|Born||Clement Graham Crowden
30 November 1922
|Died||19 October 2010
Clement Graham Crowden (30 November 1922 – 19 October 2010) was a Scottish actor. He was best known for his many appearances in television comedy dramas and films, often playing eccentric "offbeat" scientist, teacher and doctor characters.
Crowden was born in Edinburgh, the son of Anne Margaret (née Paterson) and Harry Graham Crowden. He was educated at Clifton Hall School and the Edinburgh Academy before serving briefly in the Royal Scots Youth Battalion of the army until he was injured in a bizarre accident. During arms drill, he was shot by his sergeant-major when his rifle discharged. The sergeant said "What is it now, Crowden?" Crowden replied, "I think you've shot me, sergeant." He later found work in a tannery.
Crowden is known for his roles in BBC comedy-dramas, including Dr. Jock McCannon in A Very Peculiar Practice and Tom Ballard in Waiting for God. He also had a long and distinguished theatrical career, most notably at Laurence Olivier's National Theatre where he performed as The Player King in Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead, the play by Tom Stoppard.
He occasionally played mad scientists in film, taking the role of Doctor Millar in the Mick Travis films of director Lindsay Anderson, O Lucky Man! (1973) and Britannia Hospital (1982), and also playing the sinister Doctor Smiles in the film of Michael Moorcock's first Jerry Cornelius novel, The Final Programme (1973). He also played the eccentric History master in Anderson's if.... (1968). In 1970 he appeared in the popular Thames Television series Callan as The Groper, a deregistered doctor who had been in Wormwood Scrubs called on by Callan when unofficial medical assistance was required (e.g. Series 3, "A Village Called G", and likely others between 1967–73 though some are now lost).
In 1975, he made an appearance in "No Way Out" – an episode of the popular British sitcom Porridge alongside Ronnie Barker, Brian Wilde, Richard Beckinsale and Fulton Mackay, as the prison doctor when Fletcher was complaining of an injured leg.
He was offered the role of the Fourth Doctor in Doctor Who in 1974, when Jon Pertwee left the role, but turned it down, informing producer Barry Letts that he was not prepared to commit himself to the series for three years. The role ultimately went to Tom Baker. He did, however, appear in The Horns of Nimon (1979) as a villain opposite Baker. This was the reason why Ian Marter was originally hired, as the producers and directors considered Crowden too old to be seen running about and taking on a larger physical role and so brought in Marter.
In 1990, he appeared as a lecherous peer in the BBC comedy Don't Wait Up, and in 1991 he played a modest role in the Rumpole of the Bailey episode "Rumpole and the Quacks", portraying Sir Hector MacAuliffe, the head of a medical inquest into the potential sexual misconduct on the part of Dr. Ghulam Rahmat (portrayed by Saeed Jaffrey).
For many however, it was the role he landed in 1990 as the leading character of Tom Ballard in the sitcom Waiting for God opposite Stephanie Cole's character Diana Trent, as the two rebellious retirement home residents, that made him a household name. The show ran for five years and was a major success.
In 2001, he guest-starred in the Midsomer Murders episode "Ring Out Your Dead" and also played The Marquis of Auld Reekie in The Way We Live Now. Between 2001 and 2002 he played a role in the BBC Radio 4 comedy series The Leopard in Autumn. In 2003, he made a cameo appearance as a sadistic naval school teacher in The Lost Prince. In 2005–08, he starred in the BBC Radio 4 sci-fi comedy Nebulous as Sir Ronald Rolands. In 2008, he appeared as a guest star in Foyle's War.
For many years towards the end of his life, he lived in Mill Hill, London NW7.
Crowden died on 19 October 2010 in Edinburgh after a short illness. Crowden is survived by his wife, Phyllida Hewat, whom he married in 1952, a son and three daughters, one of whom, Sarah, followed him into acting.
|1964||HMS Paradise||Commander Shaw|
|1964||Redcap: The Patrol||Major Fraser|
|1973||The Adventures of Black Beauty: Goodbye Beauty||Mr. Crevace|
|1975||Porridge: Christmas Special – "No Way Out"||Prison Physician|
|1977||'1990': Decoy||Dr. Sondeberg|
|1979–1980||Doctor Who: The Horns of Nimon||Soldeed|
|1986–1988||A Very Peculiar Practice||Dr. Jock McCannon|
|1986||All Passion Spent||Herbert|
|1990–1994||Waiting for God||Tom Ballard|
|1994||Love on a Branch Line||Professor Pollux|
|2000||The 10th Kingdom||Old Retainer|
|2008||Foyle's War (Episode 'Broken Souls')||Sir John Sackville|
- The Bridal Path (1959)
- We Joined the Navy (1962)
- One Way Pendulum (1964)
- Morgan - A Suitable Case for Treatment (1966)
- If.... (1968)
- The File of the Golden Goose (1969)
- The Virgin Soldiers (1969)
- Leo the Last (1970)
- The Rise and Rise of Michael Rimmer (1970)
- Up the Chastity Belt (1971)
- Percy (1971)
- The Night Digger (1971)
- Something to Hide (1972)
- The Ruling Class (1972)
- The Amazing Mr Blunden (1972)
- The Final Programme (1973)
- O Lucky Man! (1973)
- Romance with a Double Bass (1974)
- The Abdication (1974)
- The Little Prince (1974)
- Hardcore (1977)
- Three Dangerous Ladies (1977)
- Jabberwocky (1977)
- For Your Eyes Only (1981)
- Britannia Hospital (1982)
- The Missionary (1982)
- The Company of Wolves (1984)
- Code Name: Emerald (1985)
- Out of Africa (1985)
- A Handful of Dust (1988)
- The Innocent Sleep (1996)
- The Sea Change (1998)
- Possession (2002)
- Calendar Girls (2003)
- Randall, Nicholas (21 October 2010). "Stage and screen star Graham Crowden dies, aged 87". Edinburgh: The Scotsman.
- "Graham Crowden (obituary)". The Times. 21 October 2010. p. 65.
- Graham Crowden Biography (1922–2010)
- BBC: Very quietly, Waiting For God became a huge success...