Clement Graham Crowden (30 November 1922 – 19 October 2010) was a Scottish actor. He was best known for his many appearances in television comedy dramas and films, often playing eccentric "offbeat" scientist, teacher and doctor characters.
Clement Graham Crowden
30 November 1922
|Died||19 October 2010 (aged 87)|
(1952–2010; his death)
Graham Crowden was born in Edinburgh, the son of Anne Margaret (née Paterson) and Harry Graham Crowden. He was educated at Clifton Hall School and the Edinburgh Academy before serving briefly in the Royal Scots Youth Battalion of the army until he was injured in a bizarre accident. During arms drill he was shot by his platoon sergeant, when the sergeant's rifle discharged. The sergeant reportedly enquired "What is it now, Crowden?", to which Crowden replied "I think you've shot me, sergeant." He later found work in a tannery.
Crowden had a long and distinguished theatrical career, most notably at Laurence Olivier's National Theatre where he performed as The Player King in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, the play by Tom Stoppard.
He occasionally played mad scientists in film, taking the role of Doctor Millar in the Mick Travis films of director Lindsay Anderson, O Lucky Man! (1973) and Britannia Hospital (1982) and also playing the sinister Doctor Smiles in the film of Michael Moorcock's first Jerry Cornelius novel, The Final Programme (1973). He also played the eccentric history master in Anderson's if.... (1968). In 1970, he appeared in the popular Thames Television series Callan as The Groper, a de-registered doctor, who had been in Wormwood Scrubs called on by Callan, when unofficial medical assistance was required (e.g. Series 3, "A Village Called G" and likely others between 1967–73 though some are now lost).
In 1975, he made an appearance in "No Way Out" – an episode of the British sitcom Porridge alongside Ronnie Barker, Brian Wilde, Richard Beckinsale and Fulton Mackay, as the prison doctor when Fletcher was complaining of an injured leg.
He was offered the role of the Fourth Doctor in Doctor Who in 1974, when Jon Pertwee left the role but turned it down, informing producer Barry Letts that he was not prepared to commit himself to the series for three years. The role ultimately went to Tom Baker. He appeared in The Horns of Nimon (1979) as a villain opposite Baker. This was the reason why Ian Marter was originally hired, as the producers and directors considered Crowden too old to be seen running about and taking on a larger physical role.
A regular role was in the BBC comedy-drama A Very Peculiar Practice (1986–88) as the alcoholic Dr. Jock McCannon. In 1990, he appeared as a lecherous peer in the BBC comedy Don't Wait Up and in 1991 he played a modest role in the Rumpole of the Bailey episode "Rumpole and the Quacks", portraying Sir Hector MacAuliffe, the head of a medical inquest into the potential sexual misconduct on the part of Dr. Ghulam Rahmat (portrayed by Saeed Jaffrey).
In 1990, he landed the role of Tom Ballard in the sitcom Waiting for God, opposite Stephanie Cole's character Diana Trent, as the two rebellious retirement home residents. The show ran for five years and was a major success.
In 2001, he guest-starred in the Midsomer Murders episode "Ring Out Your Dead" and also played The Marquis of Auld Reekie in The Way We Live Now. Between 2001 and 2002, he played a role in the BBC Radio 4 comedy series The Leopard in Autumn. In 2003, he made a cameo appearance as a sadistic naval school teacher in The Lost Prince. In 2005–08, he starred in the BBC Radio 4 sci-fi comedy Nebulous as Sir Ronald Rolands. In 2008, he appeared as a guest star in Foyle's War.
For many years towards the end of his life, he lived in Mill Hill, London NW7.
Crowden died on 19 October 2010 in Edinburgh after a short illness. Crowden is survived by his wife, Phyllida Hewat, whom he married in 1952, a son and three daughters, one of whom, Sarah, followed him into acting.
|1964||HMS Paradise||Commander Shaw|
|1964||Redcap: The Patrol||Major Fraser|
|1965||Danger Man:That's Two Of Us Sorry||Commander Braithwaite|
|1970||Catweazle:The Enchanted King||Gobbling|
|1971||The Guardians:The Dirtiest Man in the World||The Dirtiest Man|
|1973||The Adventures of Black Beauty: Goodbye Beauty||Mr. Crevace|
|1975||Porridge: Christmas Special – "No Way Out"||Prison Physician|
|1977||'1990': Decoy||Dr. Sondeberg|
|1977||Raffles: Home Affairs||Sir Arthur Rumbold|
|1979–1980||Doctor Who: The Horns of Nimon||Soldeed|
|1985||Bleak House||Lord Chancellor|
|1986–1988||A Very Peculiar Practice||Dr. Jock McCannon|
|1986||All Passion Spent||Herbert|
|1990–1994||Waiting for God||Tom Ballard|
|1991||Rumpole of the Bailey||Sir Hector MacAuliffe|
|1992||The Alleyn Mysteries: Final Curtain||Sir Henry Ancred|
|1994||Love on a Branch Line||Professor Pollux|
|1996||Gulliver's Travels||Professor of Politics|
|2000||The 10th Kingdom||Old Retainer|
|2001||Dr. Terrible's House of Horrible (Episode 'Curse of the Blood of the Lizard of Doom')||Professor MacLewton|
|2001||The Way We Live Now||The Marquis of Auld Reekie|
|2002||Midsomer Murders (Episode Ring Out Your Dead)||Reggie Barton|
|2007||Waking the Dead (Episode Deus ex Machina)||Sir Cyril Barrett|
|2008||Foyle's War (Episode 'Broken Souls')||Sir John Sackville||(final television appearance)|
|1959||The Bridal Path||Man Giving Directions to the Beach||Uncredited|
|1961||Don't Bother to Knock||Scoutmaster||Uncredited|
|1962||We Joined the Navy||Uncredited|
|1965||One Way Pendulum||Prosecuting Counsel / Caretaker|
|1966||Morgan - A Suitable Case for Treatment||Counsel|
|1968||If....||History Master: Staff|
|1969||The File of the Golden Goose||Smythe|
|1969||The Virgin Soldiers||Medical Officer|
|1970||Leo the Last||Max|
|1970||The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer||Bishop of Cowley|
|1971||The Night Digger||Mr. Bolton|
|1972||Something to Hide||Lay Preacher|
|1972||Up the Chastity Belt||Sir Coward|
|1972||The Ruling Class||Kelso Truscott|
|1972||The Amazing Mr Blunden||Mr. Clutterbuck|
|1973||O Lucky Man!||Stewart / Prof. Millar / Meths Drinker|
|1973||The Final Programme||Dr. Smiles|
|1974||The Abdication||Cardinal Barberini|
|1974||The Little Prince||The General|
|1974||Romance with a Double Bass||Count Alexei|
|1975||The New Spartans|
|1977||Three Dangerous Ladies||The Butler||(segment "The Island")|
|1981||For Your Eyes Only||First Sea Lord|
|1982||Britannia Hospital||Professor Millar|
|1982||The Missionary||The Reverend Fitzbanks|
|1984||The Company of Wolves||Old Priest|
|1985||Code Name: Emerald||Sir Geoffrey Macklin|
|1985||Out of Africa||Lord Belfield|
|1988||A Handful of Dust||Mr. Graceful|
|1996||The Innocent Sleep||George|
|1998||The Sea Change||Chairman of The Board|
|1998||I Want You||Old Man|
- Randall, Nicholas (21 October 2010). "Stage and screen star Graham Crowden dies, aged 87". Edinburgh: The Scotsman.
- "Graham Crowden (obituary)". The Times. 21 October 2010. p. 65.
- Graham Crowden Biography (1922–2010)
- One biographical report of the shooting.
- BBC: Very quietly, Waiting For God became a huge success...