George Sewell

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For other people named George Sewell, see George Sewell (disambiguation).
George Sewell
Born (1924-08-31)31 August 1924
Hoxton, London, England, United Kingdom
Died 2 April 2007(2007-04-02) (aged 82)
London, England
Occupation Actor
Years active 1963–2006

George Sewell (31 August 1924 – 2 April 2007) was an English actor.[1]

Early life and career[edit]

The son of a Hoxton printer and a florist;[2] Sewell left school at the age of 14 and worked briefly in the printing trade before switching to building work, specifically the repair of bomb-damaged houses. He then trained as a Royal Air Force pilot, though too late to see action during the Second World War.[2]

Following his demob, Sewell joined the Merchant Navy, serving as a steward for the Cunard Line on the RMS Queen Mary and RMS Queen Elizabeth for their Atlantic crossings to New York. He worked as a street photographer, assisted a French roller-skating team, and was drummer and assistant road manager of a rumba band.[2] He also travelled Europe as a motor coach courier for a holiday company.[3]

Acting career[edit]

Sewell had not considered acting until, aged 35,[2] he met the actor Dudley Sutton by chance in a pub.[3] Sutton recommended that Sewell audition for a production by Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop of Fings Ain't Wot They Used T'Be. Sewell did so, and made his acting debut as a policeman in the show both at the Theatre Royal, Stratford East and in the West End.[3] He went on to star in two other Littlewood productions, Sparrers Can't Sing (1962) and as Field Marshal Haig in Oh! What a Lovely War (1963), which later opened in Paris and on Broadway.[3] The experience garnered from stage acting led to a long career in both film and television.

For many years, Sewell was the gritty face of crime and law enforcement in a huge array of television series. Amongst his early roles, he was the tallyman in the television play Up The Junction (1965), a criminal who runs off with a teenage girl in Softly, Softly (1966), a hard-nosed building engineer in The Power Game (1965–66), a cowardly informer in Man in a Suitcase (1967), and a seedy private eye in Spindoe (1968). In 1970, he played Colonel Alec Freeman in Gerry Anderson's live-action science-fiction drama UFO.

In 1973, Euston Films re-invigorated the TV series Special Branch, formerly a videotaped series starring Derren Nesbitt. Sewell was brought in to play the lead character of DCI Alan Craven. The show ran for two seasons with Sewell, and served as a stylistic forerunner of crime drama The Sweeney (in which Sewell also appeared, this time as a villain). Sewell was to parody this role as Supt Frank Cottam in the Jasper Carrott/Robert Powell comedy, The Detectives.

Later television appearances include Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (1979), in which he played Mendel, and the Doctor Who story Remembrance of the Daleks (1988), in which he played a fascist called Mr Ratcliffe. He also appeared frequently in films, notably This Sporting Life (1963), Poor Cow (1967) and Get Carter (1971).

Personal life and Death[edit]

His brother, Danny Sewell, a former boxer, also became an actor.

George Sewell died of cancer at the age of 82.[4]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Film
Year Title Role Notes
1998 Let's Stick Together Carter
1981 If You Go Down in the Woods Today Knocker
1979 Winterspelt Colonel
1979 Running Blind Slade
1975 Barry Lyndon Barry's Second
1975 Operation Daybreak Heinz Panwitz, Chief Investigator
1974 Diamonds on Wheels Henry Stewart
1971 Get Carter[5] Con McCarty
1969 Doppelgänger Mark Neuman
1969 The Haunted House of Horror Bob Kellett
1968 The Vengeance of She Harry
1967 Poor Cow Customer in Pub (scenes deleted)
1967 Robbery Ben
1967 Deadlier Than the Male Car Park Assassin (uncredited)
1966 Kaleidoscope Billy
1963 The Informers Fred Hill
1963 Sparrows Can't Sing Bert
1963 This Sporting Life Jeff

Television[edit]

Film
Year Title Role Notes
1993-1997 The Detectives Superintendent Cottam
1988 Doctor Who Ratcliffe Remembrance of the Daleks
1987-1990 Home James! Robert Palmer
1982-1983 Andy Robson Peter Mueller
1981 Minder Frank episode: Rembrandt Doesn't Live Here Any More
1979 Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Mendel
1979 Running Blind Slade
1978 The Sweeney Vic Tolman "Bait", 19 October 1978
1975 Rising Damp Baker "The Prowler", 10 January 1975
1973-1974 Special Branch Det. Chief Insp. Alan Craven
1970 UFO Col. Alec Freeman
1969-1971 Paul Temple Sammy Carson
1965-1967 Z-Cars Det. Insp. Brogan/Joe Carter/Harris

References[edit]

  1. ^ Obituary at www.thestage.co.uk
  2. ^ a b c d Purser, Philip (11 April 2007). "Guardian, 11 April 2007". The Guardian (London). Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  3. ^ a b c d "The Times, 14 April 2007". London. 14 April 2007. Retrieved 3 May 2010. 
  4. ^ Obituary of George Sewell at the guardian.com
  5. ^ Sewell obit in The Telegraph

External links[edit]