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
Spouse(s) Anne Margaret Payne Cooke
Children 3

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 and the old gentleman in The Railway Children.[1]

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,[2] before parts in plays such as Lend Me Robin at the Embassy Theatre,[3] the comedy Ring Round the Moon, The Mortimer Touch, A Woman of No Importance by Oscar Wilde at the Savoy Theatre in 1953[4] and Charley's Aunt.[5]

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, a theatre designer and architect who survived him with their three sons - Michael Pickwoad, who in 2010 became the production designer on Doctor Who, Richard, television director and aerial cameraman and Nicholas (Pickwoad), expert on bookbinding.[6] Mervyn's granddaughter Amy Pickwood became an art director and standby art director for Doctor Who.[7]



Year Title Role Notes
1947 The Mark of Cain Mr Bonnington
1950 The Blue Lamp Chief Inspector Hammond uncredited
1950 Four Men in Prison short
1954 Conflict of Wings Mr Wentworth
1956 Tons of Trouble Roberts (M15)
1956 The Long Arm Manager of Festival Hall Released as The Third Key in the USA
1958 Carve Her Name with Pride Colonel Buckmaster
1959 Upstairs and Downstairs Kingsley
1959 The Battle of the Sexes Detective's friend
1960 Circus of Horrors Doctor Morley
1963 Tamahine Lord Birchester
1964 Hot Enough for June Passenger on plane uncredited and released as Agent 8 3/4 in the USA
1964 Murder Ahoy! Commander Breeze-Connington
1963 Operation Crossbow
1965 Up Jumped a Swagman Mr Hawkes Fenhoulet
1967 Deadlier Than the Male Chairman of the Phoenician Board
1967 Follow That Camel Sir Cyril Ponsonby
1968 Salt and Pepper Prime Minister
1969 Carry On Again Doctor Lord Paragon
1970 The Railway Children Old Gentleman credited as Mr William Mervyn
1971 Carry On Henry Physician
1972 Up the Front Lord Twithampton
1972 Incense for the Damned Marc Honeydew
1972 The Ruling Class Sir Charles


Year Title Role Notes
1960 ITV Television Playhouse Mr Challen
1960 The Long Way Home French police sergeant
1960 The Four Just Men Under Secretary
1960 Yorky Mr Playford
1960 On Trial Sergeant Ballatine/President of the Court
1960 Dixon of Dock Green Bruce Treadgold
1960 Persuasion Admiral Croft
1961 No Hiding Place Ivor Naunton/Colonel Frew
1962 Oliver Twist Mr Grimwig
1962 Bulldog Breed Company director
1962 Maignet Doctor
1962 It Happened Like This Sir George Wilby
1963 The Odd Man Chief Inspector Rose
1963 The Sentimental Agent Colonel Wilde
1964 Silas Marner Squire Cass
1964 Diary of a Young Man Bott
1964 The Massingham Affair Mr Jessopp
1965 The Flying Swan Alexander Curtis
1965 Heiress of Garth Squire Griffin (TV mini-series)
1965 Count Martial Chief Inspector Haigh
1966 The Liars Sir Gerald
1966 Doctor Who: The War Machines Sir Charles Summer
1966 BBC Play of the Month Sir Hector Rose
1966-71 All Gas and Gaiters Bishop Cuthbert Hever
1967 Gideon C.I.D Mr Pater
1968-70 Thirty-Minute Theatre Sir Eric Brown/Father
1969 My Partner the Ghost Whitty
1970 The Mating Machine Major Whitestone
1973 The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes Sir Hector Drummond
1976 The Ghosts of Motley Hall Mr Bayling


Year Title Theatre Notes
1946 The Guinea Pig Criterion Theatre
1947-48 The Blind Goddess Apollo Theatre, London
1948 Lend Me Robin Embassy Theatre
1952 The Mortimer Touch Duke of York's Theatre
1952-53 Pagan in the Parlour Theatre Royal, Bath
1953 A Woman of No Importance Savoy Theatre
1954 Charley's Aunt New Theatre and Strand Theatre
1954-55 Witness for the Prosecution Bristol Hippodrome
1955 Mrs Willie Globe Theatre, London
1956 The Rivals Saville Theatre
1972 The Doctor's Dilemma


  1. ^ Tim Hughes (20 December 2012). "Michael Pickwoad: from Withal to the Doctor (From Herald Series)". heraldseries.co.uk. Herald Series. Retrieved 4 September 2015. best remembered for his roles...in The Railway Children 
  2. ^ Wearing, 2014, The London Stage 1940-1949, p. 222
  3. ^ "Lend Me Robin". Cadbury Research Library Special Collections. University of Birmingham. Retrieved 15 April 2015. 
  4. ^ Wearing, 2014, The London Stage 1950-1959, p.214
  5. ^ "THEATRE 19 Feb 1954". archive.spectator.co.uk. The Spectator Archive. Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  6. ^ Tim Hughes. "Michael Pickwoad: from Withal to the Doctor". heraldseries.co.uk. Herald Series. Retrieved 4 September 2015. 
  7. ^ Tim Hughes (20 December 2012). "Michael Pickwoad: from Withal to the Doctor". heraldseries.co.uk. Retrieved 4 September 2015. Amy...who has worked with him on Doctor Who, a show which is becoming a family trade 


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