William Mervyn

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William Mervyn
Born William Mervyn Pickwoad
(1912-01-03)3 January 1912
Nairobi, British East Africa
Died 6 August 1976(1976-08-06) (aged 64)
London, England
Occupation Actor

William Mervyn (3 January 1912 – 6 August 1976) was an English actor best known for his portrayal of the bishop in the clerical comedy All Gas and Gaiters.

Life and career[edit]

Mervyn was born in Nairobi, British East Africa, but educated in Britain before embarking on a stage career, spending five years in provincial theatre. He made his West End debut in The Guinea Pig at the Criterion Theatre in 1946, before parts in plays such as Lend Me Robin at the Embassy Theatre,[1] the comedy Ring Round the Moon, The Mortimer Touch, A Woman of No Importance by Oscar Wilde at the Savoy Theatre in 1953 and Charley's Aunt.

Mervyn's later stage roles included those of O'Trigger in The Rivals, Lord Greenham in the comedy Aren't We All? and Sir Patrick Cullen in The Doctor's Dilemma. Although he was admired in the theatre, it was with television that he became really well known. One of his first major small screen roles was Sir Hector in the 1962 series Saki. Four years later, he played the Bishop of St. Ogg's in the comedy series All Gas and Gaiters. It was, at that time, breaking with tradition, allowing a laugh at the expense of the established church.

He also played the police chief inspector Charles Rose in the Granada TV series The Odd Man and its spin-offs It's Dark Outside and Mr Rose. He played the Hon. Mr. Justice Campbell in the Granada TV series Crown Court.

Having taken the part of a Chief Inspector in the 1949 Ealing Studios film The Blue Lamp, in which PC George Dixon first appears (only to be shot dead by a young Dirk Bogarde), he then reappeared in a 1960 Dixon of Dock Green episode "The Hot Seat". He was in the 1966 Doctor Who story The War Machines and several Carry On films in the late 1960s, and also appeared as Mr. Whitty in the Randall and Hopkirk (Deceased) episode "A Disturbing Case" in 1969.

Usually cast as a wealthy upper class gentleman, he also appeared in The Railway Children (1970), as the children's train passenger friend, and The Ruling Class (1972). Around the same time, he appeared as Sir Hector Drummond, Bt., in the British TV series The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes, in an episode entitled "The Superfluous Finger" (1973).

Personal life[edit]

Mervyn was married to Anne Margaret Payne Cooke, with whom he had three sons: Michael Pickwood, who in 2010 became the production designer on Doctor Who; Richard, television director and aerial cameraman; and Nicholas (Pickwoad), expert on bookbinding.



  1. ^ "Lend Me Robin". Cadbury Research Library Special Collections. University of Birmingham. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 


  • TV Unforgettables – Over 250 Legends of the Small Screen
  • Wearing, J.P.. (2014). The London Stage 1950 - 1959: A Calendar of Productions, Performers and Personnel. Rowman & Littlefield

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