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Cast biographies from The Navy Lark Series Boxsets - researched and written by Andrew Pixley


The Navy Lark - Cast


Written by Laurie Wyman and George Evans


Produced by Alastair Scott-Johnson



Jon Pertwee (7 July 1919 – 20 May 1996)

Characters played: CPO Pertwee, Commander Wetherby, Vice Admiral Burwasher, Vice Admiral Buttonshaw

The son of playwright Roland Pertwee, Jon was born John Devon Roland Pertwee in Chelsea in July 1919. A keen performer, he trained at RADA in the 1930?s and was soon in demand on stage for his versatile character work. After wartime Naval service, Jon entered radio by accident where his vocal talents made him a star in The Waterlogged Spa and Up the Pole amongst others. His film career included movies like Murder at the Windmill, Will Any Gentleman? and several of the Carry On? films while on television he was best known as the third Doctor Who, scarecrow Worzel Gummidge and as the host of Whodunnit?. A showman all his life, Jon died in New York in May 1996

Filmography: Doctor Who (3rd Doctor 1970-1974), Worzle Gummidge, Navy Lark, Super Ted, Jackanory (The Little Grey Rabbit), One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing, Carry on Cleo.




Stephen Murray (6 September 1912 – 31 March 1983)

Characters played: Commander Murray

Stephen Murray was born in Lincolnshire in September 1912, and he made his professional acting debut in Much Ado About Nothing in Stratford in 1933. After working at Birmingham Rep. Westminster Theatre and at the Old Vic. Stephen was commissioned as an Army officer during the war. After 1945, Murray returned to the theatre and focused initially on directing, touring Europe with his controversial interpretation of King Lear. On stage, Stephen appeared in On The Rocks, School For Scandal and Six Characters in Search of an Author, although his favourite performance was as George in Who’s Afraid of Virginia Wolf? in Edinburgh in 1965. On television, he starred in plays such as Thunder Rock and Marriage Lines. Stephen died in April 1983 at the age of 70.




Dennis Price (23 June 1915 - 6 October 1973)

Characters played: Commander Price

Born Dennistoun John Franklin Rose Price in Ruscombe in June 1915, Dennis was best known for playing well-bred characters in British television and film. Sent down from Oxford, Dennis attended the Embassy Theatre school and made his stage debut in 1937. After serving in the Royal Artillery, his film career included The Bad Lord Byron, Kind Hearts and Coronets and I?m All Right Jack. After marital and drink problems, Dennis?s career was revived with his casting as Jeeves in BBC 1?s The World Of Wooster, after which he became a tax exile on the Isle of Sark. In his later years he did numerous low-grade horror films and died from a liver complaint on Guernsey in October 1973.




Leslie Phillips (April 1924 - )

Characters played: SL Phillips, Nato Rep, Naval Expenditure

Despite his famous well-bred ladies? man image, Leslie Phillips was born in the working class environs of Tottenham in April 1924. A child actor at the Italia Conti School, he made his debut in Peter Pan at the London Palladium. Picking up his cultured tones from officers in the Durham Light Infantry, Leslie appeared in comedy movies including The Smallest Show on Earth, early Carry On films and taking over the Doctor series. On television, he starred in Our Man at St Marks and Cassanova ?73 while his film work includes Out of Africa and Empire of the Sun. Awarded an OBE in 1998, he recently achieved acclaim with his one-man show On the Whole Life?s Been Pretty Good.

Filmography: Harry Potter (The Sorting Hat), Saving Grace, The Jackal, Empire of the Sun, Carry on Constable - Teacher - Nurse, Doctor in Love, Watch Your Stern, The Navy Lark




Richard Caldicot (7 October 1908 – 16 October 1995)

Characters played: Commander/Captain Povey

Born October 1908 in London, Richard Caldicot enjoyed a long acting career, often playing irritable authority figures. In demand in both comic and serious roles, his movies included The Million Pound Note, Room at the Top and The VIPs, while on television he was seen in If the Crown Fits, Moody In?, Steptoe and Son, Pet Pals, The Beverly Hillbillies, Vanity Fair, Coronation Street, Fawlty Towers, Minder, Bergerac, Lord Peter Wimsey and Casualty. He was the only cast member of The Navy Lark to appear in the short-lived television version, HMS Paradise, and on radio he also appeared in the The Motorway Men. Working to the end of his life, Richard died in October 1995.




Ronnie Barker (25 September 1929 – 3 October 2005)

Characters played: AS Johnson, Lieutenant Commander Stanton, Commander Bell, Lt Parfet, Mr Queeg

Born September 1929 in Bedford, Ronnie Barker trained as an architect and worked in a bank before following his true vocation as an entertainer. With a great deal of stage experience including work at the Oxford Playhouse, he made his television and radio debuts in the mid-1950?s with I?m Not Bothered and Floggits respectively, and gave support in British comedy films. The Frost Report gave him TV fame. Acting ? and writing under various pen-names ? Barker?s TV work has included The Ronnie Barker Playhouse, Frost on Sunday, Hark at Barker, The Two Ronnies, His Lordship Entertains, Porridge, Open All Hours, Going Straight, The Magnificent Evans and Clarence. Now retired, he was awarded the OBE for services to entertainment.




Tenniel Evans (17 May 1926 – 10 June 2009)

Characters played: AS Goldstein, The Admiral, Captain Hardcastle, Intelligence, The Sea Lord - Lord Quirk, Lt. Burkett, Shamus O'Ginsburg

Born in May 1926 in Nairobi, Welshman Tenniel Evans spent his childhood years in Kenya before settling in England. His great uncle was the illustrator Sir John Tenniel and great-great aunt was Marian Evans (George Elliot). On television, he has appeared in such as the The Plane Makers, Budgie, War and Peace, The Fall and Rise of Reginald Perrin, Yes Minister, The Citadel, Inspector Morse, Casualty and Heartbeat, as well as featuring regularly in Shine on Harvey Moon, The Two of Us and One by One. Tenniel has performed on stage across England in aeverything from Shakespeare to modern drama. Now a clergyman, he has written an autobiography about his childhood called Don?t Walk in the Long Grass.




Heather Chasen (20 July 1927 - )

Characters played: WRN Chasen, Mrs Ramona Povey, Rita Murray, Morpeth Goldstein, Natasha Snogitoff, Lady Quirk, Miss Simpkins, Lady Todhunter-Brown, Lucy Doll

Born July 1927 in Singapore, Heather Chasen and her mother escaped on the last ship to leave before the Japanese occupation. Training at at RADA, she did a lot of stage work including a tour with Frankie Howard in Hotel Paradiso, appearing with Dame Sybil Thorndyke in Call Me Jackie and receiving a Tony nomination as the New York lead of A Severed Head. On television she appeared as Caroline Kerr in The Newcomers and as Valerie Pollard in Crossroads. On stage, she has enjoyed seasons at Chichester, performed open-air Shakespeare at Reagents Park, and appeared in The Mountain Women at the Royal Court.




Michael Bates (4 December 1920 – 11 January 1978)

Characters played: L Bates, AS Ginger, Commander Shaw, Cuthbert Spinks, Pierre, Mr Proudfoot, Flag Lt Dingle, Lt Pike, Captain Atcherson, The Padre, Igor Astracarnovitch, Captain Come-up-from-the-ranks, Lt. Perregrin Pertwee, Nasa Colonel, Vice Admiral Ironbridge, Lt. Deacon, Gate Policeman

Born in December 1920 in Jhansi, in what was British India, Michael Bates was versed in many languages and dialects which made him much in demand as a character actor. Entering films in the 1940s he appeared in I?m All Right Jack,
Bedazzled, Oh! What a Lovely War, A Clockwork Orange and No Sex Please ? We?re British amongst others. On television, his first starring sitcom was Turnbull?s Finest Half-Hour, followed rapidly by the role of Cyril Blamire in Last of the Summer Wine. Diagnosed with cancer in 1975. Michael continued to work, appearing as Rangi Ran in It Ain?t Half Hot Mum through to his death in January 1978.




Judy Cornwell (22 February 1940 - )

Characters played: WRN Cornwell

Cornwell's father served in the RAF and she grew up in Britain where she attended a convent school, before moving to Australia where her family emigrated. She has written about her childhood experiences in her autobiography Adventures of a Jelly Baby. She returned to Britain, where she became a professional dancer and comedian in her teens, working her act between the nudes at the Windmill Theatre before becoming an actress. Her long career includes roles in radio's The Navy Lark as WREN Cornwell, the controversial play Oh! What A Lovely War, her own TV comedy series Moody and Pegg, and several seasons with the Royal Shakespeare Company. Cornwell's movie roles include Santa Claus: The Movie and Mad Cows. On television she has appeared in Dixon of Dock Green, Cakes and Ale, Bergerac, Doctor Who (the episode Paradise Towers), several episodes of Farrington of the F.O., The Famous Five, The Bill, Heartbeat, Miss Marple and Midsomer Murders. Judy is also appearing in BBC soap opera EastEnders as Queenie Trott, the mean tyrant mother of lovable loser Heather Trott. She is best known, however, for her portrayal of lovable working-class housewife "Daisy" in the popular sitcom Keeping Up Appearances, which ran from 1990 to 1995.




Janet Brown

Characters played: WRN Brown, Mrs Crump




Laurie Wyman

Characters played: Inspector Burt Tiddy, Ableseaman Tiddy, Captain Ormanroy

Rather than serve in the Royal Navy, Laurie Wyman was actually a lance-corporal in the Army. After the war, he started writing comedy for radio and television with shows like Happy Go Lucky and the Lighter Side. Teaming up with Len Fincham, he wrote for Morecambe and Wisa, and Jimmy Jewel and Ben Warriss. Concurrent with The Navy Lark he wrote So I?ll Tell You and The Motor Way, and he transferred The Navy Lark to TV as HMS Paradise. On radio he also wrote The Embassy Lark, The Big Business and Just the Job, the latter with his new co-writer, George Evans, with whom he collaborated on scripts for Bless This House, Love Thy Neighbour and Carry On Dick.




Norma Ronald

Fred Lucas

Elizabeth Morgan

Chic Murray

April Walker

Edwin Braden (great hairy fool)

June Whitfeild (yep that one from Ab Fab)



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