Jump to content

David Collings

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

David Collings
Born(1940-06-04)4 June 1940
Brighton, Sussex, England
Died23 March 2020(2020-03-23) (aged 79)
Years active1961–2019
Children3, including Samuel Collings

David Collings (4 June 1940 – 23 March 2020)[1] was an English actor. In an extensive career he appeared in many roles on stage, television, film and radio, as well as various audio books, voiceovers, concert readings and other work. He garnered a following through his numerous appearances in cult sci-fi series such as Doctor Who, Sapphire & Steel and Blake's 7, as well as dubbing the titular character in the series Monkey and Legolas in the classic BBC Radio 4 adaptation of Tolkien's The Lord of the Rings.


Collings was born in Brighton on 4 June 1940.

Film and television[edit]

Collings's screen breakthrough came playing the protagonist Raskolnikov in Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime & Punishment (1964 with Associated-Rediffusion Television).[2] The production was broadcast live. He has played historical characters such as Percy Grainger in Ken Russell's Song of Summer (1968), Richard Simmons in The Shadow of the Tower (1972), John Ruskin in The Love School (1975), a BBC series about the Pre-Raphaelites, and Sir Anthony Babington in Elizabeth R. In 1975, he portrayed William Wilberforce in The Fight Against Slavery, and he starred as William Pitt in Prince Regent in 1979.

Collings also appeared as Deva in the final episode of Blake's 7 and as the character of 'Silver' in several episodes of Sapphire & Steel TV adventures.[3] He appeared in the TV series Danger Man, Mystery and Imagination, UFO (episode "The Psychobombs") and Gideon's Way; in the latter, he played an emotionally disturbed man attacking young women in the episode The Prowler.

Collings played the character of Bob Cratchit in the classic 1970 film musical, Scrooge, starring alongside Albert Finney, Dame Edith Evans, Sir Alec Guinness, Kenneth More, Anton Rodgers and others. In 1981 he played the dual roles of Lord Dark and The Friendly Ghost in the perennial school-children's favourite Dark Towers, part of the Look and Read series. He voiced the eponymous lead for the long-running hit Japanese television series Journey to the West, released in English-speaking countries as Monkey. The show was a hit and had a mass following, particularly with young people. He is also noted for his children's television appearances including the role of Julian Oakapple in Midnight is a Place (1977). In 1989 he played Charn (the villain) in Through the Dragon's Eye, and had a recurring role as the headmaster in Press Gang from 1989 to 1993.

Doctor Who[edit]

He has appeared a number of times in the long-running British science fiction television series Doctor Who, including Vorus in Revenge of the Cybermen, Poul in The Robots of Death and Mawdryn in the serial Mawdryn Undead.[4] He has also played an alternate Doctor in the audio plays by Big Finish Productions in the Doctor Who Unbound series, Full Fathom Five, alongside other Doctor Who audio credits. Collings returned to the role of Poul- now named Paulus- in the episode Hidden Persuaders of the audio drama series Kaldor City.


On radio, he portrayed Legolas in the classic BBC Radio 4 adaptation of The Lord of the Rings.[5]

He was Mr Carlyle in Radio 4's 7-episode serial dramatisation of East Lynne by Mrs Henry Wood, first broadcast in June 1987.[6]


Collings was described by The Stage as a "stalwart of the National and RSC".[7] His career on stage began with seasons at the Liverpool Rep and subsequently took him all over the world with leading companies including Cheek by Jowl, as well as BAM and the Lincoln Center in New York.

He has had a long theatre career appearing in various productions in the UK, US and globally, ranging from Shakespeare and his contemporaries, classical works, Restoration dramas and farce, through to contemporary classics and new plays. He played the parts of Mortimer the Elder and Matrevis in a production of Edward II at the Royal Exchange, Manchester, which also featured his son, the actor Samuel Collings. He also appeared as the King of France in Henry V, and most recently Giles Corey in The Crucible at the same venue.

Personal life[edit]

He died aged 79, on 23 March 2020.[8][9]


Year Title Role Notes
1966 A Man for All Seasons Kings Messenger Uncredited
1968 Joanna Critic Uncredited
1968 Song of Summer Percy Grainger 1 episode, Documentary
1970 Scrooge Bob Cratchit
1972 For the Love of Ada Mr. Johnson
1974 Mahler Hugo Wolfe
1975 Hennessy Covey
1978 The Thirty Nine Steps Tillotson
1978 The Professionals 'Stake Out' – Frank Turner
1979 Julius Caesar Cassius TV movie
1979 The Outsider Maj. Nigel Percival
1980 A Tale of Two Cities John Barsad TV series
1982 Tangiers Major Greville
1995 Screen Two Mr. Shepherd Episode: "Persuasion"
2010 Mission London Dean Carver
2013 The Invisible Woman Governor


  1. ^ Coveney, Michael (26 March 2020). "David Collings obituary". The Guardian. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
  2. ^ "Silver Jubilee Interview with David Collings". Magic Bullet Productions. 30 April 2003. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  3. ^ "David Collings Interviews: David_collings – LiveJournal". david-collings.livejournal.com. Archived from the original on 19 October 2020. Retrieved 6 June 2022.
  4. ^ "Doctor Who Classic Episode Guide – Mawdryn Undead". BBC. Retrieved 2 December 2012.
  5. ^ "Concerning The Lord of the Rings BBC 1981". SF-Worlds.Com. Archived from the original on 13 May 2008. Retrieved 17 October 2010.
  6. ^ "BBC Radio 4 Extra – MRS Henry Wood – East Lynne, 1. The Broken Cross".
  7. ^ Quinn, Michael (8 April 2020). "Obituary: David Collings – Doctor Who actor and stalwart of the National and RSC". The Stage. Retrieved 18 April 2021.
  8. ^ "RIP David Collings". 23 March 2020.
  9. ^ "Doctor Who News – David Collings 1940-2020".

External links[edit]