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22 April 1942 |
Hamilton, New Zealand
Denis Lill joined the RNZAF as a 13 course BES cadet entrant in 1959. It was in the RNZAF that he first expressed an interest in amateur dramatics, and a fondness for mimicking characters of the BBC's "The Goon Show". Throughout his air force career, he involved himself in operatic and theatric productions.
Some of his many film and television roles include Fall of Eagles (1974), Edward the Seventh (1975), Survivors (1975–1977), The Scarlet Pimpernel (1982), as William Knox D'Arcy, the Australian oil pioneer in Persia, in Reilly: Ace of Spies (1983), Rumpole of the Bailey (1983–1992), Mapp and Lucia (1985–1986), Only Fools and Horses (1989–1992), Richard III (1995), Evita (1996), Rebecca (1997) and The Royal (2003-2011).
Lill twice appeared in the BBC's science fiction series Doctor Who: as Dr Fendelman in the 1977 serial Image of the Fendahl and as Sir George Hutchinson in 1984's The Awakening. After a one-off appearance in the first series of Terry Nation's post-apocalyptic drama Survivors as Charles Vaughan, he became the leading actor for the show's second and third series. In the 1990s he starred in sitcoms Outside Edge as Dennis and Only Fools and Horses as Alan Parry.
He also appeared as the drunken MP Sir Talbot Buxomly who died onscreen in an episode of Blackadder the Third and as the Beadle in Blackadder's Christmas Carol. He also appeared as Sir Reuben Astwell in "The Underdog" (1993) of the detective series Poirot. He appeared in Red Dwarf, playing a rogue simulant in "Gunmen of the Apocalypse" and from 2003 until 2011 Lill starred in the ITV1 drama The Royal. as Consultant General Surgeon Mr. Rose. Lill has also worked in radio theatre with one of his memorable characters being the brother in Ron Blair's play "The Christian Brothers." In 2014 he appeared in 24: Live Another Day.