John Nettleton (actor)

John Nettleton (born 5 February 1929) is an English actor best known for playing Sir Arnold Robinson, Cabinet Secretary in Yes Minister (1980–84) and President of the Campaign for Freedom of Information in the follow-up Yes, Prime Minister (1985–88).[1][2] Another political role for Nettleton was a Conservative Party Member of Parliament (Sir Stephen Baxter) in the sitcom The New Statesman.[3]

John Nettleton
Born (1929-02-05) 5 February 1929 (age 91)
Lewisham, London, England
Years active1956–2010

Other television roles included a Ministry of Defence department chief in The Avengers (episode "The See-Through Man", 1967), a police sergeant in Please Sir! (1969), Froggett in the office comedy series If It Moves File It (1970), Francis Bacon in Elizabeth R (1971), a Detective Superintendent in Doctor at Large in 1971, Upstairs, Downstairs (1972), The Country Wife (1977), Brideshead Revisited (1981), The Flame Trees of Thika (1981), The Citadel (1983), Martin Luther, Heretic (1983), Brass (1983), East of Ipswich (1987), Reverend Ernest Matthews in the Doctor Who serial Ghost Light (1989), Longitude (2000), Midsomer Murders (2005) and Kingdom (2008).[4][5][6] In the 1960s and 1970s, Nettleton was the reader of various illustrated stories on children's television programme Blue Peter. Often these were about historical figures, such as Florence Nightingale.[7]

On stage, Nettleton has appeared in the Lyttelton Theatre of the National Theatre in the 2006 productions of Harley Granville-Barker's The Voysey Inheritance, directed by Peter Gill.[8] He also voices Grandpa in the PC Game The Scruffs.

Nettleton was born in Lewisham, London, England. He is married to actress Deirdre Doone.[9]


Year Title Role Notes
1966 A Man For All Seasons Jailer
1969 The Last Shot You Hear Det. Inspector Nash
1970 Some Will, Some Won't Wagstaff
And Soon the Darkness
1971 Black Beauty Sir William
1975 All Creatures Great and Small Head Waiter
1982 Anyone for Denis? Jenkins TV version
1983 Martin Luther, Heretic Andreas Karlstadt TV movie
1988 Burning Secret
1991 American Friends Rev. Groves
1998 Jinnah General Gracie
2005 Oliver Twist
2007 Fishtales Professor Coulter


  1. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Yes Minister (1980-84)".
  2. ^ "BBC Two - Yes, Prime Minister, Series 1, One of Us". BBC.
  3. ^ "BFI Screenonline: New Statesman, The (1987-92) Credits".
  4. ^ "John Nettleton". BFI.
  5. ^ "John Nettleton".
  6. ^ "John Nettleton - Movies and Filmography". AllMovie.
  7. ^ "John was the god of children's TV". Swindon Advertiser.
  8. ^ Billington, Michael (26 April 2006). "The Voysey Inheritance, National, London" – via
  9. ^ Morrison, John. "The Importance of Being Earnest review at Greenwich Theatre - Review - Theatre".

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