Don Henderson

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Don Henderson
Don Henderson actor.jpg
Henderson in White Angel (1994)
Donald Francis Henderson

(1931-11-10)10 November 1931
Leytonstone, Essex, England
Died22 June 1997(1997-06-22) (aged 65)
Warwick, England
Years active1964–1997
Hilary Henderson
(died 1977)

(m. 1979)

Donald Francis Henderson (10 November 1931 – 22 June 1997)[1] was an English actor. He was known for playing both "tough guy" roles and authority figures, and is remembered for his portrayal of detective George Bulman between 1976 and 1987 in the popular Granada Television police drama series The XYY Man, Strangers, and Bulman, as priest Frank Kane in BBC drama The Paradise Club (1989–90), and as General Tagge in the first Star Wars film (1977). This last role also brought him attention from science fiction fans, and he later appeared in cult science fiction television series Red Dwarf and Doctor Who.[2]


He lived in his adopted home town of Stratford-upon-Avon for many years, where he was a familiar face to locals. He also had several minor roles at the Royal Shakespeare Theatre in the town. Prior to becoming an actor, Henderson was a dental technician in the Army, a detective sergeant with the Essex Constabulary, and an insurance salesman.[3]


Henderson is best remembered for his role as the fictional detective George Bulman. This character featured in three TV series The XYY Man in the mid-1970s; the later Strangers that saw Bulman rise from Detective Sergeant to Detective Chief Inspector and, in 1985, the series Bulman saw George retired from the police and pursuing a career as a horologist. He also starred in the popular TV drama series Warship.

Henderson made little money from his role in Star Wars—£300 for one day of filming. He also missed out on $2000 for his copy of the Star Wars script:

"I have only once been recognised as having been in Star Wars, and that was when I was making a film in Los Angeles. Somebody in the hotel I was staying at offered me $2000 for my copy of the Star Wars script. As I growled at him in amazement, he took that as a refusal, or that he had offered too little and eventually went up to an offer of $5000! Sadly, as with all my used scripts, I had given it to my kids to scribble and draw on."[2]


Henderson died of throat cancer. His first wife Hilary died in 1977; his second wife and widow was the actress Shirley Stelfox, with whom he appeared professionally many times.



Year Title Role Notes Ref.
1968 A Midsummer Night's Dream Attendant [3]
1974 Callan George [3]
Abby Flip
1975 Brannigan Geef
The Ghoul Ghoul
1976 Voyage of the Damned Engineering Officer
1977 Star Wars General Cassio Tagge [3]
Crossed Swords Burly Ruffian
1978 The Big Sleep Lou
1980 The Island Rollo
1985 Brazil First Black Maria Guard [3]
Murder Elite Sergeant Jessop
1987 Billy the Kid and the Green Baize Vampire The Wednesday Man
Out of Order Car Driver
1988 Blanc de Chine Malcolm
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen Commander [3]
1989 Tank Malling Percy
The BFG Bloodbottler / Fleshlumpeater / Sergeant Voice
1990 The Fool Bob
1991 How's Business Mr. Bailey
1992 Carry On Columbus The Bosun [3]
As You Like It The Dukes [3]
1993 The Baby of Macon Father Confessor
The Trial Flogger [3]
1994 White Angel Inspector Taylor
No Escape Killian
1996 The Wind in the Willows The Sentry [3]
1997 Preaching to the Perverted Commander Cope
FairyTale: A True Story Sydney Chalker (final film role)


Year Title Role Notes ! Ref.
1973–1975 Warship Master-at-Arms Heron 18 episodes [3]
1975 Poldark Tom Carne 3 episodes [3]
1976–1977 The XYY Man DS George Bulman 13 episodes [3]
1978 Crossroads Mr Black 6 episodes
Danton's Death Mercier BBC Play of the Month
1978–1982 Strangers George Bulman 30 episodes [3]
1983 Jemima Shore Investigates Conrad Coleman 1 episode
1984 Annika Mr. Daniels 2 episodes
1985–1987 Bulman George Bulman 20 episodes [3]
1986 Dead Head Det. Inspector Malcolm Episode: "Why Me?" [3]
1987 Knights of God Colley 6 episodes [3]
Doctor Who: Delta and the Bannermen Gavrok 3 episodes [3]
1988 Last of the Summer Wine Charlie [3]
Maigret Barge Captain TV movie
1989 Minder Billy Lynch Episode: "Fiddler On The Hoof"
1989–1990 The Paradise Club Frank Kane 20 episodes [3]
1991 Boon Don Episode: "Two Men in a Vault"
1992 2Point4 Children Frank (Ben’s Dad) Series 2 Episode 3 "One Night In Bangkok"
1996 Casualty Jerry Hunter Episode: "Night Moves" [3]
1997 Red Dwarf Rogue Simulant Episode: "Beyond a Joke" [4]



  1. ^ Ancestry/Find My Past (his birth was registered in the December 1931 quarter)
  2. ^ a b "Embra, again.: An Interview with Don Henderson". Retrieved 21 December 2016.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u Anthony Hayward (24 June 1997). "OBITUARY: Don Henderson". The Independent. Retrieved 1 May 2016.
  4. ^ "Doctor Dwarf". 22 November 2013. Retrieved 1 May 2016.

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