Philip Madoc

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Philip Madoc
Phil Madoc Dads Army.jpg
Phil Madoc (left) with Arthur Lowe in the Dad's Army episode The Deadly Attachment (1973)
Born Phillip Jones[1]
(1934-07-05)5 July 1934
Twynyrodyn, Merthyr Tydfil, Glamorgan, Wales
Died 5 March 2012(2012-03-05) (aged 77)
Northwood, London, England
Cause of death Cancer
Alma mater Royal Academy of Dramatic Art
Occupation Actor
Years active 1962–2012
Spouse(s) Ruth Madoc (m. 1961; div. 1981)
Diane (divorced)
Children 2

Philip Madoc (5 July 1934 – 5 March 2012)[2] was a Welsh actor who had many television and film roles, including the lead role in the detective series A Mind to Kill, the eponymous hero of The Life and Times of David Lloyd George and famously, a U-boat captain in an episode of Dad's Army.

Early life[edit]

Madoc was born Phillip Jones near Merthyr Tydfil and attended Cyfarthfa Castle Grammar School, where he was a member of the cricket and rugby teams,[3] and displayed talent as a linguist. He then studied languages at the University of Wales and the University of Vienna. He eventually spoke seven languages, including Russian and Swedish, and had a working knowledge of Huron Indian, Hindi and Mandarin. He worked as an interpreter, but became disenchanted with having to translate for politicians: "I did dry-as-dust jobs like political interpreting. You get to despise politicians when you have to translate the rubbish they spout."[4] He then switched to acting and won a place at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art (RADA).

Acting career[edit]

Madoc acted on stage with the Royal Shakespeare Company, playing the roles of Iago, Othello and Dr Faust.[1] As a television actor he first gained widespread recognition in two serials, first as the relentless SS Officer Lutzig in the Second World War serial Manhunt (1969), and then as the vicious Huron warrior Magua in a serialisation of The Last of the Mohicans (1971). He played a character resembling Lutzig, but for comic effect, in "The Deadly Attachment", an episode of the comedy Dad's Army in which he played a U-boat captain held prisoner by the Walmington-on-Sea platoon of the Home Guard. He records names on his "list" for the day of reckoning after the war is won, prompting Captain Mainwaring's famous line "Don't tell him, Pike!" Madoc's ability to give life to German villains also surfaced in the TV series The Fortunes of War, directed by James Cellan Jones.

He also appeared in five episodes of the TV series The Avengers between 1963 and 1969 ("The Decapod", "Six Hands Across a Table", "Death of a Batman", "The Correct Way to Kill", "My Wildest Dream").

In 1974 he played a corrupt and lecherous priest, Vicar Davyd, in the BBC Wales serial Hawkmoor. In 1977 he appeared as Dr Evans in the television adaptation of Andrea Newman's book Another Bouquet (the sequel to A Bouquet of Barbed Wire).

Madoc starred in the detective series A Mind to Kill as DCI Noel Bain. This series was made simultaneously in Welsh and English from 1994 to 2002. He appeared in episodes of the BBC sitcoms The Good Life and Porridge ("Disturbing The Peace"), and in a controversial episode of The Goodies ("South Africa"), which satirised Apartheid. He took the lead role in the BBC Wales drama The Life and Times of David Lloyd George.

Films in which Madoc appeared included Operation Crossbow (1965), The Quiller Memorandum (1966), Berserk! (1967), Doppelgänger (1969), Hell Boats (1970), Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde (1971), Soft Beds, Hard Battles (1974) and Operation Daybreak (1975). His later film performances included Leon Trotsky in Zina (1985), and Jimmy Murphy in the football movie Best (2000).

Science-fiction roles[edit]

Madoc appeared in the second Doctor Who film, Daleks - Invasion Earth 2150 AD (1966) and later in the BBC series itself. He appeared in two Second Doctor serials — The Krotons where he played Eelek, a high-ranking member of Gond Society, and The War Games, where he played the villainous alien War Lord. In the 1970s he appeared in two Fourth Doctor serials — The Brain of Morbius and The Power of Kroll. He recorded DVD commentaries for The Krotons, The War Games and The Brain of Morbius and was interviewed about his roles in Doctor Who in the short film "Philip Madoc - a Villain for All Seasons", which appeared as an extra on the DVD for The Power of Kroll. In 2003, he guest-starred in the Big Finish Doctor Who audio adventure, Master, and returned to Big Finish in the 2008 Sixth Doctor story Return of the Krotons. In December 2011, Madoc took part in the recording of the DVD commentary for The Krotons.

He appeared twice in the drama series UFO, once as the partner of Ed Straker's estranged wife and once as the captain of a British warship under attack by the aliens. In the pilot episode of Space: 1999 (1975) he had a brief appearance as Commander Anton Gorski, who was replaced by Commander John Koenig for the remainder of the series. In addition to his minor role of Anton Gorski, his likeness later appeared in the comic book adaptation of the Space 1999 saga, where his characters previously minor role was expanded upon. He also made a memorable guest appearance in Survivors.

Other roles[edit]

Madoc's voice can be heard reading Bible quotations on a variant of the VoCo alarm clock. He also starred as Ellis Peters's medieval detective Brother Cadfael in the BBC Radio 4 Adaptations of Monk's Hood,[5] The Virgin in the Ice[6] and Dead Man's Ransom.[7][8] He recorded a 12-CD audiobook of selections from Edward Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire.

In 2001 Madoc voiced the role of "Prospero" for the BBC Radio 3 production of The Tempest.

The Welsh actor voiced Gwydion in Y Mabinogi (Otherworld) (2003), featuring Daniel Evans, Jenny Livsey and Matthew Rhys.[9]

In 2007 Madoc appeared as "Y Llywydd" (The President) in the S4C gangster series Y Pris, in which he spoke in his native Welsh. He was the narrator for the Discovery Channel documentary series Egypt Uncovered.

Personal life[edit]

Philip Madoc's first marriage, to the actress Ruth Madoc, lasted for 20 years. They had a son and a daughter, and divorced in 1981. Madoc's second marriage, which also ended in divorce, was to Diane.[4]

He was patron of Best Theatre Arts, a theatre school in St Albans[10] and President of the London Welsh Male Voice Choir.[11]

It was stated in January 2012 that Madoc had been diagnosed with cancer. He died on 5 March 2012 at the Michael Sobell Hospice in Northwood, northwest London.[2] He was cremated at the West Hertfordshire Crematorium in Watford.[12]


  1. ^ a b Meic Stephens. "Philip Madoc: Actor Forever Remembered as the U-Boat Captain in Dad's Army", The Independent, 7 March 2012
  2. ^ a b "Actor Philip Madoc dies aged 77". BBC News. 5 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-05. 
  3. ^ "Cyfartha School Photographs 1950-51 at". Retrieved 2012-03-05. 
  4. ^ a b "Actor Philip Madoc Obituary". London: The Daily Telegraph. 5 March 2012. Retrieved 2012-03-05. 
  5. ^ "Review of Monk's Hood". BBC Radio Crimes audio book. Littlehampton Gazette. 24 September 2009. Retrieved 2013-04-18. 
  6. ^ "The Virgin in the Ice". BBC Radio Crimes audiobook. Retrieved 2013-04-18. 
  7. ^ "Dead Man's Ransom". BBC Radio Crimes audio book. ISBN 0563388625. Retrieved 2013-04-18. 
  8. ^ "Dead Man's Ransom". BBC Radio Crimes audio book. 5 May 2011. Retrieved 2013-04-18. 
  9. ^ Minovitz, Ethan (6 March 2012). "Welsh Television Actor Philip Madoc Dies at 77". Big Cartoon News. Retrieved 6 March 2012. 
  10. ^ Best Theatre Arts
  11. ^ "London Welsh Male Voice Choir". Retrieved 6 March 2012. 
  12. ^ "Memorial Service Lined Up for Actor Philip Madoc", 15 March 2013 Wales Online

External links[edit]