Basil Bartlett

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Basil Hardington Bartlett
Born (1905-09-15)15 September 1905
Died 2 January 1985(1985-01-02) (aged 79)
Nationality British
Occupation Actor & screenwriter
Spouse(s) Mary Malcolm (1937-1960)
Children Julia Atkinson (daughter)
Lucy Bridgewater (daughter)
Annabel McCall (daughter)
Parent(s) Hardington Arthur Bartlett
Irene Robinson

Sir Basil Hardington Bartlett, 2nd Baronet (15 September 1905 – 2 January 1985[1]) was an actor, screenwriter and writer, and in the 1950s the head of the BBC's script department.[2] In June 1921, at the age of 16, he became the second Baronet Bartlett of Hardington Mandeville, when he inherited the title after his grandfather, the building contractor Herbert Bartlett, as his father had died the year before.

He was educated at Repton School in Repton, Derbyshire, before continuing to Corpus Christi College at Cambridge University, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts.[3]

Having started as a stage actor in the 1930s,[1] he joined the British Army at the outbreak of World War II, and served as a captain during the retreat to Dunkirk in 1940. He was mentioned in despatches and wounded during the retreat.[3] He published My First War: An Army Officer's Journal for May 1940, Through Belgium to Dunkirk. During his convalescence he worked as screenwriter of the war films The Next of Kin (1942) (which he later also turned into a novel), Secret Mission (1942) and They Met in the Dark (1943)[1] before joining the Intelligence Corps, where he gained the rank of lieutenant colonel[3] in charge of the kinematographic group of 21st Army Group.

After the war, he briefly tried to take up his career as actor again, appearing in Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. (1951), before joining the BBC, where he became head of the script department, but also translated a couple of French screenplays.[1] He also participated as model in three of the six 15 minute programmes in BBC's first ever series in colour, Men, Women and Clothes, a history of fashion which was broadcast between 21 April and 26 May 1957 (available in the BBC on line archive).[4]

He was married to Mary Malcolm, one of the first two regular female announcers on BBC Television after World War II,[2] from 1937 to 1960, and they had three daughters. When he died in 1985, the baronet title went to his younger brother, the Olympic fencer David Bartlett.


  • Less Than Kind (TV film) (1959) (translator)
  • Men, Women and Clothes: Informal Clothes (TV programme) (1957) (actor)[5]
  • Men, Women and Clothes: Sense and Nonsense in Fashion (TV programme) (1957) (actor)[6]
  • Men, Women and Clothes: How Fashions Come and Go (TV programme) (1957) (actor)[4]
  • It Is Midnight, Doctor Schweitzer (TV film) (1953) (translator)
  • Asmodée (TV film) (1952) (translator)
  • Captain Horatio Hornblower R.N. (1951) (actor, playing Captain Elliott - uncredited)
  • Dunkirk: A Personal Perspective (radio programme) (1950) (narrator)[7]
  • They Met in the Dark (scenario) (1943)
  • Secret Mission (screenwriter) (1942)
  • The Next of Kin (screenwriter and military supervisor) (1942)


  • Captain Sir Basil Bartlett Bt: My First War: An Army Officer's Journal for May 1940, Through Belgium to Dunkirk - London: Chatto & Windas, 1940.[8]
  • Sir Basil Bartlett: Next of Kin, a novel - London: Chatto & Windus, 1944[9]
  • Sir Basil Bartlett: Writing for Television - London: Allen & Unwin, 1955[10]
  • Sir Basil Bartlett: Jam Tomorrow: Some Early Reminiscences - London: Harper Collins, 1978. ISBN 0236401386[11]