Mike Pratt (actor)
Pratt in Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)
7 June 1931|
|Died||10 July 1976
Midhurst, Sussex, England
|Occupation||English actor, songwriter and screenwriter|
Pratt is best known for his role as Jeff Randall in the late 1960s ITV detective series Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) alongside Kenneth Cope and Annette Andre. Pratt also wrote episode two of the series titled "A Disturbing Case".
He also appeared in TV series such as No Hiding Place, The Saint, Gideon's Way, Z-Cars, Danger Man, Out of the Unknown, Redcap, The Baron, Man in a Suitcase, The Champions, Callan, UFO, The Expert, Hadleigh, Jason King, Arthur of the Britons, Softly, Softly: Taskforce, Crown Court, Father Brown, Oil Strike North and The Adventures of Black Beauty, in which he had a semi-regular role. His last television role was in the BBC drama series The Brothers as airline pilot Don Stacy.
He joined the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1966, appearing on stage throughout the rest of the 1960s and the early 1970s. A successful songwriter, Pratt collaborated with Lionel Bart on many of Tommy Steele's early hits in the late 1950s and early 1960s. To enable Steele to start to film his life story, co-writers Steele, Bart and Pratt, wrote twelve songs in seven days. One of Steele's subsequent hits was the humorous "Little White Bull", for which Pratt alone was credited. Another Steele-Pratt collaboration, "A Handful of Songs", originally a hit for Tommy Steele in 1957, became the theme tune to a long-running Granada Television children's programme of the same name in the late 1970s.
In his early career, Pratt worked in advertising, while also taking some part-time acting roles, until in the mid-fifties he took a sabbatical quiting his office job. He drove around Europe in an old-style London taxi with three friends, including Lionel Bart. On returning to England, he earned a living playing jazz and skiffle in London clubs. Pratt has many friends that were musicians hence music was his life until his acting career took off in the 1960s.
Pratt was a musician who was active in the jazz scene and also played skiffle. In the 1950s, he jammed with The Vipers Skiffle Group at the 2 I's club in London with his friend Tommy Steele. Pratt can be seen jamming skiffle on a 1950s Pathé News clip with other musicians of the era including members of The Shadows.
Pratt died from lung cancer in July 1976. In August of that year, a show was staged at the Aldwych Theatre in London in his memory. The cast included Glenda Jackson, Kenneth Haigh and John Le Mesurier.
Of his co-star in Randall & Hopkirk, Kenneth Cope said:
Michael was a great loss, both to the industry and as a friend.
- Tobler, John (1992). NME Rock 'N' Roll Years (1st ed.). London: Reed International Books Ltd. p. 38. CN 5585.
- Tibballs, Geoff (1994) Randall & Hopkirk (Deceased), Boxtree