Goodbye New Orleans and remembering Graham Crowden


As we leave New Orleans (insert sniff here) and this year’s BBC Syndication Showcase, we learned of some sad news from the world of British comedy that Graham Crowden, known to many as Tom Ballard in Waiting for God, had passed away yesterday at the age of 87.

Remembering Graham Crowden

We were extremely fortunate to be able to interview Graham back in 1999 as part of a British comedy special for public television stations celebrating 25 years of British comedy on American public television. What we discovered then and what many probably weren’t aware of was the fact that Crowden actually turned down the role of Doctor Who following the departure of Jon Pertwee back in 1974 as he was unwilling to commit to a single acting role, preferring to continue his multitude of roles both on the stage and the small screen. While the role of the Fourth Doctor was, ultimately, offered to Tom Baker, Crowden did appear in 4 episodes in the late 70’s as the villain, Soldeed, opposite Baker.

I remember Graham as being a very warm and caring individual that truly cared about life in addition to being an actor who felt very privileged to be known for his years of work in radio, TV and film. He will be missed, but will always live on in my mind as having that same real-life mischievous twinkle in his eye as did Tom Ballard, the Bayview Retirement Home resident that made daily life difficult for Harvey Baines along with his partner in crime, Diana Trent, brilliantly played by co-star, Stephanie Cole.

Leaving the Big Easy

As we leave New Orleans and this years BBC Syndication Showcase, it was another day of screening stellar television being offered to public television stations in the coming year. A sample of today’s offerings…

  • New seasons of New Tricks, Waking the Dead and Old Guys
  • Inside the Mind of Adolph Hitler – at the height of World War II, a top secret psychological profile was created by American secret service which attempted to get inside the mind of the one man that could determine the final outcome, Adolph Hitler.
  • From the BBC Natural History unit comes Wild Caribbean and Wild South America
  • The new Doctor Who with Matt Smith and Karen Gillan
  • How Long is a Piece of String – Alan Davies (Jonathan Creek, QI) embarks on a journey to the quantum world where he encounters Math, measurement and the secrets of the universe. Along the way, Davies discovers that the simple answer to ‘how long is a piece of string’ leads him to some of the most fundamental questions of the universe. This is a cool show and Davies is greatness.

Look for many of these programs coming your way on public television stations during 2011. Cheers.

  • Cora

    So sorry to learn of Mr. Crowden’s passing. I loved Waiting for God and loved seeing Mr. Crowden in Doctor Who.

  • Betty Boop

    Oh, loved his character in Waiting for God. As Tom Ballard, he was such a patient and kind man. I will miss his essence and am so sorry to hear he’s passed away. I hope he’s in heaven making my husband and daughter laugh again.

    • @Betty Boop: Always loved the scene of Tom at the top of the bungee jumping tower.