip Madoc. He was lovely and had a Richard Burton Welsh voice.' Merthyr Tydfil and Rhymney AM Huw Lewis tweeted: 'Sad news about Merthyr's Philip Madoc who passed away today. A truly gifted actor who entertained the nation. He will be sorely missed.' Plaid Cymru Leader, Ieuan Wyn Jones, described Madoc as 'a committed friend of Wales. Whenever I met him, he was always extremely enthusiastic about Wales' potential as a nation,' he said. Elaine Morgan, who wrote the screenplay for The Life and Times of David Lloyd George, paid tribute to him as 'immensely versatile' with 'a wonderful voice. When he found out there was going to be a series about David Lloyd-George he was hell-bent on getting the part,' said Morgan. 'He was successful, of course, and did a great job of it. He was just so professional. I think other people liked acting with him because he never tried to shine at the expense of those around him. He was always bemused at being remembered for the "Don't tell him, Pike" scene from Dad's Army. He used to say there were hundreds of episodes of Dad's Army and he couldn't work out why people focused on that one.' Entertainer Wyn Calvin said he was a friend of Madoc's for fifty years. 'He was a great conversationalist and was an extremely knowledgeable man. He was well-read and spoke a number of languages fluently,' he added. 'He had a fine voice which was splendidly representative of the Welsh tone. The two things people will remember him for will be playing Lloyd-George and "Don't tell him, Pike" from Dad's Army. How splendid to be remembered for something so serious and something so funny.'

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