Raise a collective glass wherever you are today and tomorrow and toast two of the great comedy icons that have graced the small screen for years on public television as they celebrate birthdays today, January 14, and tomorrow, January 15.
Richard Briers (January 14)
Better known to public television British comedy fans as both Tom Good in The Good Neighbors and the eccentric Hector McDonald in Monarch of the Glen, Richard Briers has an incredible resume that starts back in the 50’s. His first big role came as George Starling in Marriage Lines in 1963 opposite Prunella Scales (Sybil in Fawlty Towers).
In recent years, Richard has lent his extensive acting talents to the likes of Torchwood, New Tricks, Midsomer Murders and Lovejoy. Sprinkled throughout are the likes of Hamlet, Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, The Norman Conquests and Doctor Who.
Frank Thornton (January 15)
Known to us all as simply Captain Peacock and, more recently, Truly Truelove in Last of the Summer Wine, Frank Thornton rivals Richard Briers for who has the lengthiest resume. Ranging from roles in two of the best examples of British comedy that made a successful jump across the pond, ‘Till Death Do Us Part and Steptoe and Son to the more recent Are You Being Served and Last of the Summer Wine, we found a couple of gems in A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum where he was a Roman sentry opposite Zero Mostel, a police inspector in The Magic Christian and this classic clip as The Tin Man in The Wizard of Oz at the 1991 Children’s Royal Variety Performance, with none other than John Inman as the cowardly lion.
Having had the opportunity to spend a fair amount of time with both Richard Briers and Frank Thornton several times over the years, these are two incredibly wonderful individuals that are very open and willing to talk about acting and the importance of training and, generally, someone you’d love to go have a pint with down at the corner pub. Thank you both for the years of laughter you have provided us all.