John Woodnutt

John Edward Arthur Woodnutt (3 March 1924 – 2 January 2006) was an English character actor, often cast in villainous roles.[1][2]

John Woodnutt
Actor john Woodnutt.jpg
John Edward Arthur Woodnutt

(1924-03-03)3 March 1924
London, England
Died2 January 2006(2006-01-02) (aged 81)

Early life and educationEdit

The younger son of Harold Frederick Woodnutt[3] and brother of the Conservative MP Mark Woodnutt,[4] he was born in London, and at the age of 18 made his acting debut at the Oxford Playhouse.[5]


He had many television roles, including that of Henry VII in the first episode of The Six Wives of Henry VIII (1970); Sir Watkyn Bassett in the television version of Jeeves and Wooster (1990 to 1993); and Merlin and Mogdred in the children's adventure game programme Knightmare (1987–1990).[6][5] One of his earliest television roles was in 1956 in the ITV drama One, broadcast live.[5] He appeared five times in Z-Cars and once in Softly, Softly.[5]

He appeared four times in the BBC science fiction television series Doctor Who:[7][8]

He appeared in The Avengers episode "Quick-Quick Slow Death" in 1966 and played "The Spidron" in the cult science fiction series The Tomorrow People in 1973.[9][10] He also appeared in the Look and Read educational serial "The Boy From Space" in 1971, as the Thin Spaceman; the BBC children's drama adaptation of The Secret Garden (1975); the 1976 HTV series Children of the Stones as the sinister butler Link; and the 1978 series The Doombolt Chase.[5][11] In the 1980s, he played various guest roles in several television movies such as Hitler's SS: Portrait in Evil, starring Bill Nighy and John Shea.[12] In the BBC Scotland television series of The Secret Garden, made in 1975, he played the part of Mr. Archibald Craven.[13] He appeared in producer Barry Letts's classic serials Sense and Sensibility, Stalky & Co., and The Pickwick Papers.[5] He played the Senior Tutor in Porterhouse Blue, appeared regularly as Sir Watkyn Bassett in the Jeeves and Wooster series alongside Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie and also appeared briefly in the comedy sketch show Paul Merton: The Series in the early 1990s.[11] He also appeared in an episode of The Bill, series 7, Episode 11 as Mr Cork.[14]

Radio and television Sherlock Holmes stories in which he appeared included the BBC Radio 4 adaptation of The Hound of the Baskervilles and, as the fussy banker Mr. Merryweather, in the series The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes with Jeremy Brett in the episode entitled The Red-Headed League.[15][16] He also made an appearance in the 1965 Douglas Wilmer Sherlock Holmes series on the BBC.[17]

His film credits included roles in The Scarlet Blade (1963), Man in the Middle (1964), All Neat in Black Stockings (1968), Connecting Rooms (1970), Who Dares Wins (1982), Champions (1984), Lifeforce (1985), Mack the Knife (1989) and Bullseye! (1990).[18]

Personal lifeEdit

He was married twice and had two sons and three daughters. The last part of his life was spent at Denville Hall, an actors' retirement home in Northwood.[5]


Year Title Role Notes
1960 Inn for Trouble 1st Board Member Uncredited
1960 The Young Jacobites Lieutenant Serial
1962 Fog for a Killer Blacky Uncredited
1963 The Scarlet Blade Lt. Wyatt Uncredited
1964 Man in the Middle Education Officer
1968 Star! Second Speaker, Hyde Park Corner Uncredited
1969 Oh! What a Lovely War British Officer Uncredited
1969 All Neat in Black Stockings Vicar
1970 Connecting Rooms Doctor
1982 Who Dares Wins Harold Staunton
1984 Champions Mr. Champion
1985 Lifeforce Metallurgist
1989 Mack the Knife Reverend Kimball
1990 Bullseye! Bank Manager
2000 Dragonheart: A New Beginning Friar Peter Final film role


  1. ^ "John Woodnutt - Theatricalia".
  2. ^ "John Woodnutt". 11 May 2012.
  3. ^ Dod's Parliamentary Companion, 136th year, Dod's Parliamentary Companion Ltd, 1968, p. 526
  4. ^ Diaries 1969-1977, Peter Nichols, Nick Hern Books, 2000, p. 53
  5. ^ a b c d e f g "John Woodnutt". The Independent. 31 January 2006. Archived from the original on 2022-06-14.
  6. ^ "Catherine of Aragon (1970)". BFI.
  7. ^ "BBC - Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide - Terror of the Zygons - Details".
  8. ^ "BBC - Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide - The Keeper of Traken - Details".
  9. ^ "John Woodnut - Movies and Filmography". AllMovie.
  10. ^ "The Vanishing Earth[30/07/73] (1973)". BFI.
  11. ^ a b III, Harris M. Lentz (24 October 2008). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 2006: Film, Television, Radio, Theatre, Dance, Music, Cartoons and Pop Culture. McFarland. ISBN 9780786452118 – via Google Books.
  12. ^ "Hitler's SS Portrait in Evil (1985)". BFI.
  13. ^ "The Secret Garden Part 7 Magic (1975)". BFI.
  14. ^ "Night and Day (1991)". BFI.
  15. ^ "BBC Radio 4 Extra - Sherlock Holmes, The Hound of the Baskervilles, Death on the Moor". BBC.
  16. ^ "The Red Headed League (1985)". BFI.
  17. ^ "The Disappearance of Lady Frances Carfax (1965)". BFI.
  18. ^ "John Woodnutt". BFI.

External linksEdit