Richard Hearne

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Richard Hearne

Richard Hearne as Mr Pastry
Richard Lewis Hearne

(1908-01-30)30 January 1908
Norwich, Norfolk, England
Died23 August 1979(1979-08-23) (aged 71)
Bearsted, Kent, England
Resting placeSt Mary's Platt, Kent, England
OccupationComic actor

Richard Lewis Hearne OBE (30 January 1908 – 23 August 1979)[1] was an English actor, comedian, producer and writer. He is best remembered for his stage and television character Mr Pastry.[2]


Hearne was born in Norwich, Norfolk, in 1908, the son of Richard and Lily May Hearne. Richard senior came from a theatrical family – his mother had been on the stage and he himself was a performing acrobat. Hearne worked on and off for the BBC for thirty years; he became the first performer to be known as a "television star" and also the first to have his own television series.[citation needed] The series, with the theme tune "Pop Goes The Weasel", had episodes lasting 25 minutes in which Hearne assumed the character of "Mr Pastry" – an old man with a walrus moustache, dressed in a black suit or raincoat and with a trademark bowler hat. Each week, the bumbling old man would have adventures, partly slapstick, partly comic dance, with two young friends. Jon Pertwee also starred in the show in a variety of roles.

The Mr Pastry character had originated in the 1936 stage show Big Boy in which Hearne had appeared with Fred Emney. A Mr Pastry film was subsequently made but portrayed the lead character as a pathetic figure coming out of prison and totally different from the TV series' bumbling comic.

His act first appeared on the US Ed Sullivan Show in 1954, and thereafter Hearne appeared on the show frequently. Buster Keaton was reportedly a fan.[3] Hearne was the subject of This Is Your Life in 1959 when he was surprised by Eamonn Andrews at the BBC Television Theatre.[citation needed] In 1963, Hearne became President of the Lord's Taverners charity and he subsequently raised money for hundreds of hydrotherapy pools. In 1970, he was awarded an OBE for his charitable work.

He was interviewed for the starring role of the BBC series Doctor Who after the departure of Jon Pertwee, but a disagreement over his interpretation of the role (he wanted to play the Doctor as Mr Pastry) led to no offer being made by the producer, Barry Letts. The role was subsequently offered to Tom Baker.[4] In 1976, he appeared as Mr. Pastry on the BBC's old time music hall show, The Good Old Days.[5]

Hearne died in Bearsted, Kent, in 1979, aged 71, leaving a widow, Yvonne (née Ortner), and two children. He was buried in the churchyard in the village of St. Mary's Platt, near Borough Green in Kent. He had lived at Platt Farm, a fifteenth-century property in Long Mill Lane in the village, from the 1940s, and ran a market garden there.[6]


Year Title Role Notes
1934 Give Her a Ring Drunk
1935 Dance Band Acrobatic Drunk
1935 No Monkey Business Charlie
1937 Splinters in the Air Sgt. Hearne
1937 Millions Jimmy Forbes
1943 Miss London Ltd. Commodore Joshua Wellington
1943 The Butler's Dilemma Rodney Playfair
1948 One Night with You Station Master Uncredited
1948 Woman Hater Reveller Uncredited
1949 Passport to Pimlico Night-time Drunk on Bike Uncredited
1949 Helter Skelter Professor Pastry
1950 Something in the City William Ningle
1951 Captain Horatio Hornblower Polwheal (Hornblower's Steward)
1951 Madame Louise Mr. Charles Pastry also titled The Madame Gambles
1952 Miss Robin Hood Henry Wrigley
1955 The Time of His Life Mr. Charles Pastry
1956 Tons of Trouble


  1. ^ The Encyclopaedia of the Musical Theatre: Gi- N, Kurt Ganzl, Schirmer Books, 2001, p. 886
  2. ^ "YouTube". YouTube. Archived from the original on 7 April 2017. Retrieved 28 November 2016.
  3. ^ "The Time of His Life – Film from RadioTimes".
  4. ^ "BBC – Archive – The Changing Face of Doctor Who – Nearly Who".
  5. ^ "The Good Old Days[18/03/76] (1976)". Archived from the original on 21 June 2016.
  6. ^ The Television Annual for 1952, ed. by Kenneth Baily, Odhams Press, p. 94.

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