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|Born||Ronald Alfred Pickup
7 June 1940
Chester, Cheshire, England, UK
|Spouse(s)||Lans Traverse (1964-present)|
Early life and training
Pickup was born in Chester, Cheshire, the son of Daisy (née Williams) and Eric Pickup, who was a lecturer. Pickup was educated at the King's School, Chester, trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA) in London, and became an Associate Member of RADA.
His television work began with an episode during the first series of Doctor Who in 1964, for which he was paid £30. In 1973, he starred in the BBC drama series The Dragon's Opponent, playing a World War II bomb disposal expert.
In 1983 he appeared opposite Penelope Keith in Moving and as Friedrich Nietzsche in Wagner; existing in several versions Wagner has also been released as a film. Pickup portrayed Prince Yakimov, a hapless, down-at-heel Russo-British aristocrat, opposite Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh in the BBC serial Fortunes of War (1987) based on a novel cycle by Olivia Manning. He was the voice of Aslan in the BBC adaptation of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (1988) and subsequent Chronicles of Narnia serials derived from the books by C.S. Lewis. Pickup starred in the short lived sit-com Not with a Bang which was broadcast in 1990.
Other roles have included parts in Hornblower, Hustle, Foyle's War, Midsomer Murders, Waking the Dead, The Bill, Silent Witness, Sherlock Holmes, Inspector Morse and the 1991 television adaptation of John le Carré's A Murder of Quality.
Pickup played a regular part in the BBC sitcom The Worst Week of My Life. He starred opposite Judi Dench in the 1989 Channel 4 serial Behaving Badly. In February 2010 he also appeared as 'Pegleg' in the BBC's period drama Lark Rise to Candleford.
Between March and August 2009, he starred as Lucky in Sean Mathias' production of Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett opposite Sir Ian McKellen (Estragon), Patrick Stewart (Vladimir) and also Simon Callow (Pozzo). The tour opened in Malvern, Worcestershire before travelling to Milton Keynes, Brighton, Bath, Norwich, Edinburgh and Newcastle; its run at the Theatre Royal, Haymarket was extended due to demand.
In 1973 he appeared in The Day of the Jackal; the following year he was seen in Ken Russell's film Mahler.. Pickup played one of the Prussian Agents conspiring to blow up the Houses of Parliament in The Thirty Nine Steps (1978). This version was directed by Don Sharp and starred Robert Powell as Hannay, Karen Dotrice as Alex, John Mills as Colonel Scudder. Pickup played Cranmer, Archbishop of Canterbury in the BBC Television Shakespeare version of Henry VIII (1979). He played Lt. Harford in Zulu Dawn (also 1979), portrayed Igor Stravinsky in Nijinsky (1980), and Prince John in Ivanhoe (1982), Hello Einstein (1985; for television). He portrayed Portuguese governor, Don Hontar in The Mission (1986) which starred Jeremy Irons as Father Gabriel. In 1989 he played Captain Lancaster, a very strict teacher in Danny, the Champion of the World.
In 2011, he was one of the main characters in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.