Sunday, 24 August 2008

Coke and Rigby

A couple of recent obituaries caught my eye. Both the deceased were people who, although not really famous, had done work that I much enjoyed.

Peter Coke was the smooth voice of the eponymous hero in the best of the Paul Temple radio shows. He was entirely believable as an essentially unbelievable character – no mean feat. In a nice piece in ‘The Independent’, that excellent writer Jack Adrian recalled a chance meeting with Coke and his surprise when Coke told him that Temple’s glamorous wife Steve was in reality a rather dumpy little lady (but played with an improbably appealing cut glass accent), Marjorie Westbury. It would probably have come as even more of a surprise to radio listeners in the 50s to discover that the uxorious Temple was played by a gay man.

Terence Rigby, who has died at the age of 71, was a tough guy in films such as Get Carter and Tomorrow Never Dies. But I remember him best as the gruff but likeable PC Snow in that long-running TV series ‘Softly, Softly’. This was essentially a spin-off from the classic ‘Z Cars’, but so well done that it took on a fresh momentum of its own and ran for around a decade. Very well cast, with the likes of Stratford Johns and Frank Windsor in the leading roles, it remains one of my all-time favourite cop shows. Rigby was a first-rate actor, never a household name but nonetheless a reliable presence in film and television for forty years.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am not a big TV fan but I did love The Biederbeck Affair, which was completely "made" by Terence Rigby as Big Al (in his shed).
Lovely work. He was one of those actors who did not always have large roles but who was instantly recognisable, with a very dry wit.