Robin Askwith

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Robin Askwith
Born (1950-10-12) 12 October 1950 (age 64)
Southport, Lancashire, England, UK
Years active 1968-Present
Spouse(s) Leonie Mellinger (divorced)
Mary Wilson

Robin Askwith (born Ronald Askwiths on 12 October 1950 in Southport, Lancashire),[1] is an English film actor, most famous for his role as Timmy Lea in the Confessions... sex comedies series. In 1975, at Drury Lane’s New London Theatre, he was voted Most Promising Newcomer – Male at the "Evening Standard British Film Awards". Askwith's most recent television role was that of musician Ritchie de Vries in Coronation Street.

Early life[edit]

Robin Askwith was born in Southport, Lancashire, England on 12 October 1950,[2] the eldest child of Nelson Askwith and Hazel (née Cookson).[3] His father served in the Royal Navy during the Second World War and his mother in the Women's Royal Naval Service (popularly and officially known as the Wrens). Askwith is a great nephew of the comic Robb Wilton,[4]

At the age of three, Robin was taken ill following a visit to the children’s paddling pool in Southport and three days later was rushed to Southport Infirmary where he would spend the next nine-months of his life in an isolation ward having contracted polio. The diagnosis for Robin was not good, as his family had been told he would never walk again. With family encouragement he continued to be taken swimming and practised walking every day and when the family moved to Eastcote, Middlesex in 1954, his mother gave birth to his brother Jeremy and a sister, Jacky, would follow in the 1962.[5]

Education[edit]

Askwith was educated at Orley Farm where he made his first stage appearance as the Archangel Gabriel in a Nativity play and appeared in the seniors’ production of The Gondoliers; followed by Merchant Taylors' School, Northwood and the University of Bristol reading English and Drama.[6]

Career[edit]

Confessions...[edit]

Askwith appeared in a number of film and television roles before two key appearances in 1973. The first was in appearing in Antony Balch's Horror Hospital. Now seen as something of a Cult film, it is a prosaic hybrid of horror and the mild titillation of the later 'Confessions...' films. In the same year Askwith also appeared in a Carry On film, Carry On Girls. These appearances led producers Norman Cohen, Greg Smith and Michael Klinger to offer him the starring role in Confessions of a Window Cleaner after the part was turned down by several other previous candidates, Richard Beckinsale, Richard O'Sullivan, Nicky Henson and Dennis Waterman. The success of the film led to three sequels, Confessions of a Pop Performer, Confessions of a Driving Instructor and Confessions from a Holiday Camp.

Although the Confessions series came to an end with Confessions from a Holiday Camp, a fifth and a sixth film, Confessions of a Plumber’s Mate and Confessions of a Private Soldier had been planned in 1977. Askwith even expressed a desire to direct Private Soldier, but neither film materialised. Plans to shoot a further made-for-video Confessions film in the 1980s also came to nothing, although by this time he was appearing in the ITV sitcom Bottle Boys.

Stage work[edit]

Askwith’s extensive work on stage, includes numerous farces such as Run For Your Wife, Casanova's Last Stand, One For The Road plus the stage Confessions sequel The Further Confessions of a Window Cleaner and Terry Johnson's Dead Funny. From 11 December 2012 - 27 January 2013, he appeared at the Mill at Sonning, Reading, Berkshire in Ray Cooney's farce Caught in the Net.

In Pantomimes, Askwith has appeared with the Chuckle Brothers in Dick Whittington, with Frank Bruno and Sooty in a Wolverhampton production of Goldilocks and the 3 Bears and in various production's of Aladdin as Abanazar.

More unusual stage roles include the title role in a production of Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, and The Childcatcher in a 2006 touring production of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

Television work[edit]

Early television roles saw him make cameo appearances in Public Eye, The Main Chance, Dixon of Dock Green, Z-Cars and Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased), as well as comedies such as Father Dear Father and Bless This House and starring in two series of Bottle Boys. He has also made appearances in the soap operas EastEnders, Doctors, Hollyoaks and Coronation Street where he played a holiday tour guide named Aidan. The episodes of the soap that featured Askwith were filmed in Malta, close to the island of Gozo where he lived for many years. Robin returned to Coronation Street on 11 December 2013 as Ritchie de Vries.

Recent activity[edit]

Askwith’s autobiography, The Confessions of Robin Askwith, was published by Ebury Press in 1999. The book documents his early life and acting career, the success of the Confessions films, and his relationship with the actress (and occasional Confessions co-star) Linda Hayden, his common-law wife during the 1970s. He was later married to the actress Leonie Mellinger.

Askwith's most recent film role was a cameo appearance in the film Run For Your Wife, released in the UK on 14 February 2013. On television, his most recent role was in Coronation Street as Ritchie de Vries, joining the cast in December 2013.

Filmography[edit]

[7]

Year Film Role Notes
1968 if.... Keating
Otley First Kid
1969 Alfred the Great Shepherd Uncredited
Hans Brinker Hans Brinker AKA: Hans Brinker and the Silver Skates
AKA: The Story of the Silver Skates
1970 Scramble Lennie
Cool It Carol! Joe Sickles US Title: Dirtiest Girl I Ever Met
US Bowdlerized Title: The Toughest Girl I Ever Met
Bartleby (1972 film) Office Boy
1971 The Canterbury Tales Ruffo As Robin Asquith
Italian Title: I Racconti Di Canterbury
All Coppers Are... Simmy AKA: All Cops Are???
Nicholas and Alexandra Soldier Uncredited
1972 Tower of Evil Des US Title: Horror on Snape Island
US Reissue Title: Beyond The Fog
Canada Title: Horror of Snape Island
West Germany Title: Devil’s Tower - Der Schreckensturm Zombies
Four Dimensions of Greta Roger AKA: Three Dimensions of Greta
The Flesh and Blood Show Simon AKA: Asylum of the Insane
Hide and Seek Harvey, The Police Constable
1973 Bless This House Mike Abbott
Arctic Patrol ‘Snowy’ White An instructional film for the Ministry of Defence (Navy)
No Sex Please, We're British Baker’s Delivery Man
Horror Hospital Jason Jones US Title: Computer Killers
West German Title: Frankenstein’s Horror-Klinik
Undefined Video Title: Doctor Blood Bath
Carry On Girls Larry Prodworthy
1974 Confessions of a Window Cleaner Timothy Lea UK Complete Title: Timothy Lea’s Confessions of a Window Cleaner
1975 The Hostages Terry Sladden
Confessions of a Pop Performer Timothy Lea UK Complete Title: Timothy Lea’s Confessions of a Pop Performer
1976 Confessions of a Driving Instructor Timothy Lea UK Complete Title: Timothy Lea’s Confessions of a Driving Instructor
Queen Kong Ray Fay Austria/West Germany Title: Queen Gorilla
1977 Stand Up, Virgin Soldiers Brigg
Confessions from a Holiday Camp Timothy Lea UK Complete Title: Timothy Lea’s Confessions from a Holiday Camp
US Title: Confessions of a Summer Camp Counsellor
1978 That's Carry On! Larry Prodworthy Shown in cinemas as a support to the film Golden Rendezvous
Includes scenes from Carry On Girls featuring Robin
Let's Get Laid Gordon Laid US Title: Love Trap
1982 Britannia Hospital Ben Keating
1983 Stagg’s Night Robin Stagg Shown in cinemas as a support to the Cannon and Ball film The Boys in Blue
1990 Traincare ‘90 Narrator Thames and Chiltern division of Network South East information film
2000 The Asylum Neville
U-571 British Seaman
2008 Evil Calls: The Raven Vincent Carney AKA - original title: Alone In The Dark
AKA: The Raven Episode One: Evil Calls
AKA: The Legend of Harrow Woods
Gozo Adventures: A Natural Playground Narrator Promotional travel film
2013 Run For your Wife Bus Driver

Television appearances[edit]

[8]

Year Film Role Notes
1968 Scene: Last Bus Robbo
Scene: The Sentence of the Court Robbo
Z-Cars Unknown episode
1969 Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased)- "That's How Murder Snowballs" Jimmy, the callboy Uncredited
US Title: My Partner the Ghost
ITV Saturday Night Theatre - "The Full Cheddar" Bassett
There Was This Dog... Andy http://genome.ch.bbc.co.uk/schedules/bbcone/london/1969-11-26
1970 The Borderers - "The Quacksalver" Hewie Heriot
Here Come the Double Deckers - "The Go-Carters" Nigel Parks AKA: The Double Deckers
Menace - "Trespasser" Robbie Clay
1971 The Misfit - "... On The New Establishment" David
On The House - "Series 2" Harvey Micklethwaite
Father, Dear Father - "The Life of the Party" Monty
The Fenn Street Gang - "Meet The Wizard" Eddie
Please Sir - "A.W.O.L." Eddie
Dixon of Dock Green - "Wingy" Young Man
1972 Bless This House - "A Touch of the Unknown" Sam
The Main Chance - "The Killing Ground" Sammy Cutforth
1973 Beryl's Lot - "Series 1" Fred Pickering
1975 Public Eye - "How About a Cup of Tea" Employment Clerk
It's A Celebrity Knockout Himself A special edition of It's a Knockout
Beryl's Lot - "Series 2" Fred Pickering
1976 It's A Celebrity Knockout Himself A special edition of It's a Knockout
1977 It's A Celebrity Knockout Himself A special edition of It's a Knockout
Marc (TV series) Himself Performance of the single “Confessions”
1978 It's A Celebrity Knockout Himself A special edition of It's a Knockout
The Kenny Everett Video Show Himself
Star Games - "Series 1" Himself
Christmas Star Games - "Series 1" Himself A special edition of Star Games
1979 Give Us a Clue Himself
It's A Celebrity Knockout Himself A special edition of It's a Knockout
Star Games - "Series 2" Himself
1980 Easter Star Games Himself A special edition of Star Games
It's A Celebrity Knockout Himself A special edition of It's a Knockout
Star Games - "Series 3" Himself
1982 The Journey Narrator
1983 Play of the Month - "Infidelities" Alec Based on Double Inconstancy
What A Carry On Larry Prodworthy TV compilation of film clips including Robin in Carry On Girls
1984 Good Morning Britain Himself Newsreader sketch
Bottle Boys - "Series 1" Dave Deacon
1985 Bottle Boys - "Series 2" Dave Deacon
1987 Just For Laughs Mike Abbott TV compilation of film clips including Robin in Bless This House (film)
1988 Boon - "Peacemaker" Bograt
1992 TV Heaven Himself Included a showing of the TV commercial for TUF Boots
This Is Your Life - "Frazer Hines" Himself
1993 GamesMaster - "Episode 3.16" Himself Christmas Special - Appeared alongside Robert Duncan and Wayne Morris while they were performing in Dick Whittington at the Theatre Royal, Bath
1995 Doing Rude Things Himself
1997 EastEnders Jason Lafal
2000 Sunburn - "New Opportunities, Second Chances and Dominoes" Nigel Karver
The 100 Greatest TV Moments From Hell Himself Included Bottle Boys at number 97 on the countdown
2001 Mission Improbable Himself
2004 Doctors - "A Lion or A Sheep" David Cordman
X-Rated - "The Films That Shocked Britain" Himself
2005 Sex In The '70s - "Blue Movies" Himself
X-Rated - "The Sex Films They Tried To Ban" Himself
Crumpet! - "A Very British Sex Symbol" Himself
2007 Coronation Street Aidan
2009 Benidorm Gary
2011 Hollyoaks Earl
2012 The 70s: Doomwatch 73-74 Himself
2013 Coronation Street Ritchie de Vries

Television commercials[edit]

  • Baked Beans - "brand unknown" (year unknown)
  • Summer County - "margarine" (1967) - directed by Ridley Scott
  • Smith's Crisps - "crisps" (1967) with Simon Dee
  • Pepsi Cola - "drink" (1971)
  • Thompson Sky Tours- "airways" (1971) - directed by Tony Scott
  • Dulux Magicote - "paint" (1971)
  • TUF Boots - "footwear" - (1971) - directed by Terence Donovan
  • KitKat - "chocolate biscuit" (1973)
  • Car Care - "part work magazine" (1985)

Stage appearances[edit]

[9]

  • Play By Play - "Kings Head Theatre, London" (1975)
  • The Further Confessions of a Window Cleaner - "UK Tour" (1977)
  • The Further Confessions of a Window Cleaner - "Rhodesia" (1978)
  • I Love My Wife - "Prince of Wales, London" (1978)
  • Who Goes Bare? - "UK Tour" (1979)
  • The Further Confessions of a Window Cleaner - "New Zealand Tour" (1980)
  • The Further Confessions of a Window Cleaner - "UK Tour" (1980)
  • Confessions From A Health Farm - "New Zealand Tour" (1981)
  • Casanova's Last Stand - "UK Tour" (1982)
  • The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui - "Cambridge Theatre Company" (1982)
  • Aladdin - "Theatre Royal, Lincoln" (1983)
  • Run For Your Wife! - "Criterion Theatre, London" (1984)
  • Run For Your Wife! - "Criterion Theatre, London" (1985)
  • Doctor In The House - "UK Tour" (1985)
  • Run For Your Wife! - "New Zealand" (1986)
  • Funny Peculiar - "Australia" (1986)
  • Jack and the Beanstalk - "Wimbledon Theatre, London" (1986)
  • Run For Your Wife! - "New Zealand" (1987)
  • Run For Your Wife! - "West End, London" (1987)
  • Aladdin - "De Montfort Hall, Leicester" (1987)
  • Les Enfants Terribles - "Avignon Drama Festival" (1988)
  • One For The Road - "Mercury Theatre, Colchester (1988)
  • Dick Whittington and His Cat - "Richmond Theatre, Surrey" (1988)
  • Run For Your Wife! - "Summer Season, Jersey" (1989)
  • One For The Road - "UK Tour" (1990)
  • One For The Road - "Australia Tour" (1991)
  • One For The Road - "New Zealand Tour" (1992)
  • Cash On Delivery - "Theatre Royal, Windsor" (1993)
  • Dick Whittington and His Cat - "Theatre Royal, Bath" (1993)
  • Run For Your Wife! - "UK Tour" (1994)
  • Cinderella - "Wimbledon theatre, London" (1994)
  • Doctor In The House - "UK Tour" (1995)
  • Dick Whittington - "Theatre Royal, Cardiff" (1995)
  • Aladdin - "Lyceum Theatre, Crewe" (1996)
  • Dick Whittington - "Lyceum Theatre, Sheffield" (1997)
  • Dick Whittington and His Cat - "CIV" (1998)
  • Aladdin - "Yvonne Arnaud theatre, Guildford" (1999)
  • Jack and the Beanstalk - "Theatre Royal, Nottingham" (2000)
  • Goldilocks and the Three Bears - "Grand Theatre, Wolverhampton" (2001)
  • Aladdin - "Theatre Royal, Newcastle-upon-Tyne" (2002)
  • Funny Business - "Palace Theatre" (2003)
  • Bedside Manners - "The Pier Theatre, Bournemouth" (2003)
  • Aladdin - "Milton Keynes Theatre, Milton Keynes (2003)
  • Aladdin - "New Wimbledon Theatre, Outer London" (2004)
  • Canterbury Tales - "The Castle, Nottingham" (2005)
  • Chitty Chitty Bang Bang - Sunderland Empire Theatre (2005)
  • Dead Funny - "UK Tour" (2007)
  • Aladdin - "Cliffs Pavillion" (2008)
  • Aladdin - "Theatre Royal, Lincoln" (2010)
  • Funny Money - "The Mill at Sonning, Reading" (2011)
  • Caught In The Net - "The Mill at Sonning, Reading" (2012)

Recordings[edit]

  • 1975: Appears on the Confessions of a Pop Performer Original Soundtrack Album
  • 1977: Single Confessions/This Space Is Reserved for You (credited as Robin Aswith)
  • 1994: Audiobook cassette, HarperCollins Audio - Ian Botham My Autobiography - Don’t Tell Kath read by Robin Askwith

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Askwith, Robin". British Film Institute. Retrieved 23 October 2009. 
  2. ^ England & Wales births 1837-2006
  3. ^ England & Wales marriages 1837-2008
  4. ^ The Confessions of Robin Askwith by Robin Askwith (Ebury Press) 1999 (ISBN 0091869714)
  5. ^ England & Wales births 1837-2006
  6. ^ The Confessions of Robin Askwith by Robin Askwith (Ebury Press) 1999 (ISBN 0091869714)
  7. ^ Screen Credits
  8. ^ Screen Credits
  9. ^ From a collection of Theatre Programmes and handbills

Further reading[edit]

  • Simon Sheridan Keeping the British End Up: Four Decades of Saucy Cinema 2011 (fourth edition) (Titan Publishing, London)
  • The Confessions of Robin Askwith by Robin Askwith (Ebury Press) 1999 (ISBN 0091869714)

External links[edit]