Colin Douglas (actor)

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Colin Douglas
Born Colin Martin Douglas
(1912-07-28)28 July 1912
Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, England, UK
Died 21 December 1991(1991-12-21) (aged 79)
London, England, UK
Occupation Actor
Spouse(s) Gina Cachia (1949–1989) (her death)
Children Timothy, Amanda, Angus, Blaise, and Piers

Colin Douglas (28 July 1912 – 21 December 1991) was an English actor. Born in Newcastle upon Tyne, Northumberland, Douglas was educated at the Farm School in Cumberland. Following his elder brother Jock, he emigrated to New Zealand when he was 16, working in sheep farming and lumberjacking, but only stayed for five years before auditioning to study at RADA, after begging his father to let him return to try and become an actor. He did some time in repertory, but World War II halted his career. In the armed forces he went to Catterick and Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, became Captain and Adjutant in the Border Regiment, and served in the 1st Airborne Division. During the Allied invasion of Sicily his glider, like many others, was released too early, and the crew were in the sea for two days (many members of other crews perished). He was also dropped by glider at Arnhem, during the ill-fated Operation Market Garden but in later years was reluctant to talk about it. He was appearing on stage in Alan Plater's play Close the Coalhouse Door when he heard he had been chosen for a leading part in A Family at War. This popular series ran for 52 episodes from 1970.

His film credits include The Trollenberg Terror (1958), Captain Clegg (1962) and Mister Ten Per Cent (1967).

His theatre credits include One For the Pot, one of Brian Rix's Whitehall farces in the '60s, a spell with the Royal Shakespeare Company which included a production of Toad of Toad Hall with David Suchet, and Exchange in the late '80s, with his good friend Martin Jarvis.

His television credits include Doctor Who (in the serials The Enemy of the World and Horror of Fang Rock). Also the 1955 version of The Children of the New Forest. He also had roles in Fire Crackers, The Buccaneers, Danger Man, Love Story, Follyfoot, Telford's Change, The Sweeney, Dick Barton - Special Agent, The Seventh Juror, The Flockton Flyer, Headmaster, Thicker than Water (an instalment of the anthology series Play for Today), The Night People, The Omega Factor, The Greenhill Pals and The Pickwick Papers.

Colin Douglas had a lead role in the drama A Family at War (1970–72) where he played Edwin Ashton in a glum portrayal of a Liverpool family in the 1930s and '40s. Fifty-two episodes were made by Granada TV and the series proved to be very popular and often drew a weekly audience of over 22 million viewers, sometimes knocking Coronation Street off the top spot. It was also loved by audiences in Scandinavia, and the cast were treated like superstars when they visited.

Another lead role was Bonehead in the comical children's black and white BBC TV series Bonehead which lasted two seasons between 1960-1962. It was about three hopeless crooks, Paul Whitsun-Jones as Boss, Douglas Blackwell as Happy and Colin Douglas as Bonehead. Boss would devise a criminal scheme and along with the eternally miserable Happy and the idiot Bonehead (whose catchphrase was "Shall I bash 'im, Boss?"), they would try to carry the scheme out. But things always went wrong, often thanks to Bonehead and the watchful eye of PC Pilchard. To try and rescue something from the mess Boss would suggest an alternative scheme with the phrase "plan B Bonehead".

Colin Douglas's last role was as troubled Labour Party veteran, Frank Twist in Alan Bleasdale's TV series GBH.

He was married to actress Gina Cachia for 40 years, until her death in 1989. Their children are named: Timothy, Amanda (killed, aged 20, in a traffic accident whilst at the University of Kent, Canterbury), Angus, Blaise and Piers. He and the family lived in a large mansion block flat overlooking the park, in Battersea, London, and his hobbies were sea fishing, golf and cooking. He also served on the actors' Equity Council for several years.

Selected filmography[edit]

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