Ballard Berkeley
   HOME

TheInfoList



OR:

Ballard Blascheck (6 August 1904 – 16 January 1988), known professionally as Ballard Berkeley, was an English actor of stage and screen. He is best remembered for playing Major Gowen in the British television
sitcom A sitcom, a Portmanteau, portmanteau of situation comedy, or situational comedy, is a genre of comedy centered on a fixed set of characters who mostly carry over from episode to episode. Sitcoms can be contrasted with sketch comedy, where a troup ...
''
Fawlty Towers ''Fawlty Towers'' is a British television sitcom A sitcom, a Portmanteau, portmanteau of situation comedy, or situational comedy, is a genre of comedy centered on a fixed set of characters who mostly carry over from episode to episode. Sitcom ...
''.


Life and career

The son of Joseph and Beatrice Blascheck, he was born in
Royal Tunbridge Wells Royal Tunbridge Wells is a town in Kent, England, southeast of central London. It lies close to the border with East Sussex on the northern edge of the Weald, High Weald, whose sandstone geology is exemplified by the rock formation High Roc ...
,
Kent Kent is a Counties of England, county in South East England and one of the home counties. It borders Greater London to the north-west, Surrey to the west and East Sussex to the south-west, and Essex to the north across the estuary of the River ...
. He married Dorothy Long in 1929. During the 1930s he performed regularly in the so-called "
quota quickies Quota may refer to: Economics * Import quota, a trade restriction on the quantity of goods imported into a country * Market Sharing Quota, an economic system used in Canadian agriculture * Milk quota, a quota on milk production in Europe * Indi ...
". One of his earliest roles was as the heroic lead in the 1937 film '' The Last Adventurers''. He served as a special constable with the
Metropolitan Police The Metropolitan Police Service (MPS), formerly and still commonly known as the Metropolitan Police (and informally as the Met Police, the Met, Scotland Yard, or the Yard), is the Territorial police force#United Kingdom, territorial police f ...
during the
Second World War World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
, witnessing
the Blitz The Blitz was a German bombing campaign against the United Kingdom in 1940 and 1941, during the World War II, Second World War. The term was first used by the British press and originated from the term , the German word meaning 'lightning wa ...
at first hand, including the bombing of the Café de Paris nightclub. For his service he received the Defence Medal and the Special Constabulary Long Service Medal. He appeared in the film ''
In Which We Serve ''In Which We Serve'' is a 1942 British patriotic war film directed by Noël Coward and David Lean. It was made during the Second World War with the assistance of the Ministry of Information (United Kingdom), Ministry of Information. The scree ...
'' (1942) and in the Hitchcock film ''
Stage Fright Stage fright or performance anxiety is the anxiety Anxiety is an emotion which is characterized by an unpleasant state of inner wikt:turmoil, turmoil and includes feelings of dread over Anticipation, anticipated events. Anxiety is different ...
'' (1950). He featured as Detective Inspector Berkeley in two episodes of Edgar Lustgarten's drama series, ''
Scotland Yard Scotland Yard (officially New Scotland Yard) is the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police, the territorial police force responsible for policing Greater London, Greater London's London boroughs, 32 boroughs, but not the City of London, the s ...
'': "Person Unknown" (1956), and "Bullet from the Past" (1957). Berkeley played the role of bumbling Major Gowen in the BBC TV comedy ''
Fawlty Towers ''Fawlty Towers'' is a British television sitcom A sitcom, a Portmanteau, portmanteau of situation comedy, or situational comedy, is a genre of comedy centered on a fixed set of characters who mostly carry over from episode to episode. Sitcom ...
'', and a similar role in the legal drama '' The Main Chance'' (1969). He portrayed another retired military man (Colonel Freddie Danby) in BBC Radio 4's ''
The Archers ''The Archers'' is a BBC radio drama on BBC Radio 4, the corporation's main spoken-word Radio broadcasting, channel. Broadcast since 1951, it was famously billed as "an everyday story of country folk" and is now promoted as "a contemporary dra ...
'', taking over the role from
Norman Shelley Norman Shelley (16 February 1903 – 21 August 1980) was a British actor, best known for his work in radio, in particular for the BBC's ''Children's Hour''. He also had a recurring role as Colonel Danby in the long-running radio soap opera ''Th ...
. He played a starring role in '' Fresh Fields'' as main character Hester's father Guy, was Hartley in '' To the Manor Born'' and played Colonel Culpepper in '' Terry and June''. He had small roles in an episode of '' Citizen Smith'' (1977), an adaptation of ''
Little Lord Fauntleroy ''Little Lord Fauntleroy'' is a novel by Frances Hodgson Burnett. It was published as a serial in ''St. Nicholas Magazine'' from November 1885 to October 1886, then as a book by Charles Scribner's Sons, Scribner's (the publisher of ''St. Nich ...
'' (1980), and appeared once in '' Bless This House'' as a
Royal Air Force The Royal Air Force (RAF) is the United Kingdom's Air force, air and space force. It was formed towards the end of the World War I, First World War on 1 April 1918, becoming the first independent air force in the world, by regrouping the Royal ...
Group Captain Group captain is a senior Officer (armed forces)#Commissioned officers, commissioned rank in the Royal Air Force, where it originated, as well as the air forces of many countries that have historical British influence. It is sometimes used as th ...
in the episode "Strangers in the Night" (1972), and in '' The New Avengers'' as Colonel Foster in the episode "Dirtier by the Dozen". He also had small roles in the BBC sitcoms '' Hi-de-Hi!'' ("Empty Saddles," 1983) and ''
Are You Being Served? ''Are You Being Served?'' is a British sitcom created and written by executive producer David Croft (TV producer), David Croft (Croft also directed some episodes) and Jeremy Lloyd, with contributions from Michael Knowles (actor), Michael Knowle ...
'' ("Memories Are Made of This," 1983). He made a brief appearance in the 1985 American film '' National Lampoon's European Vacation'' which starred
Chevy Chase Cornelius Crane "Chevy" Chase (; born October 8, 1943) is an American comedian, actor and writer. He became a key cast member in the first season of ''Saturday Night Live'', where his recurring ''Weekend Update'' segment became a staple of the ...
. In this film, Berkeley played a British man who is involved in a minor road accident with the Griswalds. Berkeley later performed the role of Winston—a similar character to "The Major"—in the radio comedy ''Wrinkles'' by Doug Naylor and Rob Grant. He played Badedas the Blue, a wizard in the radio comedy series '' Hordes of the Things''. His last role was as the Head of the Army in the animated film version of
Roald Dahl Roald Dahl (13 September 1916 – 23 November 1990) was a British novelist, short-story writer, poet, screenwriter, and wartime Flying ace, fighter ace of Norwegian descent. His books have sold more than 250 million copies worldwide. ...
's '' The BFG''. Berkeley died in London on 16 January 1988, and the film was released on 25 December 1989.


Selected filmography


Film


Television


References


Notes


External links

* * {{DEFAULTSORT:Berkeley, Ballard 1904 births 1988 deaths English male film actors English male radio actors English male stage actors English male television actors People from Royal Tunbridge Wells Male actors from Kent 20th-century English male actors Metropolitan Special Constabulary officers British male comedy actors British special constables