Jeffrey Holland (actor)

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Jeffrey Holland
Jeffrey Holland.jpg
Jeffrey Holland in May 2011.
Born
Jeffrey Michael Parkes

(1946-07-17) 17 July 1946 (age 75)
NationalityBritish
OccupationActor
Years active1963–present
Spouse(s)
Eleanor Hartopp
(m. 1971, divorced)

(m. 2004)
Children2

Jeffrey Holland (born Jeffrey Michael Parkes, 17 July 1946) is an English actor well known for roles in television sitcoms, playing camp comic Spike Dixon at the Maplin's holiday camp in Hi-de-Hi!, as well as BBC Radio comedy, including Week Ending. He also played leading roles in the sitcoms You Rang, M'Lord? and Oh, Doctor Beeching!.

Early life[edit]

Born in Walsall, Staffordshire, he was educated at Queen Mary's Grammar School, Walsall. Holland joined an amateur theatre company and soon found that he had a talent for comedy, but despite this he could not pursue a career in comedy until after he left home. He has said that "my father died when I was 14, so right after leaving school at 16 I secured a job to earn money to help my mother. I worked at a wine merchant's and an office in Walsall, where I was brought up."[1]

After leaving home Holland trained at Birmingham School of Speech Training and Dramatic Art and became a professional actor. His first stage appearance was at the Alexandra Theatre in 1967, in No Fear or Favour, a play by Henry Cecil Leon.

Holland first appeared on television in Crossroads, but this was in a non-speaking role. His first speaking role came in an episode of Dixon of Dock Green in 1974. He has described Jack Warner, who played Dixon, as "a perfect gentleman".[1]

Acting career[edit]

After Dixon of Dock Green Holland worked with Jimmy Perry and David Croft for the first time when he took over the role of Private Walker in the Dad’s Army Stage Show.

Throughout the 1970s Holland made one-off guest appearances in television shows such as Are You Being Served, Dad's Army and It Ain't Half Hot Mum. He also appeared in several episodes of Crossroads but it was in 1980 that he broke through to fame in the role of Spike Dixon, the resident comic at Maplin's holiday camp in Hi-de-Hi! by Jimmy Perry and David Croft, who were already well acquainted with his work. Later that year Holland appeared alongside Russ Abbot in The Russ Abbot Show and Russ Abbot’s Madhouse.

Jimmy Perry and David Croft used three main Hi-de-Hi! actors, Paul Shane, Holland and Su Pollard, for their next joint project, You Rang, M'Lord?, which ran from 1988 to 1993. Holland played the footman James Twelvetrees. You Rang, M’Lord? was not as successful as Hi-de-Hi! in the UK, but it was very well received in Eastern Europe and especially in Hungary. When attending an event in Budapest Holland said: "I’d never heard anything like it. I could have been Elvis Presley or The Beatles, the noise they made. I did my bit, when off stage I burst into tears because it was so overwhelming."[2] Holland once again worked alongside Paul Shane and Su Pollard in another series by David Croft, Oh, Doctor Beeching!. It ran from 1995 to 1997 and was co-written by Richard Spendlove.

In 2001 Holland performed in Goon Again, the 50th anniversary celebration of The Goon Show. He took the parts originally played by Peter Sellers, alongside Jon Glover playing Spike Milligan's roles, Andrew Secombe playing the son of his father Harry's character Neddie Seagoon and Christopher Timothy.

In 2011 Holland appeared in Coronation Street as Clive Drinkwater.

In 2012 he was cast in the film version of Ray Cooney's farce Run for Your Wife as Dick Holland. The film was met with an overwhelmingly negative response from both critics and audiences.

In 2013 he debuted his short one-man play ... And This Is My Friend Mr Laurel, based on the life of Stan Laurel, at the Camden Fringe festival. This was taken on tour in the UK in 2014–2015. [3] The play was devised by Holland and written by Gail Louw.

In November 2020 Holland attended a virtual Hi-de-Hi! reunion via Zoom, which was streamed to YouTube. Also attending the reunion were his co-stars from the show including Su Pollard, Ruth Madoc, Nikki Kelly, Linda Regan and David Webb.[4]

In April 2021 the British Comedy Guide reported that Holland would be co-starring in a new comedy pilot called Simply Ken, set in Sheffield in the 1980s. It was reported that starring alongside Holland would be his wife Judy Buxton and Craig Shepherd in the title role. Co-creator Alan Marni expressed his confidence about the project, saying that “it’s a great script, we’re got some great actors”.[5]

Personal life[edit]

Holland is married to the actress Judy Buxton. The couple married in 2004.

Television roles[edit]

Year Title Role
1964 Crossroads Mike Hawkins
1974 Dixon of Dock Green Alan Hunt
1976 to 1977 It Ain't Half Hot Mum Aircraftsman Ormanroyd/ RAF Airman
1977 Dad's Army Soldier
1977 Secret Army Michel
1978 The Mayor of Casterbridge (mini-series) Carter
1978 King Richard the Second Duke of Surrey
1978 As You Like It William
1977 to 1979 Are You Being Served? The Blazer/ The Afro Pants
1979 The Life of Henry the Fift Nym
1980 to 1988 Hi-de-Hi! Spike Dixon
1981 to 1985 Russ Abbot's Saturday Madhouse Various
1985 The Kenny Everett Television Show Various
1986 Spitting Image Lester Piggott
1986 The Les Dennis Laughter Show Various
1986 The Ballad of Johnny Vanguard Johnny Vanguard
1988 to 1993 You Rang, M'Lord? James Twelvetrees
1990 The Russ Abbot Show Various
1995 to 1997 Oh, Doctor Beeching! Cecil Parkin
2011 Coronation Street Clive Drinkwater
2012 Run for Your Wife Dick Holland
2015 Art Ache Steve Phillips
2016 The National Union of Space People Rupert Darling
2020-21 Barmy Dale Reverend Wilkins
2021 Simply Ken Stan

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Webber, Richard (8 April 2017). "Where are they now? Yellowcoat Spike from Hi-De-Hi!". Express.co.uk. Retrieved 6 April 2021.
  2. ^ Campbell, Craig. "Why Hi-de-Hi! and You Rang, M'Lord? star Jeffrey Holland is so popular in Hungary". The Sunday Post. Retrieved 6 April 2021.
  3. ^ http://www.jeffreyholland.co.uk/Jeffrey_Holland/Mr_Laurel.html Jeffrey Holland/Mr Laurel at jeffreyholland.co.uk: retrieved 3 March 2015
  4. ^ Guide, British Comedy (13 November 2020). "Hi-De-Hi! cast to reunite for online Q&A". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 5 April 2021.
  5. ^ Guide, British Comedy (3 April 2021). "Hi-De-Hi! star Jeffrey Holland to pilot Simply Ken sitcom". British Comedy Guide. Retrieved 5 April 2021.

External links[edit]