Colin Abel Jeavons
20 October 1929
|Spouse(s)||Rosie Jeavons (1965-2018)|
Colin Abel Jeavons (born 20 October 1929) is a retired Welsh-born English television actor. He was born in Newport, Monmouthshire, to parents from the Black Country, and the family moved to West Bromwich before Jeavons' first birthday. He grew up in the town's Stanway Road. He married the ballet dancer Rosie Jeavons in 1965.
Jeavons began a long association with Dickens productions on BBC Television in 1959 with Bleak House as Richard Carstone, and Great Expectations (for the first time) as Herbert Pocket. The same year he played Prince Hal/Henry V in the BBC's The Life and Death of Sir John Falstaff. In 1963 he played the extremely reluctant hero Vadassy forced into espionage in Epitaph For a Spy for BBC Television.
In 1966 Jeavons became well known for his definitive portrayal of Uriah Heep in the BBC's David Copperfield. He appeared in a host of 1960s and 1970s TV programmes including Doctor Who (in "The Underwater Menace"), Adam Adamant Lives! as a murderous fashion designer, as businessman Leonard Gold in The Sweeney (in the 1978 episode "The Bigger They Are") and The Avengers (in "A Touch of Brimstone" and "The Winged Avenger"). Pete Stampede and Alan Hayes wrote of Jeavons in the latter series as "one of those under-rated, ever-present supporting actors who never turn in a bad performance."
On children's TV, he hosted Play School for a time, and read "The Black Vicar" on Jackanory. He also appeared in the 1981 Doctor Who spin-off K-9 and Company, and he narrated two BBC children's animated series, namely 'Barnaby The Bear' and 'Joe'.
He appeared in the 1978 Play For Today production of David Edgar's controversial 1978 play about British neo-Nazis, Destiny. The same year he played the part of Mr. Johnson, a schoolteacher, in Peter McDougall's BBC supernatural drama Tarry-Dan Tarry-Dan Scarey Old Spooky Man. In 1979 he appeared as Samson Brass in another BBC Dickens production, The Old Curiosity Shop, and then in their 1981 remake of Great Expectations, this time as Wemmick. The same year he played a recurring UFO-obsessed character in the sci-fi comedy Kinvig, where he "frankly stole the show each and every week." His most critically acclaimed role during this period was as the neglected and abused child, Donald, in Dennis Potter's Blue Remembered Hills (1979).
In the 1980s he was involved with two popular dramatisations of Sherlock Holmes stories. He played "with chilling authority" in the words of writer David Stuart Davies, Professor Moriarty in The Baker Street Boys (1982), and "with great panache" Inspector Lestrade in the Granada Television series The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (featuring Jeremy Brett as Holmes). Producer Michael Cox of the Granada Television series for Sherlock Holmes stated frankly that they were given the best Lestrade of his generation. In the 1981 TV production of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, he portrayed Max Quordlepleen, an entertainer who hosts at Milliways, the Restaurant at the End of the Universe.
He was Briggs, the lawyer who halts the marriage between Jane and Rochester, in the 1983 BBC version of Jane Eyre. In 1984, he played the existentialist philosopher Søren Kierkegaard in the "Prometheus Unbound" episode of Don Cupitt's Sea of Faith for BBC. The following year he played Adolf Hitler in Hitler's SS: Portrait in Evil. He played the solicitor Vholes in the 1985 BBC adaptation of Bleak House. In 1986 he was seen in Paradise Postponed.
He featured prominently in the 1990 television drama House of Cards by Michael Dobbs, as Tim Stamper, Tory Whip and ally of Ian Richardson's Francis Urquhart. The character returned - promoted initially to Chief Whip, then to Party Chairman - in the 1993 sequel, To Play the King.
He also appeared in a number of films over the years, often as priests or vicars. These included roles in The Devil's Daffodil (1961), Frankenstein Created Woman (1967), The Other People (1968), The Oblong Box (1969), The Games (1970), Bartleby (1970), Diagnosis: Murder (1975), Schizo (1976), The Island (1980), The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981), Absolute Beginners (1986) and Secret Friends (1991).
Jeavons retired from acting in 1993.
He married the ballet dancer Rosie Jeavons (1945-2018) in 1965.
His elder son Barney managed the British rock band Reuben, and in 2007 Jeavons emerged from retirement, heavily bearded, to appear as the enigmatic General in Reuben's Rock video "Blood, Bunny, Larkhall". In a behind-the-scenes short, Jeavons explained briefly some of the highlights of his acting career. Barney Jeavons is also the Arts Centre Director of the West End Centre in Aldershot.
- "Action TV - Epitaph For A Spy episode guide". Startrader.co.uk. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
- "Avengers". Theavengers.tv. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
- Afterword written by Michael S. Cox, Cheshire, 1993, in "The Television Sherlock Holmes" by Peter Haining, revised 3rd Edition, 1994 Virgin Books
- "Behind the scenes of 'Blood, Bunny, Larkhall'". YouTube. Retrieved 19 October 2010.
- Barney Jeavons and the West End Centre - Hampshire Gateway website (2016)
- Aldershot Civic Society Meeting with Barney Jeavons from the West End Centre - 25 October 2016
- Starring Sherlock Holmes, David Stuart Davies; Titan Books 2001