Actors Gallery

Bill wrote to director Val Guest. And out of the blue Val telephoned from the USA. At 93, Val spoke with great clarity but could only recall the one Just William film he made at Southall Studios in 1947 -1948. Val’s autobiography has the director pictured (top right) on the set of Just William’s Luck with future wife Yolande Donlan. Sadly Val passed away on 10th May 2006 at his home in Palm Springs, California.
Terence Alexander phoned. Many will remember him as Charlie Hungerford from “Bergerac” on TV. Little Southall memory remains with Terence but nevertheless was very interesting to chat to. The still is from “The Runaway Bus”.Terence Alexander, born on March 11, 1923. Died on May 28, 2009, aged 86.
We receive a reply from Virginia McKenna. From her scrapbook she sent us some reviews of “The Oracle”. ‘Most of the film was shot on location with only the interiors done at Southall’ Virginia concludes.
News of John Bentley came from his wife. At 88, John is bedridden with arthritis and any Southall recollections have entirely disappeared from the actor’s memory.Policing the East African territory of Kenya was the theme and setting for “The African Patrol” series which starred John.John Bentley, born 2nd December 1916. Died on 13th August 2009 aged 92.
Although it was more than fifty years ago, Rona Anderson recollects the films, “Double Exposure” and “The Twenty Questions Murder Mystery”, both with Robert Beatty.”You must remember those B films were usually made in three weeks – here and gone pretty quickly”. Rona searched her archives but unfortunately could not provide us with any further information.Rona Anderson, born 03 August,1926. Died 23 July,2013.
’As a jobbing actor I often had bit parts requiring one day’s shooting. The only Southall film I can recall was “Time Gentlemen Please” from 1952’. The letter was signed Ian Carmichael.Ian Gillett Carmichael born 18 June 1920. Died 5 February 2010
Conrad Phillips aka William Tell wrote from France where he now lives. Most of Southall had slipped his memory except one 1954 film Three Steps to the Gallows with John Schlesinger before he became a famous director.Conrad Phillips went on to star in the black-and-white ITV series “William Tell”.
Not long after, actor John Horsley rang bringing to life reminiscences about “The Runaway Bus” starring Margaret Rutherford and Frankie Howerd; one of five films he made at Southall.Viewers will recognise John as “Doc” from the 1976 BBC series “The Rise and Fall of Reginald Perrin” which also starred Leonard Rossiter.John Horsley, born 21 July,1920.Died on 12 Jan,2014. Aged 93
Reg Varney In July 2008 we had correspondence from Reg Varney / Jeanne Marley. Reg Varney, actor, born July 11, 1916 died on November 16th, 2008, aged 92
Richard Thorp TV soap viewers will immediately recognize Richard Thorp from ITV’s Emmerdale. But viewers may not be aware that back in 1957 he had a small role in Southall’s comedy film There’s Always a Thursday. In the summer of 2008 Richard spoke to us recalling the strong performance from the lead, Charles Victor.Richard Thorp, born 02 January,1932.Died on 22 May,2013.
In her letter of September 2008 Dilys Laye remembered her part as a young girl on a telephone in Torment. Sadly Dilys passed away in February 2009.Prunella Scales remembered Laxdale Hall and her small part as a schoolmistress and the location work near Loch Carron.September also brought a phone call from Peter Sallis. He told us about his first film, Child’s Play from 1954 directed by Australian director Margaret Thompson.
Wishing us well were Harry Towb, Lionel Jeffries, Harry Fowler and Honor Blackman. Despite appearing in Southall films they were unable to supply any specific recollections. However Harry Towb later recalled his experiences on Quiet Woman, 1950. His description summarises Southall’s production schedule:
‘We went on location to Rye Harbour. To say it was shot on a shoestring is putting it mildly, the production manager borrowed John Horsley’s car to ferry the actors to and fro! We shot the last scene with Dora Bryan under great pressure because the budget couldn’t stand an extra hour’s filming!’Harry Towb, born July 27, 1925. Died on July 24, 2009, aged 83.Lionel Jeffries, born June 10 1926. Died February 19 2010, aged 83.Harry Fowler, born December 10, 1926. Died January 04, 2012, aged 85
September 2009: We receive a letter from Ronnie Corbett.“You’re Only Young Twice, (1952) was in fact my first ever job in the business. We shot it all on location at Glasgow University … (and) … I did some work at Southall Studios, I lived in strange little digs nearby.I think the studio had been refurbished by John Grierson who had something to do with my film. I have a clip of my appearance so it meant a lot to me, as much as it does to you: and if I can help in any further way I would be only too pleased but the memories are vague.”
Jonathan Kydd, actor, musician and voiceover expert carries on the family surname. He wrote to us informing us about his father, Sam who was a prolific character actor appearing in over 200 films including 12 made at Southall Studios including Blackout, 1950, Cheer the Brave 1951, The Runaway Bus 1954 and The Voice of Merrill 1952.Sam, born Belfast 15 February, 1915. Died London 26 March, 1982.
We are indebted to Christopher Guest who e-mailed publicity stills from Southall’s 1935 film Children of the Fog. The film was adapted from the novel of the same name by his grandmother, Carmel Haden Guest.
By early 2010 Eddie Graham, the original William in Val Guest’s 2 Just William films, (1947/1948) had been in touch. After National Service he was a dancer at the Windmill theatre, London then toured around the UK in variety and pantomime. His agent was Joe Collins, Joan’s father.At 78 Eddie is now enjoying retirement in Devon.
Kate Lees the granddaughter of Arthur Dent founder of Adelphi Films Ltd. made contact. She confirmed several titles, including some previously unknown to us, made at Southall Studios, between 1948 and 1952.
More letters and e-mails followed in March 2010 following our request placed in the Magazine of The British TV and Cinema veterans.An electrician who worked on Tommy Steele’s first film Kill Me Tomorrow, 1957 shared his memories of Lois Maxwell and the stars culminating with an end of shooting party.A former employee of Pearl & Dean outlined his 2 years at Southall making commercials for TV & the cinema before moving to Walton then Merton Park studios.An assistant director recalled working on The Lyons films, The Gay Dog and End of The Line.Boris Karloff apparently was a real charmer, according to a former production manager to Hannah Weinstein who worked on the first few episodes of the TV series Colonel March of The Yard, 1953 – 54.
john schlesinger He remembers paying John Schlesinger £15 daily and other actors less if he could get away with it! Budgets were set at £3500 per episode, frequently using sets from other productions at Southall. Boris Karloff moved skillfully around the flimsy sets but when more grand interiors were required Hannah’s house was used.Terence Fisher directed some of the episodes.
John Legard contacted me in July 2010.John was film editor on Child’s Play but is best known for editing most of the British Transport documentary films.
CHJ Colonel March Scotland Yard The Silent Vow 1954 a Carl Heinz Jaffé (1902-74) appeared as a character called Carl Blotz in Childs Play, 1953.Carl Jaffé also appeared in one episode of Colonel March of The Yard. He played Father Mendes (standing) in The Silent Vow with Eric Pohlman and Anton Diffring, 1956.Still supplied by Michael Jaffe.
 Robert Rietty ROBERT RIETTY, born February 8th,1923. Died April 3rd, 2015. He appeared in the 1935 film Childen Of The Fog.