Simon Cadell

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Simon Cadell
Born Simon John Cadell
(1950-07-19)19 July 1950
London, England
Died 6 March 1996(1996-03-06) (aged 45)
Westminster, London, England
Cause of death

Simon John Cadell (19 July 1950 – 6 March 1996) was an English actor, best known for his portrayal of Jeffrey Fairbrother in the BBC sit-com Hi-de-Hi!.

Early life[edit]

Born in London, he was the son of theatrical agent John Cadell, grandson of the Scottish character actress Jean Cadell, the brother of the actress Selina Cadell and commercials director Patrick Cadell, the cousin of the actor Guy Siner and son-in-law of the television producer David Croft. He was educated at The Hall School in Hampstead and Bedales School at Petersfield where his close friends included Gyles Brandreth, who remained a friend until Cadell's death.[1]


Cadell trained at the Bristol Old Vic Theatre School. His first successes were found in the theatre in the mid to late 1970s. He then provided the voice of Blackberry in the animated adaptation of Richard Adams's novel Watership Down and went on to play parts in a number of British television programmes, including series such as Enemy at the Door. He also appeared in a few films.

He is most remembered for his role as the well-meaning but out-of-place holiday camp manager Jeffrey Fairbrother in the BBC situation comedy Hi-de-Hi! and for playing the disingenuous civil servant Dundridge in the screen adaptation of Blott on the Landscape, both in the mid-1980s.

On radio he played the elven-king Celeborn in the 1981 BBC adaptation of The Lord of the Rings. He starred in the BBC sitcom Life Without George alongside Carol Royle which ran for three series from 1987 to 1989.

He appeared in the 1991 British comedy series Singles. Other television credits include, Minder, Bergerac, The Kenny Everett Television Show and Roald Dahl's Tales of the Unexpected. He was also in heavy demand as a voice-over for television commercials.

He also narrated the acclaimed children's television series Bump for the BBC which is all about a baby elephant (who always bumps into things) and his friend Birdie.

Personal life[edit]

Cadell married actress Rebecca Croft (daughter of Dad's Army creator David Croft) in 1985. They had two sons.


In January 1993 Cadell suffered a near-fatal heart attack after giving a recital with Joanna Lumley at the Queen Elizabeth Hall, in London. The doctors singled out smoking as a contributory cause - at one stage Cadell smoked 80 cigarettes a day - but he was back at work playing in Travels with My Aunt (for which he won the Laurence Olivier Award for Best Comedy Performance) at the Wyndhams Theatre four months after a triple bypass operation. In September the same year, cancer was detected.

On 6 March 1996 Cadell died at the age of 45,[2][3] 12 weeks before his best friend Jeremy Sinden also died of lung cancer. Sinden had been born 5 weeks before him, and his father, Donald Sinden, had been a client of Cadell's father John, for over 30 years.[4]

Television Roles[edit]

Year Title Role
1978-1980 Enemy at the Door Hauptmann Reinicke
1978 Edward & Mrs. Simpson Major John Aird
1980-1984 Hi-de-Hi! Prof. Jeffrey Fairbrother
1981-1984 Tales of the Unexpected Co-pilot in "Hijack" (1981)
Sam Luke in "Have a Nice Death" (1984)
1985 Blott on the Landscape Mr. Dundridge
1987-1989 Life Without George Larry Wade
1991 Singles Denis Duvall


  1. ^ Nicholas Shakespeare "The Diary of a Lifetime by Gyles Brandreth: review", Daily Telegraph, 31 October 2009
  2. ^ GRO Register of Deaths: MAR 1996 A38C 170 WESTMINSTER - Simon John Cadell, DoB 19 Jul 1950, aged 45
  3. ^ Alexandra Younger (1996-03-08). "Obituary: Simon Cadell - Obituaries - News". The Independent. Retrieved 2012-04-22. 
  4. ^ Croydon Life issue 14 June 2008

External links[edit]