Brian Murphy (actor)

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Brian Murphy
Born (1932-09-25) 25 September 1932 (age 86)
Years active1960–present
Spouse(s)Carol M Gibson (1957–?) (divorced)
Linda Regan (m. 1995)

Brian Trevor John Murphy (born 25 September 1932) is an English actor and comedian, best known as the henpecked husband George Roper in the popular sitcom Man About the House and its spin-off series George and Mildred, and as Alvin Smedley in Last of the Summer Wine.

Acting career[edit]

Murphy was born in Ventnor, Isle of Wight, the son[1] of Gerald, a grocer's assistant and Mabel Murphy, both of whom later became restaurateurs. His two brothers Ken and Eric were killed during active service in the Second World War.[2] He was called up to do his national service at RAF Northwood, where he met future The Good Life actor Richard Briers. On leaving the RAF the two aspiring actors both performed in productions by the Dramatic Society at the Borough Polytechnic Institute, now London South Bank University. Murphy was a member of Joan Littlewood's Theatre Workshop (alongside Yootha Joyce), and a jobbing actor in the 1960s and early 1970s, combining his theatre work with appearances in television shows such as The Avengers, Z-Cars, Callan and Dixon of Dock Green, before being cast in the role which would make him a household name.

In Man About the House, Murphy played the lazy George Roper, whose wife, Mildred, was played by Yootha Joyce. Her domineering, social-climbing characteristic was a sharp contrast to George's desire for an easy and quiet life and the pairing was an instant hit. A contributing factor to their immediate chemistry was that they had been friends for many years. Aside from their Theatre Workshop years, Murphy also featured in Sparrows Can't Sing (1963) with Joyce and other Theatre Workshop colleagues. When Man About The House ended in 1976, a spin-off was created for Murphy and Joyce, entitled George and Mildred. This ran for five series until 1979. Murphy reprised his role in feature films of both sitcoms. Joyce died in 1980, and George and Mildred was cancelled. Another sitcom was created for Murphy with him in the title role in The Incredible Mr. Tanner along with Man About The House and George and Mildred co-star Roy Kinnear, but the show failed to gain popularity.

Murphy continued to appear regularly on television, most notably as "Alvin Smedley" in Last of the Summer Wine from 2003 to 2010, that was promoted by a cast return to Rose Theatre site and also with roles in On Your Way, Riley (1985) as Arthur Lucan,[3] Lame Ducks (as a private investigator); The Bill (as a drunken tramp dressed as an elf at Christmas); comedy series Pond Life, an animation series, as Len Pond, the father of protagonist Dolly Pond (Sarah Ann Kennedy), One Foot in the Grave starring Richard Wilson (playing a character called Mr Foskett);,[4] Brookside; and as a shopkeeper called Stan in the pre-school children's TV series Wizadora. In 2010 he appeared in an episode of Hustle called "The Thieving Mistake". He has more recently made appearances in comedy shows The Catherine Tate Show, This is Jinsy and Benidorm. Murphy can also be seen in all three episodes of the ITV comedy The Booze Cruise, playing Maurice. He also appeared as Frank Dobson in The Cafe from 2011 and 2013.


Murphy's second wife is Hi-de-Hi! actress Linda Regan; they live in Kent. Murphy has two adult children, Trevor and Kevin, from his first marriage.[5] His grandson is the playwright Martin Murphy, whose play Manor was performed at the Tristan Bates Theatre in Covent Garden in 2010,[6] and his second cousin is actor Benjayx Murphy.



From October 1987 to July 1991, Murphy played Ernest Bond in BBC Radio 4's drama series Citizens.

Selected film and television roles[edit]

Year Title Role
1963 Sparrows Can't Sing Jack
1971 The Devils Adam
1971 The Boy Friend Peter
1972 The Ragman's Daughter Tony's Father
1973 to 1976
1976 to 1980
Man About the House
George and Mildred
George Roper
1976 I'm Not Feeling Myself Tonight Caretaker
1981 The Incredible Mr Tanner Ernest Tanner
1981 Black Jack Archibald
1982 L for Lester Lester Small
1984 to 1985 Lame Ducks Ansell
1993 to 1999 Wizadora Stan
1994 One Foot in the Grave Mr. Foskett
1998 Jonathan Creek Ken Speed
1999 Mrs Merton & Malcolm Mr Capstick
2003 The Booze Cruise Maurice
2003 to 2010 Last of the Summer Wine Alvin Smedley
2005 to 2006 The Catherine Tate Show Neville
2010 Hustle Larry
2010 Benidorm Clive Mitchell
2011 White Van Man Albert
2011 The Cafe Frank Dobson
2011 Grave Tales Arthur
2012 Run For Your Wife Allotment Man
2013 Man Down Mr Field-Williams
2013 Plebs Victor
2014– It's An Unknown World George Timemile
2014 Holby City Charlie Evans
2016 Casualty Frank Haines


  1. ^ "Brian Murphy – This Is Your Life. 5th January , 1998".
  2. ^ "FreeBMD – Search". Retrieved 22 December 2016.
  3. ^ "On Your Way Riley". 2 January 1985. Retrieved 22 December 2016 – via IMDb.
  4. ^ 'Mr Foskett' Retrieved 24/09/07
  5. ^ 'Allo 'Allo star dies BBC News. 4 August 2002. Retrieved 24 August 2010.
  6. ^, Feast Creative. "Tristan Bates Theatre". Retrieved 22 December 2016.

External links[edit]