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Actors who seem to be in everything but you've no idea what their name is

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  • Actors who seem to be in everything but you've no idea what their name is

    Semi-inspired by the 'actors you can't stand' thread, I thought I'd start a new topic, not necessarily for actors you don't like, but actors who seem to be in EVERYTHING, usually as the same sort of character. You know the sort - IT'S HIM/HER AGAIN.

    Here's an example. Everybody knows this face he's been in dramas all over the TV for years and I reckon he does voice overs for commercials too, with that northern drawl of his.

    It's not the best photo I could find of him, but just look at his cv we all know his face but who knows his name ?

    https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0178674/...ttfc_fc_cl_i12


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  • #2
    I've noticed a few actors like that over the years.
    The Trickster On The Roof

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    • #3
      It happens a lot more when it comes to voiceovers, usually on adverts or on the radio - back in the 1980s and 1990s one tended to hear familiar voiceovers on adverts, (and you are so familiar with that voice), but you end up racking your brains trying to put a name to the voice. Gary Watson and Michael Jayston had familiar voices but I wouldn't have known the names of them both. On the other hand, Richard Briers and Chris Tarrant did the same thing, but they were obviously famous enough to be recognised - they did voiceovers but were famous for reasons other than that.

      There was this actor who wore glasses and appeared in various adverts in the mid 1980s such as ones for McDougall's Self-raising flour and Appletize - I have a feeling that he was one of Benny Hill's supporting straight men on his shows and that he was more of a comedian rather than an actor, but I cannot think of his name. I have a feeling that he is no longer with us, and he does have a familiar name to us, but the putting two things together is the difficult thing here.

      If you talk about actors playing the same character, it's amazing looking on the IMDB how various actors seem to just play police officers, doctors or vicars - what I would refer to as "the Derek Nimmo factor" (as he always seemed to play men of the cloth). Slightly controversially, some Asian actors seem to be heavily stereotyped when looking at their entries: "corner shop owner", "taxi driver", "Mr Patel", "Mr Khan" etc. No coincidence that half of Norman Wisdom's characters were called Norman, and Sidney James played a lot of Sids.

      If I am not familiar with an actor's name then I will just refer to them by their character's name in an affectionate way, especially those who are in soap operas because in those programmes, the characters end up becoming a lot more famous than the actors who play them, and so that their character name feels a lot more like a stage name in the long run.
      Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

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      • #4
        I remember a lot of action film trailers used to be voiced by the same deep voiced actor. I think he was Canadian and died a few years ago but his name escapes me.

        Unless you are a fan of Goodness Gracious Me you probably wouldn't know what Dave Lamb looks like, as he normally narrates Come Dine With Me & voice overs a lot of adverts.

        At times Robert Powell seemed to make a living from adverts, as did Phil Cool when regular TV work dried up,

        When watching British films from the 1950s-60s I do notice some actors turning up playing certain parts, Jack Hawkins normally being a detective or an army officer. Eric Barker was in the early Carry Ons and other comedies of the times playing civil servants and other bureaucrats.
        The Trickster On The Roof

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Richard1978 View Post
          I remember a lot of action film trailers used to be voiced by the same deep voiced actor. I think he was Canadian and died a few years ago but his name escapes me.
          .
          I know who you mean - he used to voice cinema adverts for new film releases back in the 1980s, saying things at the end such as: "at a cinema near you from Friday - certificate PG", or something to that effect. I think he was called Bill someone and died had many years ago. I am almost certain that he used to say "the big one" in the early 1980s Texas Homecare adverts as well - similar voice if not the same person doing them.

          There are also actors who refuse to be seen out of character - Barry Humphries and even Steve Coogan during his early career were two of them - some of them refused to be interviewed unless in character. Even Warren Mitchell resisted unless he was appearing as Alf Garnett. And it can be quite a shock to see Brendan O'Carroll when he isn't in drag as Agnes Brown as well.

          Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

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          • #6
            "Bill" was imitated and spoofed quite a lot over the years, and eventually trailers started to use different voice-overs because it was impossible to take his style seriously.

            Rowan Atkinson used to refuse to be interviewed as himself for years.
            The Trickster On The Roof

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            • #7
              American born Ed Bishop did a lot of voice work, he was the Commander Straker character in UFO and also the voice of the Captain Blue puppet before that.

              There was one actor I never quite managed to remember the name who was a second-banana is various series, Goodnight Sweetheart, Last Detective maybe, was in Bread, but maybe just different guys who looked similar?

              Ian Hendry seems to have been in a lot of older shows I run across.
              My virtual jigsaws: https://www.jigsawplanet.com/beccabear67/Original-photo-puzzles

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              • #8
                I have been watching random 1990s episodes of The Bill on YouTube and it is fascinating to see various guest actors in episodes who are relatively obscure when it comes to fame and recognition. One thing I often do is note down the character and actor from the end credits than go onto the IMDB and type the actor's name in, and quite often I find that the same actor has played possibly four different characters in the series over the years, usually a couple of years in between appearances. It is fascinating to see the same actor play different characters over the years who have different names and have no connection to any other character played by the same actor or any storyline.

                One actress I researched via YT and IMDB played a prostitute in one episode and a year later the same actress played a single mother with no association or connection to her previous appearance. I think that because the actress wasn't too famous just like a lot of actors on the show, the appearances had allowed her to become incognito over time, and only those who were extremely observant and have a good memory for faces and names would remember the previous appearance that she had made - and those with IMDB access which of course didn't exist in the early 1990s. A character name from a previous appearance can stick in the mind for future characters played, and can feel as if it is an alternative or deputy name for the actor.

                I think that it can be up to the viewer to decide who were are seeing in an episode - an actor or a character. Mind you, going back to actors wanting to be interviewed in character, it almost feels to me that Keith Lemon is actually Leigh Francis' stage name rather than a character name.

                Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

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                • #9
                  It used to be a joke that an episode of The Bill comes free with your Equity card (that's the actors trade union).

                  The original run of Dr Who had a lot of reoccurring actors, often because many of the skills need to play various aliens!

                  I didn't realise for years that Leigh Francis was also Avid Merrion of Bo Selecta!
                  The Trickster On The Roof

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                  • #10
                    Casualty, Holby City, and Doctors are often places where one finds actors who become someone else a few years after their previous appearances, and despite Holby City being a spin-off of Casualty, very few guest actors play the same character in both.

                    It's fun to look an actress' IMDB page and see how many different character names they have played and been called - she's been a Laura, a Sarah twice, an Amanda, a Lisa, etc...
                    Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

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                    • #11
                      Clare Goose blonde British actress was a detective in Waking the Dead then when I started to watch the Coroner she was in the coastal Devon series and I was trying to picture where have I seen you before and I cracked it.Waking the dead with Trevor Eve & Sue Johnson

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Pussywillow View Post
                        Semi-inspired by the 'actors you can't stand' thread, I thought I'd start a new topic, not necessarily for actors you don't like, but actors who seem to be in EVERYTHING, usually as the same sort of character. You know the sort - IT'S HIM/HER AGAIN.

                        Here's an example. Everybody knows this face he's been in dramas all over the TV for years and I reckon he does voice overs for commercials too, with that northern drawl of his.

                        It's not the best photo I could find of him, but just look at his cv we all know his face but who knows his name ?

                        https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0178674/...ttfc_fc_cl_i12

                        It’s this guys distinctive voice that gets me, he’s in the archers playing a character that’s nearly identical to the one he plays in coronation street

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                        • #13
                          Paul Brooke always seems to play pompous professionals, being Mr Fitzherbert in Bridget Jones's Diary and an antique dealer in Lovejoy among others.

                          He does remind me of Richard Griffiths at times.
                          The Trickster On The Roof

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                          • #14
                            Prisoner: Cell Block H were full of them, although the actors are not too famous in Britain - according to Who's Who in Wentworth, Arthur Barradel-Smith always played judges; Telford Jackson played police sergeants and the odd solicitor; Peter Sinclair played detectives, although to be fair, Australia has a very limited number of available actors on their books. Where else would you get a court jury scene with just six members deliberating on a case?

                            I assume that it was the same Paul Brooke who appeared in the Mr Bean library sketch which was an extra on the first Mr Bean video?
                            Telling it almost exactly like it was so many years later - and proud of doing so!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              As Australia has a smaller pool of actors it's probably more likely for some performers to turn up in lots of different things over the years.

                              Yes it's the same Paul Brooke.

                              https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Brooke
                              The Trickster On The Roof

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