Charters and Caldicott
|First appearance||The Lady Vanishes|
|Created by||Sidney Gilliat and Frank Launder|
|Portrayed by||Basil Radford and Naunton Wayne (1938-1940s films)
Arthur Lowe and Ian Carmichael (1979 film)
Robin Bailey and Michael Aldridge (BBC television series)
Charters and Caldicott started out as two supporting characters in the 1938 Alfred Hitchcock film The Lady Vanishes. The two humorous and cricket-obsessed characters were played by Naunton Wayne and Basil Radford. The characters were created by Frank Launder and Sidney Gilliat. The duo became very popular and were used as recurring characters in subsequent films, in BBC Radio productions, and eventually in their own BBC television series.
In The Lady Vanishes, Charters and Caldicott are singleminded cricket enthusiasts, rushing back to England to see the last days of a Test match. They proved popular with audiences and returned in the Gilliat-and-Launder films Night Train to Munich (1940, also starring Margaret Lockwood) and Millions Like Us (1943), and in the BBC radio serials Crook's Tour (1941, made into a film later that year) and Secret Mission 609 (1942).
Wayne and Radford played similar double acts in several more movies, such as Dead of Night (1945, sequence directed by Charles Crichton), A Girl in a Million (1946, Francis Searle) and Quartet (1948, sequence directed by Ralph Smart). Another recurring cricket-mad pairing played by them were Bright and Early in It's Not Cricket (1949, Alfred Roome), Helter Skelter (1949, Ralph Thomas) and Stop Press Girl (1949, Michael Barry).
They were intended to reappear in I See a Dark Stranger (1945, Launder), but Launder and Gilliat refused to give them the larger roles in the film that Radford and Wayne demanded, as befitting the high profile actors they had now become. As a result, the actors opted out of the film and two similar but differently named characters were substituted. This falling out, however, left Radford and Wayne contractually disallowed from portraying the characters under the names "Charters" and "Caldicott".
Radford and Wayne's film appearances together
Appearances billed as Charters and Caldicott are in bold. Those not in bold are either unbilled or billed under other names, such as Bright and Early, but are essentially the same character duo. These characters' names are listed with Radford's character's first.
- The Lady Vanishes (1938)
- Night Train to Munich (1940)
- Crook's Tour (1941)
- The Next of Kin (1942) as Careless talkers on train
- Millions Like Us (1943)
- Dead of Night (1945) as Parratt and Potter
- A Girl in a Million (1946) as Prendergast and Fotheringham
- Quartet (1948) as Garnet and Leslie
- It's Not Cricket (1949) as Bright and Early
- Passport to Pimlico (1949) as Gregg and Straker
- Stop Press Girl (1949) as The Mechanical Types
- Helter Skelter (1949) unnamed
BBC radio wanted to broadcast more of their popular radio comedy thriller serials, and so they created the pairing "Woolcot and Spencer", characters they used in Double Bedlam (1946) and Traveller's Joy (1947). Subsequently "Straker and Gregg" were featured in Passport to Pimlico (1949), The Next of Kin (appearing at the end as a "Careless Talk Costs Lives" pair), May I Have The Treasure (1951) and Rogue's Gallery (1952).
Similarly "Berkeley and Bulstrode" were characters in Crime Gentleman, Please (1948); "Hargreaves and Hunter" in Having A Wonderful Crime (1949); and "Fanshaw and Fothergill" in That's My Baby (1950).
In mid-production on Rogue's Gallery, which was broadcast in 1952, Basil Radford died suddenly of a heart attack at age 55, and Naunton Wayne completed the adventure on his own.
Remakes and TV spin-off
In the BBC's 2013 telemovie of The Lady Vanishes, Charters and Caldicott do not appear. They were somewhat replaced by the elderly female duo, Evelyn and Rose Floodporter (Stephanie Cole and Gemma Jones).