Brian Murphy (actor)

Brian Trevor John Murphy (born 25 September 1932) is an English actor and comedian. He is best known as the henpecked husband George Roper in the popular sitcom Man About the House and its spin-off series George and Mildred, and as Alvin Smedley in Last of the Summer Wine. Other notable roles include Stan the shopkeeper in the 1990s children's series Wizadora and in comedy drama series The Booze Cruise.

Brian Murphy
Brian Trevor John Murphy

(1932-09-25) 25 September 1932 (age 90)
Years active1960–present
  • Carol Gibson
    (m. 1957, divorced)
  • (m. 1995)

Life and careerEdit

Murphy was born on 25 September 1932 in Ventnor, Isle of Wight, the son[1] of grocer's assistant Gerald Murphy and his wife Mabel, both of whom later became restaurateurs. His two brothers Ken and Eric died during active service in the Second World War.[2] He was called up to do his national service at RAF Northwood, where he met future The Good Life actor Richard Briers. On leaving the RAF the two aspiring actors both performed in productions by the Dramatic Society at the Borough Polytechnic Institute, now London South Bank University. Murphy was a member of Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop (alongside Yootha Joyce), and a jobbing actor in the 1960s and early 1970s, combining his theatre work with appearances in television shows such as The Avengers, Z-Cars, Callan and Dixon of Dock Green, before being cast in the role which would make him a household name.

In Man About the House, Murphy played the lazy George Roper, whose wife, Mildred, was played by Yootha Joyce. Her domineering, social-climbing characteristic was a sharp contrast to George's desire for an easy and quiet life and the pairing was an instant hit. A contributing factor to their immediate chemistry was that they had been friends for many years. Aside from their Theatre Workshop years, Murphy also featured in Sparrows Can't Sing (1963) with Joyce and other Theatre Workshop colleagues, including Barbara Windsor.

When Man About The House ended in 1976, a spin-off was created for Murphy and Joyce, entitled George and Mildred. This ran for five series until 1979. In 1978 he released the single 'Jogging' (B Side 'The Great Gnome Robbery') on the Pye Records Label. Murphy reprised his role in feature films of both sitcoms. Joyce died in 1980, and the planned final series of George and Mildred was cancelled. The following year, another sitcom was created for Murphy with him in the title role in The Incredible Mr. Tanner along with Man About The House and George and Mildred co-star Roy Kinnear, but the show failed to gain popularity. He moved to the BBC in 1982 for the driving school sitcom L For Lester, but this was also a ratings failure and was cancelled after just six episodes.

Murphy was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1997.

Murphy continued to appear regularly on television, most notably as "Alvin Smedley" in Last of the Summer Wine from 2003 to 2010, that was promoted by a cast return to Rose Theatre site and also with roles in On Your Way, Riley (1985) as Arthur Lucan,[3] Lame Ducks (as a private investigator); The Bill (as a drunken tramp dressed as an elf at Christmas); comedy series Pond Life, an animation series, as Len Pond, the father of protagonist Dolly Pond (Sarah Ann Kennedy), One Foot in the Grave starring Richard Wilson (playing a character called Mr Foskett);[4] Brookside; and as a shopkeeper called Stan in the pre-school children's TV series Wizadora. In 2010 he appeared in an episode of Hustle called "The Thieving Mistake". He has more recently made appearances in comedy shows The Catherine Tate Show, This is Jinsy and Benidorm. Murphy can also be seen in all three episodes of the ITV comedy The Booze Cruise, playing Maurice. He also appeared as Frank Dobson in The Cafe from 2011 and 2013. He also appeared in the Channel 4 comedy Man Down as music teacher Frank Field-Williams in the 2013 Christmas special.

Personal lifeEdit

Murphy married his second wife, Hi-de-Hi! actress Linda Regan, in 1995; they live in Kent. Murphy has two adult children, Trevor and Kevin, from his previous marriage to Carol Gibson.[5] His grandson is the playwright Martin Murphy, whose play Manor was performed at the Tristan Bates Theatre in Covent Garden in 2010.[6]



From October 1987 to July 1991, Murphy played Ernest Bond in BBC Radio 4's drama series Citizens.

Murphy also played Robert Collins in an episode of the audio series of Doctor Who by Big Finish Productions in an episode entitled "The Home Guard" in November 2019.



Year Title Role Notes
1963 Sparrows Can't Sing Jack
1964 Love and Maud Carver Guardsman
1965 San Ferry Ann British Tourist at Garage
1969 The Activist Member of Steering Committee
1971 The Devils Adam
1971 The Boy Friend Peter
1972 The Ragman's Daughter Tony's Father
1974 Man About the House George Roper
1976 I'm Not Feeling Myself Tonight Caretaker
1979 The Plank Truck Driver
1980 George and Mildred George Roper
1981 Black Jack Archibald
1982 It's Your Move Chauffeur
1997 Day Release
2000 The Mumbo Jumbo Mr. Tipple
2003 The Booze Cruise Maurice Stringer
2005 Room 36 George Roberts
2005 The Booze Cruise II: The Treasure Hunt Maurice Stringer
2006 The Booze Cruise III: The Scattering Maurice Stringer
2011 Grave Tales Arthur
2011 The Estate Geoff
2012 Blitz and Bananas Clarence Spratt
2012 Run For Your Wife Allotment Man Cameo


Year Title Role Notes
1960 Probation Officer Max Fletcher Episode: "#2.1"
1961 The Avengers Haslam Episode: "The Springers"
1961 The Interrogator Corporal Doggart TV film
1962 Z Cars Wallace Brackett 2 episodes
1963 ITV Television Playhouse Man with Alsatian Episode: "The Wedding Dress"
1963 The Plane Makers Sorbo Episode: "Costigan's Rocket"
1964 Six Mr. Gowing Episode: "The Diary of a Nobody: The Domestic Jottings of a City Clerk"
1965 Not So Much a Programme, More a Way of Life Various 24 episodes
1965 A World of Comedy Motorist 2 episodes
1965 Blackmail Talbut Episode: "Cobb"
1966 Hope and Keen Episode: "S.S. Bounty"
1966 Drama 61-67 Nick Episode: "Drama '66: A Hero of Modern Industry"
1966 Blackmail Fletcher Episode: "Vacant Possession"
1967 The White Rabbit Perkins Episode: "The Beginning"
1967 Baker's Half-Dozen Various 5 episodes
1968 Love Story Party guest Episode: "S for Sugar, A for Apple, M for Missing"
1968 Resurrection Kriltsov 2 episodes
1969 Sez Les Various 12 episodes
1970 The Misfit The drunk Episode: "On Protest"
1970 ITV Playhouse Driver Episode: "A Sound from the Sea"
1972 The Moonstone Septimus Luker 3 episodes
1972 Callan Reeves Episode: "None of Your Business"
1972 Alcock and Gander Pluthero Episode: "Soho Is Too Small"
1972 Dixon of Dock Green Percy Sinclair Episode: "Ada"
1973 The Unpleasantness at the Bellona Club Detective Episode: "Mr. Oliver"
1973–1976 Man About the House George Roper All 39 episodes
1974 South Riding Mr Hubbard Episode: "In Sickness and in Health"
1976–1979 George and Mildred George Roper All 38 episodes
1981 The Incredible Mr Tanner Ernest Tanner All 6 episodes
1981 Theatre Box Hubert Dibble Episode: "Reasons to Be Cheerful"
1982 L for Lester Lester Small All 6 episodes
1984–1985 Lame Ducks Ansell 11 episodes
1985 On Your Way Riley Arthur Lucan / Old Mother Riley TV film
1986 Reasons to Be Cheerful King Episode: "Charlie Chuckles"
1986 Cinderella: The Shoe Must Go On Amnesia TV film
1987 All in Good Faith Greg Sproat Episode: "The Patience of Job"
1992 Boon Buster Episode: "Shot in the Dark"
1993–1997 Wizadora Stan Unknown episodes
1994 One Foot in the Grave Mr. Foskett Episode: "The Man Who Blew Away"
1995 Brookside George Manners 5 episodes
1995 Next of Kin Salesman Episode: "Expansion"
1995 Paul Merton's Life of Comedy Grandad's friend 2 episodes
1996 Delta Wave Mr. Seffel Episode: "Dodgy Jammers: Part 2"
1996 Mike and Angelo Mervyn K. Mertz Episode: "An Actor's Life for Me"
1996–2000 Pond Life Len Pond 11 episodes
1997 The Famous Five Mr. Wooh Episode: "Five Are Together Again"
1997 Western Lights: Laugh Until You Die Ricky Chapple TV film
1997 Paul Merton in Galton and Simpson's... Father Episode: "Visiting Day"
1997 Paul Merton in Galton and Simpson's... Uncle Arthur Episode: "Being of Sound Mind"
1998 Jonathan Creek Ken Speed Episode: "Mother Redcap"
1999 Mrs Merton & Malcolm Mr Capstick All 6 episodes
1999 Hilltop Hospital Dr. Atticus Voice; Episode: "Gracey Greyshell's Last Day"
1999 Casualty Walter Burnley Episode: "To Have and to Hold"
1999 The Bill Danny the Elf Episode: "When the Snow Lay Round About"
2000 Sunburn Sid Dawson Episode: #2.2
2001 Comedy Lab Voice; Episode: "Knife & Wife"
2003–2010 Last of the Summer Wine Alvin Smedley 73 episodes
2004 Monkey Trousers Various TV film
2005–2006 The Catherine Tate Show Neville 5 episodes
2010 The Slammer Alan Episode: #1.12
2010 Hustle Larry Episode: "The Thieving Mistake"
2010 Paul O'Grady Live Alvin Episode: #1.6
2010 Benidorm Clive Mitchell Episode: "Christmas Special"
2011 White Van Man Albert Episode: "Beginnings and Ends"
2011 This is Jinsy Melty Harris Episode: "Kelpman"
2011–2013 The Cafe Jack Dobson 9 episodes
2013 Plebs Victor Episode: "Bananae"
2013 Man Down Mr Frank Field-Williams Episode: "Christmas Special"
2014 It's an Unknown World George Timemile Unknown episodes
2014 Holby City Charlie Evans Episode: "The Art of Losing"
2016 Casualty Frank Haines Episode: "Hopelessly Addicted"
2018 Claude Mr. Lovelybuns Voice; Episode: "Gone Sock"
2019 Holby City Buster Kitchener Episode: "The Wrong Horse"
2020–2021 Mighty 6 Old Man L. Voice; 2 episodes


  1. ^ "Brian Murphy – This Is Your Life. 5th January , 1998".
  2. ^ "FreeBMD – Search". Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  3. ^ "On Your Way Riley". 2 January 1985. Retrieved 22 December 2016 – via IMDb.
  4. ^ 'Mr Foskett' Archived 16 August 2011 at the Wayback Machine Retrieved 24 September 2007
  5. ^ 'Allo 'Allo star dies BBC News. 4 August 2002. Retrieved 24 August 2010.
  6. ^ "Tristan Bates Theatre". Retrieved 22 December 2016.

External linksEdit