Maurice Colbourne

Maurice Colbourne (24 September 1939 – 4 August 1989) was an English stage and television actor who starred as Tom Howard in the BBC television series Howards' Way.[1] He is also known for roles in other television series such as Gangsters, The Onedin Line, The Day of the Triffids and Doctor Who. He was usually cast as a villain in his career.[2]

Maurice Colbourne
Roger Middleton

(1939-09-24)24 September 1939
Sheffield, England
Died4 August 1989(1989-08-04) (aged 49)
Dinan, Brittany, France
Years active1970–1989

Early lifeEdit

Maurice Colbourne was born Roger Middleton in Sheffield, three weeks after Britain and France declared war on Germany upon the outbreak of the Second World War, and studied acting at the Central School of Speech and Drama. He took his stage name from that of an earlier film actor called Maurice Colbourne, (24 September 1894–22 September 1965), who shared the same birthday (in a different year) as his.


In 1972, he co-founded, together with Michael Irving and Guy Sprung, the Half Moon Theatre near Aldgate, east London. This was a successful, radical theatre company, performing initially in an 80-seat disused synagogue in Half Moon Passage, E1. In 1985, the company moved to a converted chapel in Mile End Road, near Stepney Green. He performed in many productions at Half Moon Theatre, including In the Jungle of the Cities, Will Wat, If Not, What Will?, Heroes of the Iceberg Hotel, Sawdust Caesar, Dan Dare and Chaste Maid in Cheapside. He also directed several productions, including Silver Tassie, Alkestis, The Shoemakers and Pig Bank. He returned in 1979 to perform in Guys and Dolls.[3]

He first became well known when he played the lead in a BBC drama series, Gangsters, from 1975–78, and afterwards appeared regularly on screen. He played Charles Marston, the love interest of Lady Fogarty in the seventh series of The Onedin Line screened from 22 July to 23 September 1979. He played a mercenary in an episode of the Return of the Saint called "Duel in Venice". He played the character Jack Coker in the BBC's television miniseries adaptation of John Wyndham's The Day of the Triffids (1981). He also twice appeared in Doctor Who as the character Lytton (in Resurrection of the Daleks (1984) and Attack of the Cybermen (1985)).

Colbourne played lead character Tom Howard in successful BBC television drama Howards' Way from 1985 to 1989. During a break in filming of the fifth series, he died suddenly aged 49 from a heart attack while renovating a holiday home in Dinan, Brittany, France. The programme continued to the end of series five and for a sixth series, to tie up the storylines, with Colbourne's character being written out of the scripts.



  1. ^ "Howards' Way actor dies". Herald Scotland. Retrieved 10 February 2015.
  2. ^ Gerard Glaister; Ray Evans (1988). Howards' Way: The Story of the BBC TV Series. BBC Books. p. 79. ISBN 0563207124. Usually I get cast as a villain, which I have to say I quite enjoy playing
  3. ^ "Maurice Colbourne : Stages of Half Moon". Retrieved 23 April 2018.

External linksEdit