IMG_3903A DVD arrived today and inspired this quickie post about an actor who is nowhere near appreciated enough…

Peter Barkworth is a British character actor who was fairly famous once, even getting a Radio Times cover with his series Telford’s Change in the 70s. His last appearance was in Stephen Fry’s film ‘Wilde’ in 1997 – but sadly he died in 2006. I discovered him thanks to a fellow Doctor Who fan showing me the Ice Warriors, which is now out on DVD (yes, that’s the one).

peter-barkworth-radio-times-coverConsidering Dr Who is sometimes (often?) populated with fairly insubstantial parts given half-baked performances, his work stood out as being unusually authentic and enjoyable for its own sake.

I then found that he also wrote a superb book called ‘About Acting‘ – simply a series of little tips and trick for actors, certainly not anything ‘method’ – and interesting even to non-theatricals. He taught at RADA, and the inheritance of Barkworth’s measured, careful style can be most clearly seen in one of his former students – Antony Hopkins.

However, the role that really sealed me in as a huge, evangelising fan was his turn as Professor Anderson in Tom Stoppard’s 1977 TV play, Professional Foul.

Professional Foul is a superb example of Tom Stoppard being expertly funny, clever and angry at the same time. And Barkworth is perfectly matched to the part – convincingly as intelligent as the character, and even the playwright himself.

Anyway, read more about Professional Foul, or just watch it here. You will be glad you did.