Jack Watson (actor)

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Jack Watson
Watson in the trailer for The Devil's Brigade (1968)
Born(1915-05-14)14 May 1915
Died4 July 1999(1999-07-04) (aged 84)
Years active1951–1994
Betty Garland
(m. 1943)

Jack Watson (14 May 1915 – 4 July 1999) was an English actor who appeared in many British films and television dramas from the 1950s onwards.[1]

Early life[edit]

Watson was born in Thorney, Cambridgeshire.[2] He was the son of a Gaiety Girl, Barbara Hughes, and a music hall comedian, Nosmo King. Watson often appeared on stage with his father as straight man, where he was known simply as Hubert.[3]

Military service[edit]

During the Second World War he was a physical training instructor in the Royal Navy, and his physique was much in evidence in many of his subsequent screen roles.


During the war Watson was resident compère of the BBC radio comedy The Navy Mixture.[4] After the war, his talent as an impersonator resulted in his becoming a regular on BBC radio programmes such as Take it from Here, Hancock's Half Hour and The Clitheroe Kid.[5][6] He gradually made the transition to television, where his first major role was in Coronation Street, in which he became Elsie Tanner's (Pat Phoenix) first lover.[7] Watson appeared in Coronation Street as Bill Gregory on and off between 1961 and 1984 ; his final episode in 1984 was also the final episode for Pat Phoenix who played his love interest Elsie Tanner in the series. He was one of the villains in the 1966 episode of The Avengers entitled 'Silent Dust' ', chasing Diana Rigg on horseback with a whip. He also appeared as the publican in the 1967 episode of the same series entitled 'The Living Dead'. He appeared as a powerful but shell-shocked ex-soldier in Dr. Finlay's Casebook, in an episode entitled "Not qualified" which formed part of the 8th series of the popular British programme. Probably his best-known television role was as Llud, Arthur's craggy sidekick in Arthur of the Britons.[8] His last major TV role was in the award-winning Edge of Darkness (1985).

Watson appeared in over 70 films, including: On the Beat (1962) in which he played a police sergeant, Peeping Tom, This Sporting Life, Grand Prix, Tobruk, The McKenzie Break, The Devil's Brigade and The Wild Geese (1978), plus in the Music video of Intaferon - Steam Hammer Sam (published 1983). [1][9]


Personal life[edit]

Watson married Betty Garland, a BBC engineer, in 1943 and remained married until his death in 1999. They had two daughters and a son. He lived in Bath, England.


He died on 4 July 1999, aged 84, of blood cancer.


  1. ^ a b "Jack Watson". BFI. Archived from the original on 18 May 2017.
  2. ^ III, Harris M. Lentz (24 October 2008). Obituaries in the Performing Arts, 1999: Film, Television, Radio, Theatre, Dance, Music, Cartoons and Pop Culture. McFarland. ISBN 9780786452040 – via Google Books.
  3. ^ "Obituary: Jack Watson". The Independent. 9 July 1999.
  4. ^ Bergan, Ronald (9 July 1999). "Jack Watson". The Guardian.
  5. ^ "BBC Radio 4 Extra – Hancock's Half Hour, Series 6, The Impersonator". BBC.
  6. ^ "The Clitheroe Kid". 11 February 1965. p. 17 – via BBC Genome.
  7. ^ "Veteran actor Jack Watson dies". news.bbc.co.uk.
  8. ^ "Arthur Is Dead (1972)". BFI. Archived from the original on 13 February 2019.
  9. ^ "Jack Watson - Movies and Filmography". AllMovie.

External links[edit]