John Alderton

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the actor. For the American football player, see John Alderton (American football).
John Alderton
John Alderton.jpg
John Alderton in Sydney, Australia, November 2012
Born (1940-11-27) 27 November 1940 (age 74)
Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, England
Occupation actor
Spouse(s) Pauline Collins (1969–present)
Children Louise Rohr (step-daughter)
Nicholas Alderton
Richard Alderton
Kate Alderton

John Alderton (born 27 November 1940) is an English actor who is best known for his roles in Upstairs, Downstairs, Thomas & Sarah, Please Sir!, and Fireman Sam. Alderton has often starred alongside his wife, Pauline Collins.

Early life[edit]

Alderton was born in Gainsborough, Lincolnshire, the son of Ivy (née Handley) and Gordon John Alderton.[1] He grew up in Hull where he attended Kingston High School.[2]


Jack Stanley Alderton, (born 1900 in Hull) was one of three brothers, and a carpenter by trade. During 1920–59 he built a large civil engineering and building contractor business known as ‘J.S. Alderton and Co. Ltd.’, based at Felsted, Ipswich, and London.[3][4]

Early career[edit]

Alderton first became familiar to television viewers when he took the role of Dr Moone in an early ITV soap opera, Emergency – Ward 10. He married his co-star, successful actress Jill Browne, but they later divorced. He soon surpassed the fame of his ex-wife, taking the lead in the sitcom Please Sir!, as hapless teacher Mr Hedges, which later resulted in his also playing the character in the 1971 feature film of the same name. In 1972 he appeared with Hannah Gordon in the BBC comedy series My Wife Next Door which ran for 13 episodes, and for which he won a Jacob's Award in 1975. He then transferred to another top-rated ITV series when he played Thomas Watkins, the chauffeur, in Upstairs, Downstairs, opposite his wife, Pauline Collins. They had a daughter (the actress Kate Alderton) and two sons (Nic Alderton and Richard Alderton) and also acted together in spin-off series, Thomas & Sarah, and another sitcom, No, Honestly, as well as in a series of short story adaptations called Wodehouse Playhouse (1975–78). In the meantime, he appeared on the big screen against-type as 'Friend' in John Boorman's cult sci-fi film Zardoz, before returning to more familiar territory, as 1930s Yorkshire vet James Herriot in the 1975 film, It Shouldn't Happen to a Vet.

Stage roles[edit]

He made his first stage appearance with the repertory company of the Theatre Royal, York in August 1961, in Badger's Green by R.C. Sherriff. After a period in repertory, made his first London appearance at the Mermaid, November, 1965, as Harold Crompton in Spring and Port Wine, later transferring with the production to the Apollo. At the Aldwych, March 1969, played Eric Hoyden in the RSC's production of Dutch Uncle. At the Comedy Theatre, July 1969, played Jimmy Cooper in The Night I Chased the Women with an Eel. At the Howff, October, 1973, played Stanley in Punch and Judy Stories, and played the same part in "Judies" at the Comedy, January, 1974. At the Shaw, January 1975, played Stanley in Pinter's The Birthday Party. At the Apollo, May 1976, played four parts in Ayckbourn's Confusions.

Post-1980 career[edit]

During the 1980s and 1990s, Alderton had few roles, but he narrated the children's animated series 'Little Miss' in 1983 (with his wife Pauline Collins) and, from 1987 to 1994, he narrated the TV series Fireman Sam. From 1989 to 1992, he starred in the successful series Forever Green as the character Jack Boult.

Alderton played against his wife Pauline in Mrs Caldicot's Cabbage War in 2002 and made something of a comeback in the 2003 film, Calendar Girls. Then, in 2004 he played a role in the BBC series of Anthony Trollope's He Knew He Was Right. Also in 2004 Alderton starred in the first series of ITV 1's Doc Martin in an episode entitled "Of All The Harbours In All The Towns" as sailor John Slater, a friend and former lover of Aunt Joan. He played Christopher Casby in the 2008 BBC adaptation of Charles Dickens' Little Dorrit.

Personal life[edit]

He married actress Pauline Collins in 1969 and lives in Hampstead, London, with her and their three children, Nicholas (born 1972), Kate (born 1973) and Richard (born 1978). He has a step-daughter called Louise.


  1. ^ John Alderton Biography (1940-)
  2. ^ "Alderton, John". Who's Who 2008. A&C Black. 2008. ISBN 978-0-7136-8555-8. Education: Kingston High Sch., Hull 
  3. ^
  4. ^ , pg. 12

External links[edit]